Stopping the Name Calling, and Crass Words | Teaching Self-Government

Stopping the Name Calling, and Crass Words

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"I was wondering….what do you do about name calling, or when children say bad words? My children say crap, stupid, dumb, etc… No matter how many times I tell them to stop, they don’t. So would you have them do a chore everytime they named called, or said a bad word? or Would you do something different?"

Name calling is obviously not appropriate because it destroys the feeling in the home and encourages contention and selfishness.  There are a couple of ways I handle this sort of thing.

Before I explain how I would handle these situations, I want to say that I have noticed that even though children are taught correct language and respect for family, there are times in their lives when they get more proud, arrogant or experimental with their language.  So, always watch for changes in language and talk about them as they arise. 

The First Occurance     

The first time name calling happens I call the child to me and say, "Just now you called your sister (whatever it was) and that is not appropriate.  It tells everyone in the family that you are not wanting our family to feel happy.  When you get upset with your sister and don't know how to solve a problem peacefully, then you should come ask me what would be a good idea to say.  I am happy to help you with choosing your words.  Right now you need to apologize to your sister and sing our happy family song. If you call names instead of communicate calmly in the future then you will earn an extra chore...Let's practice communicating calmly..." 

Next Time     

After, this initial teaching the child knows his consequence for the behavior and has the opportunity to learn cause and effect by either choosing to communicate calmly and be in control of his own time, or call names again and do chores as part of the pre-determined family government.      

If the offense is repeated I would go through a normal, calm corrective teaching, and follow through with the consequence.  Don't forget to praise accepting consequences and staying calm when you are talking to him.  Also, remember that once a rule is made, you need to be consistent with it.  So, if the child breaks the rule, you have to follow through with what your family government system prescribes.      

Another way to combat name calling is by praising the family often using motivating names like:

You are such a strong man!

You are a beauty!

You are really a Mr. Fixit!

I think you are turning out to be quite a baker.      

The more the family gets into the habit of praising and calling each other good things, the more awkward it is to become negative and rude.  If you have already praised a person out loud for his intelligence, how quickly will you turn your mind to saying someone is dumb?  Once praise is given it is not as easy to counter the sentiments which have already been paid. 

Crass Comments:

Crass verbiage can be handled in the same way.  If a person swears, or speaks in vulgar ways then do a correction mixed with a pre-teach and clearly define how the family government handles this kind of behavior, and then follow through each time the inappropriate language occurs.      

Be sure to be the example of the kind of language you want your children to use.  If one parent is vulgar, all the children will feel validated in speaking the same way.  If you want to raise the verbal bar for the family, be sure to include your own communication too.

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