Today we are going to discuss what to do when your child uses foul language, bad language, or even curses you. Specifically, when you give a consequence, discipline or do something your child does not like, and they curse at you as a response.

You have to understand what your child is trying to achieve.

First of all you told them something he did not like. That means you are exerting your power and control over your child and his natural response is to:

(1) resent you and try to attack you, and

(2) try to show he has control over you in some aspect.

That is what the foul language, bad language, or cursing achieves.

It shows, first of all, that it expresses his anger in you. Second, he controls what comes out of his mouth and you don’t. It gives him an air of control where you have no control.

The way you handle this problem is to recognize what your child is trying to do and do not get sucked in. You do not get drawn into a battle. You do not respond at this point, and you do not let your child suck you into an argument or respond really in any way.

You want to maintain your dignity and control of the situation.

For example, let’s say your child comes home late and misses curfew, your consequence is for the next week, the next couple of days, or the next couple of times he has got to be home an hour earlier. He gets angry and curses at you. You say, “Nevertheless, for the next week, you have got to be home an hour early” and you walk away.

You do not get dragged into battle. You do not say, “How dare you curse at me.” You do not get involved in any way at all in what he said.

That does not mean you let it go. You can come back later at a different time and say, “You know you cursed at me yesterday, you cursed at me an hour ago, two hours ago. You are not allowed to do that and there is a consequence for that also” and then you give a consequence for cursing.

Do not let the cursing, the bad talk, the bad language, or the anger of your child get you off track. Your child’s goal is to exert his power, exert his control and to show you that he has something over you. Do not let him get away with it.

Stay in control, stay in focus, keep on topic, and at a later time when things are calm, go back and address the cursing or the bad language. Do not let it go. Do not say you are giving in. Don’t do anything other than stay on track now and make sure you address it later.

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    Anthony Kane, MD
      P S Please leave a comment because I would really like to get your reaction to this.

        If you would like to have a quick step-by-step plan on how to end your child's difficult behavior forever and your child is between the ages of 2 and 11:

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