How to Handle Kids Repeating Bad Words: 5 Steps - MakeSureHow
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Never laugh when your child utters a bad word.

You may have giggled and smiled the first time your precious angel repeated a bad word she picked up from you, television or even an older sibling. Unfortunately, it's now several years later and your kid's vocabulary sounds more like a raunchy HBO comedy special. Whether they're mimicking you or expressing anger, kids use bad words for a number of reasons, according to the Penn State Cooperative Extension. If your child is repeating bad words, it's up to you to both act and react appropriately.


  1. 1
    Implement a no-cursing policy throughout your home. This also applies to anyone entering the premises. It's sometimes difficult to stop colorfully expressing your distaste for a friend's behavior or a referee's obviously horrendous call during a football game, but more often than not, your choice in vocabulary has a profound impact on your child's choice of words.
  2. 2
    Explain what the word means to your child. For instance, if your child uses an inappropriate curse word to describe a situation or another person, let him know that the word is offensive and he is basically calling this person he loves stupid or another hurtful term. According to the Penn State Cooperative Extension, often times simply explaining what a word means is enough to stop the child from using it again.
  3. 3
    Avoid laughing when your child uses a bad word. This is going to be difficult in many cases, but it's important to keep tight-lipped when your child utters a very adult word. Your child will assume this word is okay because mom or dad laughed, and it could become a permanent part of her vocabulary.
  4. 4
    Tell your child the word in question is unacceptable, and that repeating it will have negative consequences. Make it clear that repeating bad words is punishable by time outs, a missed trip to the park or loss of desserts for two days.
  5. 5
    Teach your child alternative ways to express himself. Often times, a preschooler will use a bad word in the right context to express anger or sadness, or simply because he stubbed his toe. For instance, instead of a using a certain expletive to express hurt feelings after a fight with his friends, tell your child to use words such as “angry,” “upset” or “frustrated.” Praise your child when he responds to a situation properly and doesn't utter one of those unacceptable words.

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Categories: Education and Communications

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