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My son is ten years old and in fourth grade. He has been caught at school using foul language. He used a four letter word during lunch period and a custodian saw him (he didn't actually hear him but recognized the word as my son mouthed it - several times). My son was apparently reacting to something the Principal was saying (they were short on a certain type of lunch item). This is the second time my son has used the "F" word in school. He knows better because he was terrified that the Prinicpal would call me (which she did). My husband and I are not saints. We do try to watch our mouths but I would be lying if I said that I've never used bad language in front of my children (it's definitely slipped out a few times). My first dilemma is the cursing. He doesn't do it at home...he knows he'll get in trouble. He has said it at school before and was disciplined (Principal's Office and no reccess for a week). My second dilemma is that he didn't come clean w/the custodian and the principal and denied he ever said it - he lied. My son knows he'll only make things worse for himself if he lies so we're hoping he admits it when we talk to him tonight. Our first inclination is to ground him or punish him (should I try the soap??).


Annie Fox, M. Ed. Replied: NO you shouldn't "try the soap". I believe that would be child abuse! Your son picked up his cursing from you. If you and your husband are serious about teaching him not to curse (even when frustrated that there's not enough pizza to go around) then the boys' parents need to get on the same page about how much you value the concept of "polite" language. That would require the two of you to make a commitment not to curse in front of the child and stick too it. The next thing would be for you to sit your son down and admit that you have not been setting a good example in this regard. Tell him that you take responsibility for his learning amd for the mistake he made that it's okay to express himself with the "F" word. Tell him that it's NOT okay and that you will lead by example starting right now in your own home. As for the lying, it's not unusual for a 10 year old to lie when he's been caught doing something that's going to get him in trouble. Is it admirable? Absolutely not. So you need to let him know that you want to be able to trust him at his word... always. In the same way that you want him to be able to always trust you at your word. If lying is not acceptable in your family and you're clear that he is aware of that expectation, then give him an appropriate consequence by restricting him for a day from doing something that he enjoys doing (watching TV, using the computer, etc.) If, somehow, he has gotten the impression from you and your husband that it's okay to "cover your tracks" with a denial, then you need to set him straight and renew your comittment as parents to lead by example. I hope this helps. In friendship, Annie Fox
Posted On 2007-02-22 03:46:58
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