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children who swear

  • 1.  children who swear

    Posted 10-15-2019 10:54 AM

    Looking for advice on this – what do you do when children use inappropriate language?  We are hearing curse words in our pre-k classrooms, as adjectives and as name-calling.

     

    Thanks

     

    Teri Windisch, Director

    Children's Village at Doylestown Hospital

    twindisch@dh.org

    215-345-2678



  • 2.  RE: children who swear

    Posted 10-16-2019 03:20 AM
    Hello Teri,

    I found children use inappropriate language when they are in an Early Childhood Education Program, it is sometimes because this type of language has been used by individuals who the child comes in contact with who influences his/her development. I believe young children are learning about the world where they live and look to those of us in the field of Early Childhood Education to help guide them in their social, emotional, cognitive and physical development. When the situation you described occurs, I help the child learn there is a better way to express what they are communicated and model that better way. I also speak with members of the family to let them know what I observed and ask for their thoughts about the origin of the use of this language and explore with them how we can work together to support the child in learning more appropriate language that we find leads to someone's success in school and life as a productive member of a global society.

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    Robert Gundling, Ed.D.
    Better Futures LLC
    Senior Consultant
    Washington, DC
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  • 3.  RE: children who swear

    Posted 10-16-2019 07:17 AM
    ​We approach it as "Those are not nice words and we use nice words in our classroom with others." if it continues, we offer ways to express their frustrations in an appropriate manner. Usually after saying we use nice words only a few times, the children become aware that the language is not affecting us and it will stop. The same goes with inappropriate hand motions. We says, "We have no naughty fingers, they are all useful fingers." This little anecdote always sticks in my head and is kind of humorous but it stopped the actions of this child. I once had a student who was very negative and would try to get the teachers to react to whatever he needed to express in inappropriate ways. He was hitting and kicking one day so I sat him on my lap and restrained him to get him to calm down. I had my arms around his but his hands were free. He was  getting agitated. When the cook walked in to set tables for lunch, he flipped her off. She saw it and started singing, "Where is tall man? Where is tall man? : He yelled at her and asked, " Don't you know what this means?" She calmly and respectfully said, " That is tall man from the finger play." He was so stunned that he stopped immediately. He never did that again. Our reactions to what they do make a huge difference in them repeating the action again! Hope this will help.

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    Sue Miller
    team leader
    Child Development Center
    Hawarden IA
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  • 4.  RE: children who swear

    Posted 10-17-2019 08:28 AM
    I would just caution against using the language of "naughty" and "nice".   In a model of problem solving and conscious discipline, teaching children the impact of their actions, we try to use descriptive language.  Examples might be "Those words are hurtful"  "We need to keep our school safe and those words are not kind"  "We have agreed not to use words that hurt others feelings"  "Hurtful words need to stop" After children understand that words can hurt - you can expand the language to match emotions, like Heather mentioned (Those words make others sad or those words and actions are not respectful. We have had some pretty elaborate conversations about kindness and respect with preschool aged children.  We do not use an artificial approach such as "we are all friends" but we do teach that we must all be friendly and kind  and inclusive in our classroom community)

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    Carol Murray
    Bard Nursery School
    Red Hook NY
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  • 5.  RE: children who swear

    Posted 10-17-2019 10:17 AM
    ​I guess we use the phrase "nice words" because that is one of our program's PBIS rules for the classroom. We "use walking feet, gentle touches, inside voices and nice words'. Those are the program's overall rules for classrooms that we teach in. We also discuss respect and being kind to all. But we don't make a 'big deal' over swearing as it can become one if we overreact to it.

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    Sue Miller
    team leader
    Child Development Center
    Hawarden IA
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  • 6.  RE: children who swear

    Posted 10-19-2019 08:13 AM
    Our school approaches this with a simple rule of "You must know the meaning of all words that you use."  When they are struggling to define the word I then change the conversation to what were you trying to say or what were you trying to express.

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    Annemarie Maini
    Director
    South Orange Country Day School
    South Orange NJ
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  • 7.  RE: children who swear

    Posted 10-16-2019 07:43 AM
    I treat swear/curse words as any other  word that would make a friend feel upset. I don't draw extra attention to them as that often reinforces them.

    Our classroom policy is that we don't use words that make our friends feel sad. If, by chance, the students thought the word was funny, you can be the one that tells the student that the word makes you feel sad. I know for some students this would be enough, and for others they may be intrigued by making you sad and say the words more.

    I'd also suggest looking into Concious Discipline. I've been implementing it over the past 2 years. It is a great system to use.

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    Heather Finnegan
    Preschool Teacher
    Our Redeemer Lutheran Church with School
    Delavan WI
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  • 8.  RE: children who swear

    Posted 10-16-2019 09:33 AM
    Based on the notion that they are learning it from somewhere (most likely at home), we explain that some words are "grown up words" and should only be used by grown ups.  Then I tell them whatever word they used that I don't like falls into that.  If I hear it again, I just say (where everyone can hear) remember that is a "grown up word" and move on.  I don't make an issue of it.  Just a quick comment and done.

    Melissa Meyer

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    Melissa Meyer
    Early Childhood Special Education
    Jackson MS Public Schools
    Jackson MS
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  • 9.  RE: children who swear

    Posted 10-17-2019 09:53 AM
    The posts about conscious discipline and building emotional intelligence are super helpful. Just as when parents (caretakers) living apart have different rules, it's as wise for providers to lay out and reinforce rules that are different than those in the home. It's highly likely that adults in the home role model what providers consider inappropriate language. Same for when children are taught that physical aggression is acceptable through the use of corporal punishment in the home. Kids can understand the different frameworks, e.g., "Even if it happens at home, cursing is not allowed in this building or yard." message, but are surely confounded when role models curse or use violent punishment. Sometimes a written "agreement" early on gives the children and parents/caretakers motivation; when one's involved in crafting the rules, it's more likely that there will be adherence. It's also easy enough for the provider to bring out the agreement as a reminder that cursing and violence are disallowed, as all agreed. As for changing behaviors in the home, that's a bigger and more complicated task that warrants an entirely different discussion.


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    Shari Doherty
    Program Director
    Child Find of America, Inc.
    New Paltz NY
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  • 10.  RE: children who swear

    Posted 10-17-2019 12:10 PM
    Depending on the child, using curse words instead of fists to communicate might be great progress! :)  If that is the case, I would thank the child for using words this time instead of physically hurting other children and then talk about how words can be hurtful, too, and help provide more appropriate words to use in future situations.

    If the "inappropriate" words are used for name-calling or to be hurtful, there needs to be a discussion about good classroom citizenship and creating a classroom learning community that is safe and comfortable for everyone in the class.



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    Jared Lisonbee
    Research Analyst
    Utah Community Action Head Start
    Salt Lake City, UT
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  • 11.  RE: children who swear

    Posted 10-18-2019 06:48 AM
    The University of Maine Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies has a tipsheet about using shocking language/swearing
    https://ccids.umaine.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/26/2017/01/swearing-tip-022714.pdf that suggests it is important to understand why children may swear and provides some ideas of how to respond. At the bottom, there are also links to a virtual toolkit and resources, such as the children's book "Elbert's Bad Word" . (The main character learns about other strong words to use to express emotions.)

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    Bonnie Blagojevic
    Morningtown Consulting
    Orono ME
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  • 12.  RE: children who swear

    Posted 10-18-2019 10:45 AM
    When children swear or use hurtful words to their friends, besides letting them know why it is inappropriate and why we should not say words like that, we also encourage students to come up with words that help or make a friend feel good, instead of hurtful words. This helps the child expand their vocabulary and practice using words that are not hurtful in the classroom. The more opportunities they have to practice helpful and encouraging words, hopefully, the more they will use them.

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    Andrea Bell
    Director
    Peace Early Learning Center
    Arvada CO
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