Hearing your child swearing is usually a shocking – and utterly embarrassing – moment for any parent. Invariably the moment your child chooses to debut his new language skills will be when you’re in public, and it’s often when he’s angry or frustrated.
Before you can stop or put limits on your child's swearing, both you and your partner need to be quite clear about what you think is acceptable language for your child to use. If you both have different ideas, you will need to develop a consensus and both be prepared to enforce it, before you can talk to your child. Generally, consistency is the key to success when tackling swearing – you will need to abide by the same rules as those you lay down for your child.
In many families, one parent is more relaxed about swearing than the other. You will send mixed messages to your child if he hears one parent swearing – which is accepted behaviour – while the other is attempting to enforce acceptable limits on swearing. Many families also have different ideas about what words do and don’t constitute swearing – sexual-type words may be off-limits, while swearing relating to religion may be acceptable.
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