When children begin to speak it is a very fun and important stage in their development. They repeat everything they hear, phrases, words, expressions ... Many of them, in the mouth of a child, are very funny and fun ... until they say their first swear word! How do you react at this time? Do we laugh at him? Do we ignore them as if they didn't say anything? Do we scold him for insulting?
When children say their first swear words, they usually do not understand what they mean, but perhaps the context in which they say them. For example, if when someone gets angry he says a curse (something that is usually very normal), what the child does is 'copy' that expression when he is angry and repeats that phrase or curse that he has heard from the elders.
The following conclusions can be drawn about the curse words of children:
- Children swear by imitation
From here we can draw the first conclusion, children swear by imitation. Children repeat what they hear in their environment, the adults around them, television, school, etc. All of them are his main references in terms of language.
When children begin to say their first ugly words or swear words, they do not make more sense than mere repetition or to see the effect that those words have on others. If the child says an ugly word and the environment laughs at the idea, it will be very easy for him to say it again. Just as we must avoid laughing at grace, we must avoid scolding inordinate. Both reactions can reinforce in the child saying them and that when he seeks our attention he says an ugly word.
- Young children do not swear to offend
The small child, the one who is learning to speak, does not understand the meaning of the word, therefore, he does not say it to offend, he does not really understand what he is saying and that is precisely the moment to model that behavior. Therefore sometimes we should ignore the expletive he said, if I ignore him or do not give him ball, it is likely that he will stop repeating it.
At other times, when the curse or expression is stronger, I can explain to the child that this expression is very ugly and should not be said, and we can give you an alternative to express your anger. The same goes for insults, you have to teach them little by little that they are words that can offend another person.
- The problem of parents saying bad words
But also very important, if we want our children to learn few swear words, is that we analyze the language of adults and avoid saying bad words at home, in the car, with friends ... (even if they are the ones we are sooo used to that we hardly we notice them).
There is an age, between 4 and 6 years, that it is the children who correct or they are scandalized when they hear a swear word… 'Mom, you said my… and what's next!', 'Dad, you said a bad word! That is not said! ',' Today Pepito has said that word that begins with gi ... and that cannot be said! '.
- When they grow up, curse words do mean
As children get older, it is likely that the number of bad words or ugly expressions will increase and that now they will say them with knowledge and with intention.
Therefore, the appearance of curse words in the child's vocabulary it can be said to be evolutionary. At first they say them without really knowing what they mean, but knowing that they provoke a reaction in their audience, and therefore they say them. Other times they will say them by mere imitation of adult language in certain situations (saying a taco when something breaks, for example) or they are a call for attention (if I say this they will listen to me, then I say it). But as they get older (around 9-10 years) they say them with knowledge of the facts (either because they are 'older' or because their friends or their favorite characters say them).
We have already seen some guidelines, for example, when they are very young and at the beginning, it is advisable not to make a lot of fuss or laugh at them. Sometimes there will be ignore what we've heard and correct other times and explain and give an alternative to the expression in question.
When they are older, it is important to act with swear words as with any other rule of the house: put consequences if they say them and reward and reinforcer when they avoid them. Do not tolerate insults to other people, and censor when they say them, clearly showing disapproval. We can, for example, restrict the time spent watching television or going down to the patio if he swears (1 minute less of TV per swearing).
But above all and very very important: let's review our language. If I use to say bad words or insult when I get angry or frustrated, it is very likely that my child will do the same, and it is not worth saying that 'I'm older and I can swear!' If we want our child to say less bad words or insults, it will be essential to educate by example. Not only by not saying them, but by showing our disapproval in those situations or towards those people who say them regularly, (How badly does Fulanito speak! 'Or' I don't like you to see these drawings or this series because they speak very badly ').
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