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How can I stop my child from cursing?

Michele Borba
Psychology
Here are a few parenting strategies to help stop your child from cursing that you might wish to consider employing in your home:
  • Curb your tongue -- Be honest. Are you at all responsible for your child's new raunchy vocabulary? If so put a restraining order on any older sibling or adult in your home who is swearing.
  • Have value talks -- Talk to your child about your family values and explain why you object to such language. "I know other people may use those words in their homes, but we don't in ours." "Those are words that can hurt people's feelings. I expect you to always want to say and do things that make people feel good."
  • Establish your house as "No Swear" zone -- Set a rule that "no swearing" is allowed in your home. Just be clear with all family members which words are considered "off limits" and then follow through on your rule (mom and dad -- as well as their adult friends -- must obey the home standards.
  • Offer appropriate word substitutes -- If your child swears to let off steam, doesn't know an appropriate way to vent, it may be time for a family brainstorm session to find swear words alternates. Just identify the word your child may not say and then think of other word options. Then use it until it becomes a habit.
  • Reinforce "Cuss-Control" efforts -- Do acknowledge any efforts your child is making to stop the swearing. "I know that you were frustrated, but you didn't swear that time. It's hard changing a bad habit, but you're really trying."
Charles J. Sophy, MD
Adolescent Medicine

Parents enter directly into the equation, as when parents curse, our kids pick up on it and do it themselves. In fact, kids can be like miniature tape recorders, doing everything and repeating back everything they see and hear.

First, stop cursing yourself and stop reacting to your child's cursing. The next time your young child curses, tell your child that what he/she has said is "BATHROOM TALK." And then send your child to the bathroom, telling him/her to stay in the bathroom with the door closed until he/she finished with the bathroom talk.

Follow through by not saying the curse words yourself and send your child to the bathroom each and every time a curse word is spoken. This technique works great with children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Conduct Disorder and even ADHD.

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    Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.