Is it really bad to curse

Swearing and Scolding - The Other Side of Child Language Acquisition

Education | Conflicts | child

"You're a stupid cow!" - "And you a Gaggifudi!" Those are the more harmless expressions. The coarse curse words from the fecal and vulgar language, such as the long-running "asshole", will soon follow. When parents come out of a cute little one Hear the child's mouth, they flinch and are horrified at first.

Parents usually cannot and will not tolerate this and even less accept it. They are ashamed of it and ask themselves where the child could have picked up on it and how they responded correct, child-friendly and, above all, sustainable should react. Scold loudly? Punish the child? Laugh at it or just ignore it? Which is the best strategy?

Swear words are part of childhood

Although most parents do everything in their power to ensure that their child does not use unsightly words and expressions, they have little chance of avoiding it altogether. Because swearing is part of childhood. Parents are confronted with the new language acquisition of their offspring at the latest in kindergarten age, but possibly also much earlier.

Small children still use the violent expressions very freely, without ulterior motives. And without being guided by the systems of values ​​and norms of the adult world, which forbid us adults to throw such words around us. Our constant admonitions like “You don't say shit” therefore mostly bounce off the little word acrobats unnoticed and misunderstood.

Therefore, always take into account that the way we adults deal with language, how and when we are allowed to curse, what we perceive to be tolerable and what is absolutely unacceptable years of learning is. It takes a lot of time and practice to internalize social norms. We have to give our children this time. Be patient and don't expect your child to understand after the first admonition why you shouldn't say “shit” in every situation.

Why are swear words so fascinating for children?

Children are eager to try words they picked up on the playground, in the crèche or in kindergarten on the adults and other children and to test their reactions. You will discover the Power of language and play with it. That is also correct and makes perfect sense.

Swear words open up a new world for children. The language gives them a means to set themselves apart and to test the limits of the other person. The more mature and creative the language becomes, the more diverse it can be used and the more powerful it becomes. The children take advantage of this and that is why they love to use them. Swearing is fun. There are hardly any words that cause such violent reactions as swearwords or swear words. So they are exciting and fascinating for children.

But children also curse, curse and insult because in many situations they are not yet able to reasonably and objectively argue and discuss. Then it is easier and above all more effective, to go straight to the verbal attack. This behavior is not entirely unknown in the adult world either. It is not uncommon for us to curse when we are overwhelmed by a situation or when we are powerless. Or when we just have to let go of frustration.

Not all cursing is the same

Not all swear words are bad. And not all expletives require an active educational response. Depending on what the cause or source of the cursing is, one should react differently to it. So listen carefully to what kind of word your child is using and in what context.

  • Used a small child without bad intentions a snapped word, just to test what reactions it gets for its use, ignore it whenever possible. If it doesn't get extra attention for it, things will soon get boring and uninteresting.
  • Is swearing about negative feelings channeling and letting off steam makes sense in certain cases and may prevent the child from reacting to their frustration and anger with physical effort, for example by lashing out.
  • The children scold, however continuously to yourself and swear at every mishap, you should definitely react to it and point out alternatives.
  • Also very clear: Offended or ridiculed If you tell your child intentionally certain people or groups of people, e.g. people with disabilities, you should react clearly and unequivocally, but calmly. Do not scold, but explain why the abuse was inappropriate and what might trigger it in the person concerned.

By the way, swear words and insults are far from being viewed as badly and negatively by children as we adults are. An argument with really violent expressions is soon forgotten. While we adults are still thinking about the bad words and insults, the children have long been playing peacefully with each other again.

10 tips and rules for dealing with swear words

Since most parents, despite the best of intentions, are not spared the rant and flight of their offspring, here are some helpful suggestions.

1. Be a good role model!

VERY IMPORTANT: Your child is mimicking the vernacular in your family. So pay more attention to what you say yourself and what expressions you use. If you always swear yourself in the car because the “idiot cannot drive over there”, then you must not expect your child not to imitate you. Stand by your mistake if something slips out anyway.

2. Do not generally forbid every curse word!

Give the child a certain leeway and do not forbid every wild word in principle and from the first use, but try to teach your child how to use them correctly.

3. Take the child's age into account!

Up to the age of three, children like to parrot everything and are happy if they can generate a reaction with it. You are not doing this out of bad will or to intentionally harm someone. It therefore makes little sense to explain to the child why they are not allowed to use these words. It would also not be able to understand this purely from the point of view of cognitive development. From the age of 3, however, a child understands the difference between good and bad, right and wrong. Now it makes sense to explain the meaning of the word to the child and to make him understand why he should not use this word.

4. Don't pay attention to harmless swear words!

Don't flinch when your young child says something indecent. Don't get angry and just ignore it. If they don't get a response or extra attention for their choice of words, they quickly lose interest in it.

5. Name the child's emotional state!

Instead of forbidding the frustrated or angry child to use swear words to get rid of their anger, name the child's feelings. Tell him: “You are angry, I understand that.” This helps the child to classify the many diffuse feelings and to give them names.

6. Set clear boundaries!

You can safely ignore many strong expressions. But say clearly and unambiguously which words are absolutely intolerable. If this offends people or uses expressions from the bottom drawer of vulgar language, this is not acceptable. But stay calm and explain to your child that this can offend people or offend them.

7. Explain the meaning of swear words!

Try to explain certain words to your child in an age-appropriate manner, if this is already possible. Or explain to the child how this expression can make other people feel.

8. Let Consequences Follow!

If your child repeatedly and consciously uses certain swear words, this should have logical and understandable consequences for the child. Don't get angry, stay calm. Just tell the child that you won't talk to him like this and send him out of the kitchen. Or leave the playground if it offends other children. But make it clear to him why you are doing this.

9. Don't reward insults!

If your child gets angry because they can't get their way and berates you because of it, you should definitely not give in. Don't reward it with a smile either, because the wild words from the child's mouth sound kind of funny.

Stay calm! Don't let your child's swear words provoke you. Keep calm and don't take it personally. In any case, avoid turning the tables and insulting the child on your part.

10. Invent fun alternatives!

Certain words can be safely ignored. Others may or may not want to accept you. An alternative to these "forbidden" expressions are fantasy words, which may be used instead of these. Or have each family member shout a curse word they no longer want to say into a paper sack, inflate it and let it burst with a bang. If the word slips out to the parents or the children, they have to endure a funny punishment. The person (whether child or parent) must e.g. B. sit on the floor and sing a song.

Last updated: 03-02-20, JL