Why do kids swear?

by Pedro

I recently wrote a post on how kids see the swearing restrictions we impose on them. This post was written on another blog where I try to reproduce kids voices. What I write over there doesn’t aspire to be serious nor does it intend to even represent my opinions on each subject.

Disclaimer done, so I need to say I obviously think parents should impose language limitations to their children.I do believe in good-manners and I try to raise my children to be well-mannered. I think we shouldn’t impose ourselves on others, and that’s what being well-bred is about.

On that post in Limetree Kids, I (intentionally) used a fallacy. I assumed there were words which purpose would be lost if they were not used currently. The assumption was that all words purpose was to be used on regular basis, which obviously is not the case. I won’t go in much details about swearing, the benefits of it, how it evolved through years and so on… I’ll leave it to another post. I promise I’ll come to this later.

But what interests me right now is to understand why do kids swear? What moves them towards it?

I guess there are two reasons that push kids into swearing, especially during their second / third year of life: first thing, it’s a new thing to them. You can almost sense their savoring the words as they say it, particularly because they understand by the adults’ reactions that they shouldn’t be saying those words at all. Secondly, it’s their defying attitude. Many times, they are testing us; they want to see what’s our limit. And so, they are doing it to make sure we notice them. Because they feel noticed when they do bad things and you have to scold them.

Should we let them do it? I don’t think so.

Do I overreact when my kids do it? I try not to. I’ve come to understand that the more you rise up against it, the more they’ll do it. So I try not to make a big deal out of it. Yes, I’ll tell them it’s wrong. Yes, I’ll let them know I don’t like it and make them stop when they start saying it (and little kids don’t use the word once. They repeat it, and repeat it, and repeat it, until they make it impossible for you to ignore it). But in the end I try to wave it and change the subject, ask a question about something else, or deviate their attention into something different.

What do you think? Is this a good solution? Let me know…