- Keep your cool: If you lose your temper, you’re playing right your kids’ hands. Instead, calmly and matter-of-factly remind them that certain words are off-limits.
- Be specific: “Don’t ever use language like that!” doesn’t work as well as something more precise, such as “We don’t use that word in this house,” or “That’s an offensive word; please don’t use it where others have to listen to it.”
- Invoke consequences: If your child won’t stop the salty talk even after being warned, then it’s time for disciplinary tactics. Stay calm and respond swiftly: “Saying that word means you can’t watch any television today.”
- Suggest alternatives: Explain to your grade-schooler that instead of swearing when he’s mad, he could punch a pillow
- Establish house rules about swearing — and follow them yourself: Barring gutter talk from your child won’t hold up if every other word you utter during a phone conversation turns the air blue.
- Look for signs of trouble: A sudden increase in foul may mean that your children could be carrying around a lot of anger about a recent divorce or illness in the family, for instance, or be upset about something that’s going on at school or in other areas of their life.
If the swearing doesn’t ease up, or if it’s accompanied by aggression or inappropriate sexual behavior, seek professional help.