It may sound shocking to many, but it is true. Children too use inappropriate language. It is a separate issue as to how they have come to use it, as everything they learn, they do so from the environment. All children are at equal risk of learning words which are rude, demeaning, or outright unacceptable.
Here are some simple things you can do to bring your child out of this negative behaviour:
- Respond appropriately and immediately
Take immediate action; don’t wait for a later time as the context may be lost. But do so with caution. When a child uses inappropriate language, the parents either over-react by becoming very aggressive or shut out the child completely. Rather, you must deal with it calmly. This advice is very hard to apply when you are faced with such a situation, primarily because it pushes one of our own emotional hot buttons. In spite of being adults, we lose our control. A good approach is to calmly, yet firmly tell the child that it is unacceptable to use the words that he just has. Remember, even in this crisis, you need to display greater wisdom. It would also be an example to your child that being angry and upset does not need to be accompanied by bad language.
- Let the child face the meaning
In as few words as possible, explain the meaning of the words the child has used and let him face the meaning. It will make you uneasy, but the step is important. It is usually an eye-opener for the child. Innocent as they are, they usually have no clue as to what the words imply. It is certainly not their intention to say words to that effect. They may simply be using it as an unconscious exclamation, and without the precise comprehension. Sometimes, children use such language even to simply gain the attention of their parents.
Remember, you will need to adapt this step depending upon the maturity level of your child.
- Identify the sources and triggers
As we know, the environment plays a fundamental role on the personality and behaviour of the child, it is critically important for you to review your child’s surroundings from time to time. The television programmes your child watches, interaction with the household help etc., the kind of music they listen to, the peer group – they all contribute in shaping your child’s vocabulary and social interaction skills. Further, these all are the probable sources from where your child is picking up objectionable phrases, expressions and language. In order to eliminate the bad influence, you must first identify its source accurately and then proceed to take suitable action.
- Practice authentic and exemplary behaviour
The best and the most long-lasting solution to children’s improper language is to never, under any circumstances allow yourself to behave in a manner which you would not like your child to learn. You may not be aware that your expressions of annoyance, displeasure and frustrations are all casting a shadow and influencing your child’s behaviour. As a responsible parent, when you show calmness under stress, self-control when provoked and politeness when upset, it is then that your child learns to control the urge to vent out negatively through bad language.
- Teach respect, politeness and courtesy
If your child speaks words which are not respectful or even curt at times, do check him. A good way to do that is by saying:“I understand something/someone has upset you, but a better way to respond is by saying…”
“What you said is not proper. You should apologize. And a better way to express yourself is.”Character-building and learning skills to live life better is a never-ending process. The following quote expresses it beautifully:
‘Courteousness is consideration for others; politeness is the method used to deliver such considerations.’ Bryant H. McGill
Whatever you expect from your child, you must give it to him first. Use respectful language at home – be polite to the spouse, to the child and to everyone who enters your home. Build your child’s self-esteem. Also, take him to gatherings where he can see how refined people interact. It will surely bring about a great deal of positive change in your child.
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