We love to talk about communication with our kids. And we’re thrilled when they engage us in conversation. Except when the language coming out of their mouths would make a sailor blush.
Where do they learn that language? Why are they using it? What can we do about it?
As one parent said to me, ”My son is seven and is starting to use bad language. Shit, Jesus Christ, the F-word and so on. We don’t use this language at home, and we also screen what our kids’ watch on TV. Help! Any suggestions?”
By the age of seven children are influenced by many sources, not the least of which is the schoolyard. Most will try swearing at some point in elementary school. This doesn’t make him a bad kid and it doesn’t mean he’s heading into a life of crime. But it is, of course, unacceptable.
It’s difficult for any parent to hear this language coming out of the mouth of their child, and equally hard to figure out why he would even consider using these words. Well, for the first time in his life he is away from the direct influence of parents and caregivers and wants to try out his newfound independence. So he likes using language he learned at school and that he has never heard at home.
At seven, swearing may be cool. He and his buddies are trying out ways of appearing older and more sophisticated so they swagger around, using language they don’t really understand. It’s daring to use adult language with friends.
Watching the impact of their language on parents and teachers is also fun.
So, think before you react. You need to let him know that his language is absolutely unacceptable and you refuse to be in the room with him when he’s swearing. Then rather than send him away, leave yourself or turn your back.
Later, talk to him about it. Have him define the words he’s using and ask him if they make sense. This is always interesting because they often have no idea what they’re saying. Once you define it, they are horrified, particularly if the chosen word has a sexual connotation.
Find out what he’s feeling when he swears. Sometimes children say they’re just so angry they need to say something that makes a real impact. If that’s the case, help him talk about how to express his anger in more socially acceptable ways.
Don’t kid yourself that you can stop him swearing with his friends. But by refusing to over-react, by talking about it calmly and by refusing to listen yourself, you’re letting him know where you stand on the issue.
Two kids, two temperaments. Taking their unique temperaments into account.
Sarah is shy, Jared is bossy and Pat is easy-going. What do we need to know about different temperaments?
Every child is unique and different. My mini guide e-book, Vive la Différence: Raising Children with Different Temperaments addresses some of the temperaments we see in our kids.
I looked at my two children who are as different as night and day. Then I consider my siblings and we are a textbook example of different.
But, now I have three grandchildren, all the same age and the differences from their births has been striking.
The result is the e-parenting mini guide, Vive la Différence: Raising Children with Different Temperaments. The guide is available on my website.
How Can I Bring Kathy to My Community?
I offer keynotes and workshops, have written books and have ongoing newspaper columns, books, blogs and newsletters.
And, no matter what the actual topic, they all share a basic value that I call:
P — is a parenting plan
U — is unconditional love
R — is respect for your child as he is right now
E — is encouragement
I look forward to working with you for your professional development, workplace wellness or parenting education event.