Bad Language

Kids and “bad” words seem to have a magnetic attraction to each other.

Where do they learn them? First, they learn them in the home directly in conversation or perhaps from some media in the house. They also are exposed to them indirectly, overhearing a conversation that the adults think is private.

The other opportunity comes in social settings. With more kids attending daycare earlier, they now spend more time with others than they may have in the days of waiting for kindergarten before formally leaving the house for large chunks of their days. Once they start school, you can be sure they will come home having learned all kinds of bonus material!

I’ve noticed a complete dichotomy in how parents react to their children learning a new piece foul language. Some actually put the child on display with a, “Tell everyone what you told Mommy this morning at breakfast,” type thing. I’ve actually witnessed a parent doing this, in effect having the kid “show off” the bad language to a group of people, all of whom laughed politely, but expressed discomfort later behind the parent’s back.

The other reaction I witnessed was when a child volunteered such language in front of the parent’s friends. The parent was outraged and demanded to know where the word had been learned and threatened the old-fashioned washing out of the mouth with soap if the word was ever uttered again.

How do you handle undesirable words creeping into your kid’s vocabulary?

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