What is common or vulgar behavior

When children use foul language

27.06.2005

Parents are often appalled when their children use crude expressions in preschool age. The little ones picked up these from their peers in kindergarten or even while watching TV. It is only through the reactions of the adults that the children notice the effect these swear words have on others. Dr. Sylvia Schuster, press spokeswoman for the professional association of paediatricians in North Rhine-Westphalia, gives tips on how parents should behave. ...

Children learn that certain words can annoy and shock adults so beautifully only through the reactions of adults, explains Dr. Sylvia Schuster, press spokeswoman for the professional association of paediatricians in North Rhine-Westphalia.

Swear words and cursing are initially nothing bad, they show that the child is learning and using the possibilities and power of language creatively. The child notices that it can throw the otherwise always superior adults off balance and that even with anger and disappointment it can ventilate without hitting it straight away.

Most children use fecal swear words. On the one hand, this has psychological reasons - small children like to deal with this topic - and, on the other hand, German mainly offers swear words from this area. Increasingly, however, children also use vulgar expressions from the area of ​​sexuality. This is precisely what parents find worrying. Is there perhaps a connection with personal experiences? You ask yourself. Fortunately not in general. The f-words, which meanwhile even kindergarten children are fluent over the lips, have simply not been taboo as much as they used to be, the children “pick them up” from their peers, on television, from older siblings. Parents don't have to worry as long as there are no other abnormalities.

However, they should not tolerate cursing and scolding, because the neglect of language damages the child in the long term. Above all, she excludes it socially in kindergarten and school.

What can parents do?

  • Ignoring one-off verbal lapses, the less attention, the less exciting.
  • In the event of repeated derailment or repeated aggressive expressions directed at parents, siblings or friends, calmly but firmly determine that such a vocabulary is not desired, set limits or discipline by sending them out. If the child responds to even the smallest frustration with outbursts of anger, parents should seek help.
  • Check and clear out your own vocabulary. Whoever yells "shit" at every opportunity is setting a bad example.
  • Allow the child to swear when they have to vent their breath because they have fallen or bumped.
  • If the child uses swear words as if under duress, it may be caused by a mental illness, such as Tourette's syndrome. Parents should consult with their pediatrician.