A new study is telling us that children as young as 2 years old are swearing more than ever.
Of course they are!
We see so much more swearing through TV, internet, and other technology that it’s become normalized. Something like WTF has become part of the culture that it’s like an entity in itself- people don’t even think of it like a swear and it becomes more “funny” than offensive to people. However, we cant just blame media for that- what’s handed down through the media is then delivered through a trusted source such as parents or peers- then it makes a real difference.
So, while I’m not surprised by the results of the study, it’s important to note that people are quick to just point the finger at media. As parents, peers and educators we must realize that we need to take some responsibility for it as well. We can take some control over it.
What should you do if your children are swearing? If you don’t want children to swear, you need to first look at your own behavior. If you are swearing, if someone in your household or family is swearing, if you are watching media where swearing is prevalent, these are some things that you can curb.
You also need to look at your own reaction to these words. If you hear it and laugh or hear it and fly off the deep end, your child has discovered a very intriguing way to push your buttons and he will likely do it again.
We also need to set boundaries and rules around swearing. If you don’t want your children to swear, and they currently are, set the rules that you want them to follow and the consequences if it happens again. Then, be consistent with those rules and consequences.
Finally, make sure to underscore your values. Make respect and impulse control part of your own Powerful Words in your home.
You might be wondering; what’s the big deal? It might not always seem to be! When kids are amongst their peers, it might be considered cool or just simply, “normal.” But when your child drops the “F-Bomb” or the you-know-what hits the fan in mixed company (with his teacher, when talking to his principal, in front of your mother-in-law!) then people might conclude that perhaps the parent is using these words at home, that the parent has no control over their children, or that the parenting itself is too lax. That may not be the actual truth—but these days, perception seems to trump accuracy!