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Top 5 things NOT to do if you have swearing kids.

Image: Clare Bloomfield /

Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if we all went through life with blinkered eyes and absolutely no problems to deal with as far as our kids are concerned?

If there is one thing I have learned as the parent of three boys in the last 8 years, it is that swearing comes with age, frustration and repetition. Being on the end of a sweary ranty special needs child, I am not so easily shocked, but I have had friends who have been horrendously horrified when they hear inappropriate language and their children cursing.

Lets look at the top 5 things NOT to do when it happens to you.

1 – Get Paranoid

Assume your offspring have amassed infinitely psychotic tendencies with their newly found child behaviour problems, and imagine them 10 years down the line, in a shop doorway, covered with a blanket and begging for pennies

2 – Search the Internet for the “How to stop child swearing guide”

Chill out and stop being  paranoid (see number 1).  Kids hear swearing.  Most of the time you might try to pretend your little Janet or John have never heard a profanity in their lovely little lives, but if they are at nursery or school, you can bet your bottom dollar that they know them.  They just know not to use them in front of you.   Who can blame them if they slip up sometimes, we’re all human.

3 – Shout your head off

Now, how silly would that be.  You’re trying to learn how to stop children swearing, but you can’t help from bawling your own head off in response.  Not only that, but all that personal attention, as bad as it may be, has only gone and taught little J that swearing winds you up, and they made a mental check mark in their brains to remember that when they get older and you won’t buy them a sweetie in the shop.   Tick, tick, tick.

4 – Laugh

I’ve told this story before, but my 18 month old in his buggy smiled sweetly at a young and very sickly in love couple as they walked past us, pretty much oblivious to all but each other.  Littlest flashed them a massive smile, only to be met with nothing.  His little voice with a limited vocabulary bawls out  “F*ck Off”.    They turned round, looked at him and laughed their heads off.   Kids swearing is funny it seems.  For the next week, we were gaily lambasted with “F*uck Off” for almost every answer.  On your own head be it if you go down that route.

5 – Give them lots of attention.

Do I really have to explain this one.   If you’ve tried a quick and easy distraction, a bit like bribing them with sugar intake, and it hasn’t worked, how do you think giving them lots and lots and lots of attention for doing something you want them to stop is going to be successful.  Ignore, put on your best haughty face, stick your nose in the air, swallow your indignance and keep going, while stoically pretending you heard nothing, uh uh, nada, not a cheep.


Now, if your swearing kids are over 10 years old, and gaily involved in ranty abandon while you spout steam from your ears, then none of the above applies.

15 thoughts on “Top 5 things NOT to do if you have swearing kids.

  1. These tips are great! It’s important to just relax and not give any attention to the swearing immediately – whether positive (laughing) or negative (reprimanding). After a few minutes, explain calmly why bad words aren’t the best thing to say 🙂 Found your blog from the adorable forum.

  2. Just think of less offensive words that can be easily substituted for swear words. Make a list of more accepted words to use than swear words and use them instead. This allows you to maintain your normal sentence structure even when you eliminate swear words. Thanks for posting!

  3. I am feeling extremely lucky at this moment in time….Coming from 15 years with my now ex husband who used the f word more than any other, closely followed by the p and c words, I feel extremely lucky that my children are not prolific swearers… son G used to say the f word was the S.P.U.K word when he was younger, and my youngest son H will say to me “Mum, can I swear?” and then just go “arrrggghhhh” when I say no…

    I think they actually associate the swearing of their father with his alcoholism and abusive nature and so prefer to use words such as ‘numpty’ or ‘muppet’ instead of the expletives that invariably follow the swear word itself, and then can often be heard shouting out ‘radish’ in place of the f or b words they may be tempted by….

    Lou 🙂

    1. The numpty and muppet words must be universal. They get used a lot here too.

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