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Dear family members, please mind your language

My sister-in-law has two daughters and the elder one, Shubhi, is famous for her naughtiness. When I got married she was one and a half year old and my first observation found her very talkative and quick observer. After my wedding, I came back to Delhi where I work and my next interaction with this little girl happened on my first Diwali at my in-law’s place. When my sister-in-law came with-family to meet us (me and my husband), I found everyone (especially my Chachi Saas), was asking something to Shubhi and then a burst of laughter was happening. Perhaps I forget to mention, mine is a joint family and two of my father-in-law’s brothers also live with us under the same roof. When I tried to get into the reason why everyone was going mad with laughing, I came to know that Shubhi was abusing one of my brother-in-laws. It was a matter of amusement of all senior ladies of my joint family when a 2 years old was using bad words for someone.
Things were actually worst in Shubhi’s case because the more my sister-in-law and mother-in-law were accosting her, the more loudly she was saying those abusive words. Another awful behavior was shown my own joint family members who were abetting Shubhi for using dirty words. I really felt below par because senior most people from my family were encouraging her in repeating those words whereas they were supported to correct Shubhi. Toddlers normally imitate what they see and hear. They learn the same language which people around them are using. In Shubhi’s case, I sensed that someone in my sister-in-law’s family is saying these offensive words and this is happening in front of her that’s why she is catching them. I discussed this with my mother-in-law that we should correct Shubhi when she was speaking dirty. But as my stay was for a limited time there, I couldn’t intervene the matter much.
A few mother later, I asked my mother in law over the phone about Shubhi’s habit of saying dirty words. And her reply proved me correct. Shubhi had seen her grandfather abusing a labour working on renovating and white washing the house. She learned this abusive language from her grandfather only. It was sad! We often suspect that kids might have seen someone outsider who may have influenced their behaviour. But the fact is our family members, intentionally or unintentionally affect growing kids. And our kids learn to imitate language and behaviour that they have heard being home.
If your kid is also using abusive language/bad words here are some of the tips that can help you:
  1. First of all be careful about the language which you and your family members are using in front of your kid.
  2. Tell your kid from the very first time you notice him/her taking bad words that these words are “BAD” and unacceptable.
  3. Your anger can never solve this problem so be patient and face the situation.
  4. Don’t laugh when your kid is taking these words, you might be encouraging him/her unknowingly.
  5. Try not to react if your kid is rigid. Make a poker face, or leave the room, or make him/her sit lonely so that he/she can understand that he/she did something wrong.
  6. React with humor. On every abusive word, say a funny line or a joke. Your kid may get distracted and may stop going further.
  7. When both of you have calmed down, discuss what language is considered good and what is not.
  8. Stay positive and encourage positive behavior. Praise your kid for restricting the use of bad language if he/she shows any improvement. 

It is a fact that kids learn everything from their immediate environment. So be careful and be clear with other family members about this serious matter.
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