Why is my Child Swearing?! (and what to do about it)

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There are few things more embarrassing than your child spouting off a horrible nasty word at an inopportune moment. Sometimes we just slip and use a bad word in front of our child….and sometimes unfortunately they hear it in other places beyond our control…So..what to do, what to do??

Why is my child swearing!?

As kids (especially toddlers) begin to learn how to create deeper relationships with people, they start to better understand the power behind language. It doesn’t take long for children to figure out that an insult, or colorful language will more than likely get quite the reaction out of a target audience. Put that together with toddler and children’s endless search for new knowledge and vocabulary…and you might just have a perfect combination for some moments of embarrassment with their choice in language!

What you need to know:

Your child’s off color language might be embarrassing, angering and down right frustrating! But remember, before the age of five or six, children don’t quite have a complete social filter. If it is on their mind, you will hear about it! So until they reach the age that they are able to filter out some of that unwanted commentary they may need a little help filtering themselves!


Ok, great info but… How do I get it to stop!?

  • Do NOT overreact! If you hear your child use an inappropriate word or insult, keep your reaction very neutral and matter of fact. Don’t yell, gasp or laugh. This will just create reinforcement for the action.
  • Accept and acknowledge your child’s emotions. Make sure they understand that you do not approve of their language, not their reason for using it. (“ I understand that you are mad. It’s ok to be mad, and to tell people you are mad, but it is not okay to use those words. ”) They need to understand that mean words can hurt feelings just like hitting can hurt their bodies. Then give them a word to use in place of that word that you DO approve of.
  • If your child has heard the word, and is experimenting using it, understand that it is typical for children to test out language just for the fun of saying it. (Especially if they have seen a reaction!! ). So when other children use language on the not approved list that has been learned, explain to them that sometimes it is fun to use a new word but those words are not to be used! Again, teach them what words are okay to use instead.

 How to help prevent it:

If you think your child has heard the word at a friends house or around a relative, don’t be afraid to kindly bring up the issue with that person. Unfortunately as adults, we tend to use bad language unconsciously, but kids are aware of every single word we use! Remember…  the language they use at home is more than likely going to be parroted by your children on the playground, in church or in class! So if you wouldn’t want your child using a word…you should probably think twice before you use that word!!

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4 thoughts on “Why is my Child Swearing?! (and what to do about it)

  1. Melanie says:

    I always try to watch my language around my kiddo but I wish my hubby would do the same. While my kid does say the occasional bad word sometimes, fortunately he doesn’t use them too often. It’s just so hard not to laugh when we hear that little voice spout a foul word. But you give excellent advice. I love your blog.

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