Dear Parents of 6 to 11 Year Olds,
I am not sure how many people have had this experience but children these days seem to start picking up expletives and objectionable language pretty fast. They obviously don't understand the meaning or impact, but they think it is COOL! to use such language.
Has anyone in this group had such an experience and how are you dealing with such instances?
It is true. I have a 71/2 year old daughter and have experienced this at times. On introspection, I feel that it is just an extension of what the society around us is using! For instance, even in kids' movies, you sometimes get to hear words which were no-no when we were young. The kids' exposure is very high these days in terms of interaction with adults/elders, reading different books, watching TV/movies, etc and so they do tend to copy the mannerisms , esp those which are considered 'cool'. So, the challenge is to enable them to understand that these are not 'cool'.
One sure no-no is to just admonish them strictly and leave it at that. We usually adopt a normal tone and find out from her in what context she is using the word, and explain that it is not nice. When spoken normally, she has questions to ask on 'why somebody used, etc' and we encourage this conversation; we try to drive home the point that she should not blindly use these; if she really is undergoing a strong emotion that she feels like strongly expressing it, we tell her that there are alternatives to using expletives. For instance, she often used to say "I HATE this " for small things - we told her that a "I really dont like this" is better and it makes us listen instead of putting us off. Now she has consciously stopped using 'Hate'. It does help when you explain to them that she is actually creating a bad impression on the listener if she uses these words. And we point out that those people whom she labels as "kind" (they have these labels, I discovered - kind, rude, strict, etc) definitely dont use those expletives.
Finally, the family's culture plays a big role - the importance we give to words and their meaning!
I heard a lot of parents in my second graders class bemoan the fact that these kids are using all sorts of words. Yes, as others have pointed out they learn from their peers and even from us. I tend to use the SH*T word a lot (bad habit learnt from school days when kids used it to be hep cats. ;-)).
A few months back I heard both my kids use it and now am more careful. But they can unknowingly and innocently pick up from school (not just peer acceptance and be cool) but more out of fun and curiosity. Wanted to share the incident with the "f" word in my friend's daughter's class and how the teacher handled it. I thought it gave me pointers.
Any thoughts or other tips?
Thanks to all 3 of you for replying and thanks for the article mango mama.
Both my wife and I have been taking the patient route, trying to understand who taught him, in what context etc. And then been trying to discourage him from using it because it is rude or bad.
I kinda like the concept of "If you say good things, it makes me want to come to you, but if you say bad things, it makes me want to go away from you".
And I agree, it is culture and often, what we as parents are inadvertently saying that kids latch on to.
Thanks again. This Forum is Great!
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