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Help! My Teenager Is Swearing At Me

Teenagers can be rude and crude. They may use foul language, especially with their friends. A parent has no real power to control the language their teenager uses with friends, but they can, and should, address this issue in the home. A teenager swearing at a parent is unacceptable behavior and there are several ways it can be dealt with:


1) Keep in mind that if the swearing is upsetting to you, that may be the reason they are doing it – to upset you. If you don’t get upset, they may stop as it’s no longer providing the kind of payoff they are seeking. However, teenagers are perceptive and will know when it really does bother you even if you try to show it doesn’t. If a child or adolescent is swearing as a means of getting at you because they are angry at you, then the anger is the issue, not the swearing.


2) Without getting upset, state to your teenager that you dislike that kind of talk and really don’t want to hear it in the house. This is just a statement of preference; it is not a demand to stop it. You can even take it a step further and state your feeling about it such as “I feel much abused when you swear.” Again, this is just a statement and does not require any response so don’t expect one or demand one. Also, this is not a demand or request to stop using this language which may only increase its use. As the child or adolescent hears again and again how you genuinely feel, without having demands placed on them, they will become more sympathetic and the swearing will likely stop.


3) Read my article The Parent’s Toolkit: The Pingpong Strategy found in . The quiet, silent, observant position can say a great deal without loosing the position of power.


4) After a day goes by without swearing, offer acknowledgement by saying something like “thank you for not swearing” or “I appreciate that you did not swear today.”


5) Although punishment for swearing is a possibility, it generally does not work well and only gets the teenager madder and more likely to swear.


6) Even though the teenager may be swearing and acting rude and crude, they still deserve respect as a person. Sometimes teenagers try to get what they want by acting in the opposite way. For example, a teenager who wants to be liked by others might act as bully. A teenager who wants respect might act like a jerk. Teenagers may be paradoxical creatures but they still deserve respect and they will often respond positively when they are treated respectfully and more like an adult than a child.


7) Teenagers are involved in the developmental task of building an individual identity. In doing so, they need to break away from parents. This is often accomplished by not listening to parents, breaking rules, getting into trouble, being rude and crude…Try to understand the difficulties of their developmental tasks.


8) Listen to your teenager. You don’t need to agree but you do need to hear what they are saying – and they need to know that you are hearing what they say. Listen without judgment, without interruptions, without agendas and without corrections. Acknowledge that you have heard what they have said by paraphrasing back to them what you heard them say to you.


The life of a teenager is difficult. Swearing is often a way of releasing anxiety and frustrations. For the most part, it is harmless and will certainly pass just as you too made it through the tumultuous times of adolescence.


Ken Fields is a nationally certified, licensed mental health counselor. During the past 25 years, he has helped individuals, couples, families and groups address a variety of issues ranging from spiritual malaise to children with autism. He has been a crisis intervention counselor and an administrator at a human service agency. Currently, Mr. Fields provides communication coaching and online parent counseling at http://www.openmindcounseling.com


Source: www.articlecity.com