How to keep your children from saying bad words

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“A child’s mind is like a sponge and absorbs whatever it hears in the environment it is in.” Having three growing inquisitive children, all the things they hear, good or bad are in truth, beyond my control. This is real. Even the things that you hear from the movies, TV shows, or some You Tube videos intended for kids are sadly, not safe for kids. Profanity is unavoidable. I am guilty of saying bad words too. The first time I heard my kid say “damn it,” I was embarrassed and shocked because he said it in front of our friends. To make the long story short, I did not beat my child, but I warned him that it should be the first and the last swear words I’ll hear.

Just this weekend, I heard those words again but this time around, my other child had said it. “Damn it.” Okay. I missed something. I forgot to explain MORE to them why that word was considered a bad one. I confronted them, and veered right away. Placing myself in their shoes, I know it is so tempting to say these words because we hear it everywhere. And just like what I said earlier, kids absorb whatever they hear. And when you tell them to stop, the more they will ask you WHY. You see, they need a sound explanation too.

So this got me thinking…

  • Be a good example in front of them. We are not perfect. But when you feel like cursing…
  • Find some substitute words. It is okay to be angry, let it out, but choose a more subtle language when you are around with your kids.
  • There are times that you cannot deliberately keep them away from being exposed to profanity. So if this happens, point out the words right away. Tell them not to use them because these words will make them look bad.

A few weeks ago, Sofie shared with me a simple yet meaningful activity from her Form Teacher and Guidance Period Class (Mr Idris of Yumin Primary School). This made his students realized how it is important not to tolerate saying bad words.

According to my daughter, here’s what they did:

  • Their form teacher asked them if they knew some bad words that they are aware of. (and yes, he allowed the kids to say these words)
  • The teacher wrote it down on a piece of paper. So while writing, he made these children realized how strong these words were (some children were throwing non-vulgar words, but considered as bad ones too. I was embarrassed to know that my daughter threw one of the strongest words in the history of “childrenkind” )
  • He then explained the effects of saying these harsh words to friends. “People will not like you if you say these words… You will be a bully… You will hurt other people’s feelings when you say this… You will lose friends…”
  • After writing it down, he made a meaningful act as he crumpled the paper while saying “Let’s throw the bad words in the rubbish bin.”

A simple activity yet my daughter remembered every detail of it, she had learned a lot without being reprimanded.

She is now our language police.

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10 Responses

  1. My children are my language police too! When I hear my children saying words that are not pleasant, I would ask them how would they feel if other people use those words on them, and they would tell me that they don’t like those unpleasant words!
    PeiPei.HaoHao recently posted…Kite Flying with Children @ Marina BarrageMy Profile

  2. How true that our kids are our language police! Thank you for the interesting read and method to deal with it. Your child is lucky to have such a great teacher!
    Bumble Bee Mum recently posted…Toa Payoh HDB Hub Nursing Room ReviewMy Profile

  3. Claudia says:

    My girl also language police! Sometimes I say a word and she heard it wrongly, she’ll go “Orrrr! You say bad word!”. We are usually very careful with what we say when they are around, but generally we dont use much bad word. The only bad word is hmm… stupid?
    Claudia recently posted…Rebuilding Memories with LEGOMy Profile

  4. Phoebe says:

    Sometimes we speak inappropriate words too (particularly when we are upset) and our kids will catch us too. I think speaking good words are meant for all ages…even more for adults.
    Phoebe recently posted…Garden Rhapsody – SG50 SpecialMy Profile

  5. Shermeen says:

    Oh how true…. we need to always watch what we say in front of the kids! My boy has also now my language police… and likewise, we encourage each other to always be tactful..
    Shermeen recently posted…IVF Round 2: Done with Egg Retrieval.My Profile

  6. Jiahui says:

    wah!! the teacher allowed them to say them out loud.. I can’t imagine her keeping a straight face if the really bad words would thrown out! 🙂 But it is a great reminder how we need to be vigilant with our kids’ speeches!
    Jiahui recently posted…A massage for those who run – OSIM uHip ReviewMy Profile

  7. Jolin says:

    My children are still young so they still do not know what is a bad word. We as the parents have to be very mindful of what we said. Sometimes when we had a slip, I would keep praying that they did not hear it.

  8. Collin says:

    I think is good to expose them to the bad words and explain to them. If we don’t expose they might pick it from their friends and start to use it unknowingly. By then it will be harder to get them to stop using this words

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