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Ask Rene: My Seven Year Old Is Swearing! Help!


Photo Credit: Creative Commons | Steven Depolo


Ask Rene:
My Seven Year Old Is Swearing! Help!


Hi Rene!

We recently had a large family gathering at a park. Many of the cousins were playing on the playground when one of the older kids spotted the dreaded f-bomb comprehensibly (shockingly!) etched on the swing set! My 7-year-old daughter, who now reads, mispronounced it but her cousin (thanks for nothin’) corrected her. Now she can’t let it go…and I am sick about it. She’s only 7!

I have been one to drop a bomb, but have refrained from doing so in front of the kids-miraculously. I know it may not be such a big deal but I am sick about it. My first born…my baby. I thought we had a few more years. She does NOT know what it means, and trying not to give it too much power, we have told her it’s one of those bad words we don’t ever talk about. She later asked if she could tell her friend and we said NO! So it’s taking up a portion of her brain. “Stupid”, “shut-up”, “dammit”, “sh…” I could handle, but the bomb has me riddled. What is the best way to handle this?





I know exactly how you feel; remember my story of Cole and the x-rated text?  I, too, thought he was too young to be dropping those words and that I had a little more time. But thanks to TV, friends, even helpful (ha) cousins, our kids are exposed to a lot, much of it sooner than we would like. The difference between Cole and your daughter is that Cole knew EXACTLY what the word was, what it meant and that it was bad. Not so for your girl.

There are a couple of ways you can go here. The first is to ignore it altogether. As I have said in this space before, the reason people do stuff is because they get a reaction from their behavior. If you didn’t flinch or bat an eye or even correct her when she started using the salty sailor talk, it would ultimately go away. But I can imagine that might be tough as she shouts the expletive over her Cheerios. Therefore I am going to recommend a different approach.


1. Sit Down And Explain Why This Is Offensive

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As much as you don’t want to admit, the genie is out of the bottle and she ain’t going back in. The trick is to quash any curiosity she may have about it and in order to do that you have to be up front. I would say something like “this is a bad word used by adults ONLY. It is slang and it does not make you look good when you say it.” I’m not sure how much you have talked to her about sex but if it were me talking to my kids (and remember I have been talking to my kids about sex since forever) I would very directly explain that this was a bad word associated with sex and that it is completely unacceptable for them to use it.

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