153: Handling Kids’ Bad Language: A Your Child Explained Episode

Welcome! To listen to today’s episode, scroll all the way down to the bottom of this post and hit the triangular “play” button. Enjoy the show!

Today, a listener question about kids and bad language:

“My four-year-old has picked up some bad language from other kids in her class. How should I deal with being called “dog face”!!

This can seem like a puzzle to which we parents just don’t have the answer. If you’re feeling like that, listen in! In today’s episode I share how to prepare for when your child throws something like this that you – and how to handle it in the moment.

For full show notes, including an easy-to-remember plan in answer to listener Nicola’s full question, and the button to download my How to Handle Every Temper Tantrum guide, go to weturnedoutokay.com/153!

Trouble with tantrums?

With littles, meltdowns are hard to avoid.

So I came up with the HEART method to help you:
– remain calm
– stop worrying about judginess with public tantrums
– know you’re not alone

To calmly, decisively handle every on of your child’s tantrums, click the button below!

Click Here to Get the Guide

Nicola asks:
“My four-year-old has picked up some bad language from other kids in her class. How should I deal with being called “dog face”!! I’m sure it can get worse as they get older but I didn’t expect it to start so soon. We’ve talked to her about why we use kind language etc. and even put her in her room to calm down when she uses it. A friend suggested that I follow the French tradition where “kids” are allowed their own special low-key swearword – it’s a thing, everyone in the country knows this word?! I’ve suggested my four-year-old can use a phrase/word if she is frustrated, maybe go to her room and yelled into her pillow etc… hmmmm.

“Any help much appreciated!”

I have SO much sympathy!
Today, I outline steps to take so you’re prepared for this kind of kid-thing:

1) Don’t take it personally.
– Our children oftentimes want to run these words past parents to see what we’ll do: will we shout? Will we do the same thing as the teacher in school did, or that other kids did when someone said this?

2) Model calm.
– If we give them an angry tirade, or punish harshly, we’re giving them attention for bad behavior. Our goal is to give them attention only for good behavior, minimize our attention to the bad.

Let me just say – I know how hard this is! Simple in theory, tough in practice. Hang in there.

3) Model what you WANT to see and hear.
– The younger the child, the simpler your language needs to be:
“We don’t say words like that in our family.”
“I don’t say that to you, I don’t expect you to say that to me.”

4) Redirect.
– Actively change the conversation:
“Now, it’s time to get your shoes on.”
“Do you want your yellow shirt or your green shirt today?”

I hope that helps, Nicola, and you if you are in Nicola’s position!

Questions or comments? Click here to ask or share : )

Key Links:
We dig into episode 150, about how our belief in the fundamental goodness – or not – of the universe affects our children’s world view. Click here to listen to that Your Child Explained.