Tall as three apples, kids already love using swear words they've heard often at home or at school! Why do they particularly like insults, and how do you limit their use of swear words? Advice and tips from Léa Didier, clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst.
In the majority of cases, children start swearing between 2.5 and 6 years old . ' The first reason is imitation! They discover, tame and appropriate swear words like everything around them . These words also have a particular resonance and flavor, because they are generally mixed with affects ', explains Léa Didier, clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst with children, adolescents and adults.
So, if you use swear words frequently, it makes sense that your child will pick them up more easily! But if you have banished them from your vocabulary, do not consider yourself immune: your dear blond head will have plenty of time to hear them at school or in some cartoons. But do children only use swear words for mimicry? Not only! ' After the first stage of imitation, our children can say bad words for many other reasons. : desire to show off, pleasure of belonging and collusion with their friends and their favorite heroes, anger, need to let off steam, desire to clown around, in certain singular cases, they also need to tell what 'they live without our knowledge and that can be painful... 'explains Léa Didier. But how do you stop all these filthy words from coming out of your child's mouth? Here are some anti-swearing tips with advice from Léa Didier.
'After the first stage of imitation, our children can say swear words for many other reasons'.
You will no doubt have noticed that your child uses and abuses certain swear words whose meaning he has absolutely no idea! This is the reason why it is appropriate to explain the meaning of these words to him without necessarily going into details if they are very vulgar! '. We can explain to children what these words mean and why we cannot use them. Above all, children want to understand what they hear “, advises Léa Didier.
According to Emma Byrne, neuroscientist and author of the book Swearing is Good for You: The Amazing Science of Bad Language , we must not conceal the question and act as if the children were not using swear words! ' If we don't bring up this subject with our children, they will learn to swear in the playground and they will not understand why swearing can have consequences. “, Explained Emma Byrne in an interview with Good Morning Britain on ITV,
It is often parents who unwittingly set a bad example for their children. using swear words more than necessary. If this is your case, you will have to explain why you often swear, but he has no right to do so! ' If we ourselves have the easy swearing, we can admit it and explain to the children the contexts where these words are absolutely prohibited so as not to attract the wrath of adults. We can also offer them to point it out to us. so that we can also recover and offer funnier and tempered alternatives “, advises Léa Didier.
Psychologists all agree that it's not about outright banning the swear words kids use at school or with their friends. ' If these terms are totally excluded from our homes, let's explain that these words attack our ears and that they must find other ways to say what they have to say . At home, at school, we don't say that ' , explains Léa Didier who adds that children can however use them sparingly in their private space. ' We can teach them that they have the right to say whatever they want in their bedroom, or in their diary if they are older, but that there are still other things to do. “, she adds.
Children's books and cartoons can contain a lot of bad words too! Also, before letting your children dive into them or watch them, check that they are appropriate for their age. ' That children sometimes find this mode of complicity between them is one thing, that we bring these sources of identification is another. ', insists Léa Didier.
In some videos posted on TikTok, some parents advise setting up a swearword and therefore to allow their children for a short and predefined period of time to swear at their leisure to externalize their feelings. A trick that is not necessarily validated by Léa Didier. ' I have in mind a 5-year-old girl whispering in my ear that she and her friends had found a pipe at recess in which they were whispering bad words while laughing. A friend also remembered that in the period when swearing was forbidden to her by her mother, the latter heard her one night pouring out a torrent of 'whores' in the middle of a dream! These children have nicely found in their own way how to meet their needs while recognizing the social limit. Coming back to this tip, I would rather propose for my part to invent big wacky words that change register ' , she explains.
You can, in fact, encourage your child to replace the usual swear words with words that you will invent together and which will only be understood by you! ' Let's look for rich, funny, inventive expressions to inhabit our language. Humor is not in a single word, but in amazing combinations!', thus advises Léa Didier.Thanks to Léa Didier, clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst with children, adolescents and adults, author of Ça suffice mon amour (Ed. Albin Michel).Source journaldesfemmes.fr