Children learn from what they see and hear around them, and while it can often be exciting to observe what they have learned, sometimes it can be frustrating or even embarrass and anger you. Having said that, there is, unfortunately, going to be a day in your life as a parent when your child tells you about a new word he learned - a swear or curse word. Or, you may hear your child use such a word when speaking with friends or siblings. At first, you may be shocked to hear that word coming out of your child’s mouth (innocent as he or she may be). But, you must act quickly to counter this type of unacceptable speech.
First and foremost, be honest. Did your child learn that curse word from you or your spouse? Again, you cannot expect your children to do as they are told and totally ignore what their parents do. Clean up your mouth before you enforce “no cursing” rules on your children.
It is critical that both parents agree that these types of words are not acceptable – period. It will be very confusing for your child if you tell him that swearing is not acceptable speech but then your spouse laughs when he curses and things he’s cute by saying those type of words. As with any other issue that involves raising children, parents must have a united front when dealing with cursing and decide together how violations of your parental rules will be dealt with.
It is imperative that, instead of getting upset with your child and yelling at him to not do it again, you speak to him about the meaning of the word and why he should avoid using it. Let your child know that words like those are not pleasing to you or to God. God wants us to use our voices to praise Him and uplift others, something we cannot do if it our mouths are cluttered with foul language. Select and review with your child Bible verses such as Ephesians 4:29 that establish exactly what God wants to hear from us and why anything else is displeasing to Him.
It is also important to be willing to answer your child’s questions about curse words. If your child feels that he can ask you anything without you getting angry and judging him, he will make you the first person he turns to when learning about something new, including words like these.
Assist your child to learn other words that are not curse words and to be able to select and use these words to best describe how he feels. This will help him to develop word intelligence and self-control. For example, if your child is upset about what a sibling did, help your child to come up with words to express his feelings, rather than curse words. Later on, when he is in the middle of an argument and angry, he should be able to tap into his extensive vocabulary to express himself without resorting to curse words.
Be prepared with a plan on how to deal with your child cursing. It will happen one day, so it is better that you nip it in the bud right away rather than allow it to escalate into a difficult problem.