Parenting: Kids' Rough Language Remedy
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Parenting: Kids' Rough Language Remedy

Rules are guide posts to tell the child what is acceptable and what is unacceptable. For instance at home or in school, there should be a rule that no child may criticize or make unkind remarks about any other person. This includes name-calling, inventing unkind nick-names to irritate each other, cursing and gossiping.
                           kids manners

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"How can we teach our children, whose ages range from 2 1/2 to 12, to speak in a socially accepted manner? The young ones, particularly, have been acquiring rough language from the maids, the neighborhood children and some foul mouthed relatives."

There are two aspects in guiding your children to learn to speak properly, namely:

  • Rules
  • Good model

Rules are guide posts to tell the child what is acceptable and what is unacceptable. For instance at home or in school, there should be a rule that no child may criticize or make unkind remarks about any other person. This includes name-calling, inventing unkind nick-names to irritate each other, cursing and gossiping. Children should be allowed freedom to express their opinion about people, but they should be taught to express them kindly and truthfully, not in the form of criticism or ridicule. If a child is ridiculed by another, he may feel free to come to the parents for help. Parents may intervene to defend the aggrieved one.

If rules are to be effective as guides to behavior, there should be a system of reward and punishment. Willful breaking of the rules will be punished and obedience rewarded. Only in this way will the child have the motivation necessary to use the rules as a guide in learning socially acceptable forms. To illustrate, a boy who calls his sister a "big, fat pig" may be deprived of his favorite TV show. Next time, he will think twice when he is tempted to make such remarks.

On the other hand, if he calls her the "smartest cookie in her class" or the "neatest dresser in the gang" and he gets a hug or a big smile, or an extra scoop of ice cream, he will find it encouraging to substitute positive her negative statements.

Guidance includes giving the child a good model to copy. No child can be expected to talk in a socially acceptable manner if he is surrounded by people who criticize, ridicule, curse, tattle, gossip, or call names. If the parents express their feelings about the child in a critical manner the child assumes that this is the way to handle an unsatisfactory situation.

There are three home spun maxims that can be used to guide our children's understanding and motivation to imitate a model of socially acceptable speech:

  • "If you can't say something pleasant about another person, don't say anything."
  • "You can catch more flies with sugar than with vinegar."
  • "Being critical and sarcastic is not the way to win friends and influence people."

Even if the child does not understand what these maxims mean, their frequent repetition will condition the child to associate pleasant remarks with social acceptance.

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