dealing-with-a-childs-foul-languageWhen kids are heard to utter bad words and use foul language, it pays to see where and how he has acquired such a language the soonest possible time.

John, a two-year old boy, is now learning to talk and has developed his language skills. Unfortunately his parents were mortified when they heard him speak some foul words which he has probably picked up from his nanny or other household help. How do the parents handle such a situation?

Language Development in Children

Two year old kids could now express themselves by naming the objects in their surroundings (e.g. shoes, bag, car, pencils, dada, mama).  Some could already say short phrases like “on the chair.”

It is also important to remember that two year old children will repeat sounds or mimic that which they hear and practically follow you like a parrot. Children at this age do not even understand what all the words mean.

Foul Language

When a child is heard to be using foul language, determine who and where are the possible sources.

1.  Parent: Observe how you talk.  Did you say some cursing words when you were extremely angry or frustrated?  Kids hear everything even if they are not looking at you and will follow you the next time they feel frustrated too.

2.  Nanny:  If your child has a nanny, check to see if she speaks foul language too.  In our country where nannies are easily hired by the parents, we often discover that the kids pick it up from their nannies.

3.  Friends or Classmates in school:  If your child is attending a preschool already, alert the teacher if any of his/her classmates are heard to be using bad language.  This is the perfect time for the teacher to teach the class about using words properly.

4.  Television:  Children who are exposed to TV and cartoon shows can also follow what the characters say.  “You are stupid” is often a phrase I hear.  When asked, the kids would claim that is what their favorite character said on TV.

How to deal with the situation

  • Understand the language development of children
  • Find the source and remind the source to avoid using foul language
  • See the positive side of things.  If a child uses foul language because of surprise or anger, this is an indication that there is mental growth going on. Instead of kicking, shouting or throwing a temper tantrum, she is now able to verbalize their displeasure.
  • DO NOT as in DO NOT spank, slap or wash his mouth or make him bite soap, punish him, or show anger and embarrassment.
  • The quickest way would be to ignore what he said. The more you will react, the more your child will find it exciting.
  • Tell him straight, “We are tired of hearing what you just said. Please use other words.” And then move on to teach him what to say.
  • Explain to him in simple terms what those words mean and explain saying that it hurts another person.
  • Be watchful and mindful.
  • Praise the child immediately if you hear him speak positive words.

Learning how to use words and speak what you are thinking and feeling is a beautiful thing.  And one that we must appreciate constantly.  The adults that surround the child must remember to speak politely and respectfully, after all, we are the models of the children.  If children live with positive words, they will eventually learn to use the proper language eventually.

By:  Michelle Simtoco

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