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

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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?

Thanks

 

 

Clarissa

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.

 

2. Explain The Consequences Of Using The Word

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After you have told her what the word is and why it is unacceptable, lay out a course of action. Identify what is your daughter’s most favorite thing in the world, her friends, toys, computer, TV time and then hold that over her head if she disobeys you and continues to drop F-bombs. Lay out a contract in writing, explaining the offense, what will happen if she breaches the contract and then both of you sign it. Give her a copy and place a copy on the refrigerator (yes everyone will see it but this is serious stuff and everyone needs to be aware. The public accountability might even help).

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