Age-Level Insights: Profanity

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Hear -no -evil

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Hear No Evil
Ages 2 to 5

You can be sure that if children this age hear any word often
enough, it’ll become part of their vocabulary — regardless of
whether they understand its meaning. The same is true of racial
slurs and obscene gestures. Preschoolers don’t use profanity for
its shock value; they simply repeat what they hear. I know a parent
who withdrew his preschooler from Sunday school, fearing the child
would repeat in church what she heard at home.

Parents, older children, and other people are a child’s main
source of inappropriate words and gestures. Movies, television, and
popular music also provide exposure. How are we to apply the
brakes?

The obvious remedy is to prevent exposure, but that’s an
increasingly difficult task for parents and teachers. When a young
child uses profanity or obscene gestures, don’t react in shock and
anger. Calmly explain that the word or gesture can hurt others’
feelings. If the behavior persists, separate the child from the
rest of the group; then discuss the incident with the child’s
parent.     

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For more great articles like this, subscribe to our magazine, Children's Ministry Magazine.