DS (9) has learnt to swear - advice please!(9 Posts)
As the title says... DS, who's just turned nine and is about to go into Y5, has recently picked up some really exciting (to him) swear words - bloody, crap, shit and fuck come to mind. I don't swear at all, ever; DH does swear, but only when the children are at school. I have asked DS not to say these words in front of me or to teach them to 7-y-0 DD (some hope!!), to no avail.
I am sure this is yet another tedious phase, but I need advice from others who have come out the other side of it.
Ignore, ignore, ignore (at the risk of letting him think it's okay to shout 'bloody hell' - which I don't think it is)
Explain, explain, explain why it's ok to know these words, but not ok to use them in company
Fine him pocket money every time he does it?
He has Aspergers and is generally very difficult to manage (don't want to drip feed info, so am mentioning it now!)
I know MN has many posters who don't have a problem with swearing; sweary-folks, please don't post jokey sweary posts in reply. I'm quite upset about this, and would really appreciate constructive advice.
I would say, every time I heard one, "I do not want you to use those words in this house, and I do not want to hear from your teachers that you have used them in school".
And if 7yo repeats them, the same rule applies to her.
It's not ok for children this age to swear routinely, and they need to understand that right from the start.
I wouldn't start taking away pocket money or anything like that till I'd tried just saying "These are the rules" - I reckon its better to keep that as a second line of defence if they don't pay attention when you tell them clearly what is acceptable and what isn't.
I confess that my DH and I do swear. Consequently if DS1 (8) says something a bit sweary, I've always stuck to "don't say that because it upsets a lot of grown ups. Grown-ups who hear you say that may decide not to invite you to their house. It also frightens many children because it makes you sound like a tough teenager, so they might want to keep away from you".
I don't know what you think of that strategy but it is simple, focusses on concrete consequences rather than abstract principles (thinking of the Aspergers) and doesn't get into a right versus wrong or pride versus shame emotional thingamabob.
I think with DS2 (social communication difficulties but obviously may present totally differently to your lad) I'd be tempted to make a list of swear words I'd heard him say (none so far thankfully!) and go through word+reactions of others. If that wasn't enough in itself, it could still be the groundwork for a pocketmoney fine consequence <visions of visitors seeing Ds2's money-box next to a poster with "fuck" written on it and consequent eyebrow-raising>
no idea if you can adapt these ideas to your own situation but best of luck! DD would hear these words from other kids on playground anyway if it's any comfort. DS1 learnt his words not from me (it was ones I don't use) but from nicely behaved kids on playground.
Thank you both.
I think you are both right about not starting with the pocket money sanction. I just feel so exhausted by DS and his behaviour that it's yet another thing to try to nip in the bud, and I am hoping for a quick fix when there isn't one.
It's also true that DD would learn these words anyway in due course. DS learnt them from very pleasant and well brought up children in the playground (he goes to a very small boys' school, so the 8-y-os - 13-y-os all tend to play together. I just didn't want it to be quite so early!
My son started swearing when he was about 9 he has Autism. When I tried talking to him about it he said they are just words who decided they had to be swear words. He could not get why people could get upset over a word. We used social stories to try and help him understand.
It certainly helps that you don't swear and that your husband doesn't swear in front of the children. Kids with AS often have a strong sense of right and wrong. It would be difficult to persuade him that it was wrong to swear if either you or your husband did.
There isn't an easy answer - I don't think the pocket money idea will work - it may even make matters even worse. Punishments and AS are a difficult combination.
I would start by explaining WHY he should not swear. Simply saying some words are 'swear' words probably won't work because then you get the whole - 'who decides they are?' argument.
For example it might be better to say something like:
"When you say ???? it upsets me and I feel bad/sad"
Because of his AS he is going to need a solid reason not to do something.
Too right that punishments and AS is a difficult combination. DS seems to regard 'punishments' as me being grossly unfair and mean; he can't really connect the sanction to his particular behaviour (being unable to see things from anyone's perspective but his own).
"When you say ... it upsets me and I feel sad" gets the 'so what?' look (because someone else being upset is, of course, irrelevant) - but on the other hand, I do need to plug away at the empathy thing in the hope that he eventually learns a degree of empathy, even as a social veneer.
I might look at the social story idea as well, greatescape - thanks for the reminder.
I am not entirely sure about the whole question of empathy.
I have never been totally convinced that there is necessarily a lack of empathy so much as an inability to demonstrate that empathy.
That's an interesting one, too. I have always thought in the case of my DS that he simply doesn't have any empathy - but as he also has trouble articulating any feelings except anger, it's possible that there is some empathy hidden in there too...
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