How should I deal with profanity?

Children are familiar with curse words. They learn them from peers, siblings, and parents and they hear them on TV and at the movies. They partly experiment with these words to see the effects on playmates and parents. They whisper the words on the playground and tell stories about kids who got in trouble for saying bad things. Using profanity makes a child feel “tough” and grown up. It can also impress his friends and make him feel part of his peer group.

While most kids are interested in profanity, they also know that it’s unacceptable. They’ve heard their parents’ warnings. They often tattle on each other: “Phillip called me the ‘B’ word today!” “Anton said a dirty word!” They certainly wouldn’t use curse words with teachers, and they rarely would with other adults outside the home.

They do, however, occasionally use profanity in their own homes, often in the same ways that adults do, to show anger and frustration. Unlike adults, though, kids say curse words infrequently, quietly, and with a guilty look that shows they know they’re doing something wrong. As long as parents see those signs of guilt, they shouldn’t worry about their child’ profanity. He’s only trying out the words.

Some parents accept the occasional curse word at home, considering their child’s experimentation harmless. Others won’t allow any profanity in their home. Whatever your feelings, be assured that, as long as he knows profanity is unacceptable, you have no cause for alarm. If, however, he shows no signs of guilt about using curse words, or uses such words frequently, you should give more thought to the issue.

He may use profanity because he needs more positive attention than he’s getting from you and his friends. Cursing is a way of getting noticed, and to a child who feels neglected, negative attention is better than none at all. He also might be using profanity because you aren’t giving him a clear enough message that it’s wrong. Set firm limits on his use of curse words and follow through if he ignores your warnings.

There’s one more reason your child may use excessive profanity—he may hear you use it so often that it seems natural to him. In order to stop him, you have to monitor your own language and act as a model for him.

Picture Credit : Google