Using foul language in front of my kids is not OK

Your Life
March, 2017

How do I address people who use foul language in front of my kids?

Foul language can mean anything from vulgar words to racist, homophobic, and other statements that are hurtful or damaging to a specific group. Regrettably, foul language seems to be so ingrained with some people that they don’t even realize why or how their words are offensive.

Kids today see and hear a great deal of questionable language. Consequently, parents and responsible adults must be alert and proactive about the information children are receiving. For example, if you are uncomfortable with the language you hear coming from the television, make that show off-limits in your house. Similarly, if kids come home with a “new” word learned from peers, discuss with them what words are okay and which are not okay in your family.

Although addressing people – whether they be relatives, friends or strangers – who use foul language in front of your kids is not easy, as a parent and/or responsible adult, it is within your rights to ask people to avoid the use of certain words (give concrete examples) in front of your children. Always remember that because the foul words used may not seem offensive to that person, your request must begin by clarifying that you are not accusing them of being insensitive, rude or obnoxious. Then, make your request.