This article will look at the topic under discussion in detail by addressing areas which revolve around why a parent may have sworn at their child, how they can deal with the matter and also how can they ensure they do not make such a mistake again.
I Swore At My Child – What To Do?
If you swore at your child here is what you can do to handle the situation in a better manner:
- Breathe & Relax
- Calm Your Child Down
- Apologize For What You Said
- Be Open About Your Wrong Doing – No Excuses
- Have An Open Discussion With Your Child
- Rewards & Benefits
Before we look at how to handle a situation where a parent has sworn at their child, let us take a closer look at what happens when we swear at our children!
Swearing – What Is It?
Swearing is described as an emotional tool where taboo terms are used to insult, abuse, signal displeasure, intensify what has already been said or to simply let off steam. Generally, it is not something considered acceptable but nonetheless has become a daily part of our lives. Whether at school, home or even the grocery store, you will undoubtedly hear someone use a swear word.
Although much research has been done on whether swearing actually helps us regulate our emotional side, it is no doubt considered immoral or ethically wrong and this is the reason why such behaviour is not tolerated in the professional setting such as at a conference, during a class or a meeting at work. Even when it comes to the family sphere, this is an act that is looked down upon unless the family simply does not ‘care’.
Swearing, according to people like psychologist Timothy Jay, serves two purposes; it allows you to vent and express yourself and of course communicate immediately what you feel and think regarding a person, situation or event. Although people may argue that swearing is an activity that brings us some sort of relief and aids communication, it can still be said that the main aim – at least why it began – was to put down a certain type of people or express what you want to do to someone. Hence, according to our practices today, we ‘allow’ verbal abuse at or in front of others but not ‘physical’ abuse and this leads to a question of who decides what is and what is not acceptable. This is an entirely different debate.
Regardless of whether or not swearing can help us as a society in the long term and whether it truly allows us to express ourselves in acceptable ways, it is something we prefer not to teach our children or do in front of them. This article will focus on how to handle situations where we have sworn in front of our child and what we can do to fix the situation.
Why Do We Swear?
There are a number of reasons why we swear such as:
- Emotional Instability
- Anger Issues
- The Absurdness of The Situation, Person or Event
Sometimes our emotions get the best of us and we are unable to regulate them effectively! Hence, we experience a heightened state of emotional arousal which can be very dangerous if it is for the wrong reasons! Many studies have shown that a heightened state of emotional arousal leads to an increased generation of swear words.
So, at least for negative emotions, we need to be careful and ensure things do not get out of control. Swearing is the least of our problems when we look at instances where people lose their temper and go all out; this can especially be seen in road rage incidents, brawls where people get hurt and of course situations where you get so angry or upset that you end up taking a wrong decision. However, everything starts with something and if we do not regulate our emotions in a healthy manner we will see increased incidents that may as well start with swearing.
Yes anger issues actually exist. It is not the same as the natural anger one faces. Anger is an important human emotion that is necessary for society to function as a whole. Anger expresses your displeasure or disappointment in someone or something signalling for immediate improvement or changes. Anger is also a sign that you disapprove of something and it should be stopped. If people could not be angry then things would continue in ways that are unsatisfactory for them.
However, anger can become a dangerous emotion if it is frequent, uncontrolled or excessive. It can be inward which means towards oneself or outward, that is it is directed towards others. In your husband’s case, it could be outward and hence he resorts to verbal or physical expressions of it hence you see his anger outbursts. This is not healthy behavior and can have detrimental effects on the person who experiences these anger issues and others around him.
There are a number of signs or symptoms of anger issues such as:
- Are hurting others either verbally or physically
- Always find yourself feeling angry
- Feel that your anger is out of control
- Frequently regret something you’ve said or done when angry
- Notice that small or petty things make you angry
Anger issues can arise from a number of reasons but one reason goes back to a person’s childhood. It is possible they faced much abuse – physical, verbal or emotional – from their parents or those around them because of which their personality was affected in a bad way.
Hence, anger issues are one of the reasons why we may swear as we express this certain emotion in whatever way we can!
The Absurdness of The Situation, Person or Event
Sometimes the situation we find ourselves in is so absurd that we cannot help ourselves! Also, we may end up dealing with a person who has the audacity to eat at our nerves and still make an issue. Or, we could find out at the end of a certain event that what we had intended for so long was never going to happen! Whatever the cause is, we often resort to swearing to express our displeasure or communicate how we feel. It could also be used to threaten the other person to ensure things get back on track!
This is another good reason why we swear. We have simply developed a habit and cannot complete our sentences without it! Verbal abuses, profanity and insults become a regular part of speech and how we express or interact with each other – it is slowly becoming the accepted way of communication. Thus, not only do we practice it but also promote it and have become used to it!
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I Swore At My Child – What To Do?
We will explain how you can handle a situation where you have sworn at your child in this section!
Breathe & Relax
The first thing you need to do is relax and breathe. Before you can make any amendments you need to make sure your emotions are under check and you are calm just in case you do not become in a heightened state of arousal again and make the same mistake!
It is important to calm yourself down and this can be done with the help of breathing exercises or taking a 5 minute time out. Whatever you do, either sit down, drink some water or take deep breaths, you need to do it before you talk to your child.
Calm Your Child Down
Now that you are calm, you must calm your child down as they must be upset due to the exchange of words too! They may be angry or upset or even crying. Whatever the situation is, try and get their attention and help them relax. You can hold them or hug them if they allow you too or wait outside their room. You can tell them to take some time if they need it but that you will talk to them soon no matter what. Communicate your intentions so they know you won’t leave them hanging. No matter how angry or upset your child is, they want to know you will be there for them when they come around.
Apologize For What You Said
Now that you have your child’s attention and they are somewhat calm and relaxed, you need to apologize regardless of who’s fault it was because swearing is never justified – at least in front of a child.
By doing this, you will set a great example for your child who will realize that you set aside your ego to recognize their emotions. This is what great parenting is.
Be Open About Your Wrong Doing – No Excuses
You need to admit and not just apologize for what you did. This is going to take a heavy toll on your ego especially because it involves not only your child but someone who is younger than you and you have authority over them! By being open, you will earn their trust and respect and also get to the root cause.
Have An Open Discussion With Your Child
Although tough, once you start it becomes easier. Talk about what you guys fought and how swearing was the wrong way to go about things. There are tons of examples where relations can thrive and be possible without the presence of swearing.
Rewards & Benefits
If your child is young and they are still in their early years, help your child learn to control their anger by rewarding them when they express it in the right way. Also, if they do resort to expressing anger or other emotions in a wrong way you need to teach them a lesson. They must understand that wrong actions do not go without consequences!
This article explained to the readers why we swear as people and how can we handle situations where we have sworn at our child in a mature and respectful manner.