You’re out in the car and some moron driving while talking on a mobile phone pulls out in front of you and cuts you off – you react by dropping a few choice words and then realise Mr 6 is in the back seat looking at you curiously… Oops!
While we try to be mindful of little ears, sometimes we find ourselves in stressful – or just plain irritating – situations where swear words just seem to slip out. This in itself isn’t a complete disaster, but keeping swearing to a minimum when in the presence of our little ones is the best way to make sure they don’t grow up thinking that these words are “the norm” and start using them in their everyday language.
The reality is that if you don’t want your children to swear, then don’t do it yourself.
Here are a few tips to help you tone it down:
- Replace bad words. One good idea is to swap bad words with other phrases, i.e. “sugar”, “shivers” or “gosh.
- Look out for each other. Politely point out slip-ups to your partner – and vice versa: “Mummy, that’s a naughty word!” This could also be a great opportunity to explain to your child that saying those words is not acceptable.
- Swear Jar. Another popular one is to have a ‘swear jar’ where you place 50c or $1 every time you drop a swear word. The money raised could be used for a family treat or spending money for your next holiday.
- Be Aware. Understand your own behaviour and what type of situations trigger you to react by swearing. If you can be more aware of the causes of your bad language, you’ll be better able to control it.
- Stick With It. If you’ve been a big swearer for many years then it’s likely that swearing has become second nature to you and you do it unconsciously. It will take some time to break the habit, but stick with it and don’t beat yourself up if you can’t stop overnight. Keep trying!