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Home >  Information A-ZAll Kids Information Articles Bad Words

Bad Words:

No matter how hard you try to limit what your child hears, they will inevitably eventually hear bad words. This also means that they will inevitably repeat those bad words at the most inopportune time possible. Unfortunately, many children, once they learn a new word, like to repeat these things over an over again. Kids don’t understand that some words are considered "bad" and that others aren't. To them, words are just words. If they hear them and they can figure out what they mean and how to use them, they will.

There are a few ways to help these occurrences happen less often than necessary:

• Limit what they hear—
While you will not always have control over this (your child goes to a babysitter every now and then, or visits relatives who may say things you would rather they didn't), you can at least limit what they hear in your presence. To do this, you will need to not only watch what you say, but you will also need to limit what they are exposed to. If a child never hears a certain word, how can they repeat it? And, since children absorb everything around them, this means limiting the types of movies they watch and the people that are around them.

• Explain it to them—
Just as a child doesn't know a word they never hear, they also don’t know that a word is something they shouldn't say unless they have been told. This means that, if you hear someone say something around your child that you don’t want them to repeat later, as soon as you are alone with your child, explain to them that it is a grown-up word that they are not to be repeating. If you do use foul language around your child, you should remind them often that those are words that they are not allowed to say. If you don't want your child to say these words at some point or another, it is best to simply not use them.

If your child has been exposed to bad language, and has repeated it, there are a few things you can do that may help them stop talking this way:

• Make sure they understand that what they are saying is a bad word. This is the very first step, because if your child simply repeated something they heard you say, and were never even told that they would get in trouble if they said it, it's not fair to punish them. Instead, you should let them slide the first time. Depending on how young the child is, you may want to let them slide several times.

• Ignore it. This is one of those things that either it works on your child really well, or not at all. Some children will stop simply because it's like any other word to them. If you made a huge deal out of it, they would want to keep saying it because the word seems different or special. In this case, it wouldn't matter what the word was, it could be the word "tree" and if you told them repetitively not to say it, they would want to say it even more.

• Remind them to stop. This is opposite the last one, and works the same way. Some kids will respond well to this, and it may cause others to do it more. Some kids, though, simply do it because they forget, or maybe they are trying to get away with it. In this case, it may be helpful to remind them every time that you did hear it, and they do still have to stop saying it.

• Give them different words to use instead. Some parents like to do this, and others think that letting their child use a euphemism is just as bad as the word itself. If you don't feel this way, there are many words to choose from to do this with. Often, with kids, the sillier the word is, the better (you can even make one up).

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