Kids have always been fascinated with words that give attention and swear words definitely fit this! We know that around the ages of 4 -6, kids love to talk anything “potty”. When trying to curb swearing with kids, it’s important to understand why kids swear. Obviously at different ages there are different reasons. Many times for younger
kids it’s the fact that they can and they receive a specific reaction for others (perhaps acceptance from the peer group or shock from an adult). Swearing also relays a specific intended emotion, such as surprise, anger or frustration. For
these reasons, sometimes it’s hard to curb swearing. It’s just too fun for some kids. I have found a few things to be effective. One is planned ignoring. If you can tolerate it, giving no response can sometimes extinguish swearing. Often times we have rewarded ”expected language” with fabulous reinforcements that helped the ignoring. However,
if you’re like many teachers, you can’t have a student swearing up a storm because what if other students went home and told their parents or gosh even worse, what if all the sudden all students started swearing?? That’s where social norms fall into place. Most students are able to understand and follow the social norm of not swearing at school. For the other kiddos, we have to teach the social norm, give acceptable alternative behaviors and set down firm rules and expectations. That’s exactly what this social story does. We use some perspective taking and also a social behavioral
consequence map to make things more concrete. We teach that place, company and relationship also play a part inwhat language is acceptable.