17 answers

12 Year Old Daughter Swearing

It has come to my attention my 12 year old puberty driven daughter has taken up swearing. I have recently heard her using the "F" word and almost fell over in shock. I was wondering if there are any suggestions that will help get the point across that swearing makes you look stupid and is disrespectful.

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What happened is... I at least feel that my daugher in not on a phycho path and is very normal. I have received good tips to help her listen to the little voice in her head that says "STOP" I will continue to assure her that she is not very pretty when she swears and it is not the most important thing to be "COOL" I am sure if I say it enough one day she will actually listen.

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Hi M. -

A good friend of mine told me the trick her mother used when she and her brother started swearing: her mom charged them steeply whenever a bad word came out of their mouth and they quickly stopped. I think it was $15. To a teenager who probably has some sort of allowance, it is going to come as quite a shock not to have any money at all (or be in debt!) as the result of spewing a few measly words.

Good luck

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Hi M.,

My 11 year old daughter is in the same boat. I try to help her understand the not-pretty, not-educated slants, but I also know that peer pressure and anger play a part, so I try to help her understand that there is a time and place for most everything, including swearing, and that she is responsible for choosing her language in spite of her anger/peers. I also tell her she can swear under her breath to minimize the "rebel against mom" slant as well.

Good luck!


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I always opt for honesty... have you told her that? Is she around a lot of people that swear? I know that for a while it was really cool when I was a teenager to swear,,, then I totally grew out of it.

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Ha...but mom all the kids are doing it!!!!

Chances are she hears it at school and thinks it's okay and might even think it is the "popular" thing to do. I don't know your daughter and I don't know how well she listens at that age. But I would talk to her and tell her that it makes you sad when she uses that type of language. Ask her why she talks like that - does she think it makes her look older? Just talk to her without getting upset because then it's almost a positive that she will rebel against you.

Sorry, I'm not much help. I know I was there when I was younger and I just did it because everyone else did. GL :)

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unfortunately...at this annoying puberty age...if YOU tell her that she looks stupid and disrespectful, it will go in one ear and out the other...Maybe if she has a cousin or friend that she looks up to, that is around her age...You could ask them to hang out with her for a little bit, she could slip up and say the word to look cool, and THEY could tell her...I swear, peers opinions are more important than ours at her age.

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If your child is in school she is getting the message that it is acceptable probably. I've asked children to find a "successful leader" in our country who uses the word constantly. In the presidential speeches, board meetings, leaders in churches, highly successful businessmen, etc. When they didn't find it being used by successful people I'd point out it was needed by uneducated, unsuccessful individuals with limited speech. It worked great until a couple of years ago, when a child picked a teacher, and the young high school teacher, thought she was reaching out to the kids by using inappropriate language. That situation handled, it is still a way for a child to make the decision based on evidence, that successful individuals don't ususally swear constantly. Just a thought. Good luck.

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Hi M. -

A good friend of mine told me the trick her mother used when she and her brother started swearing: her mom charged them steeply whenever a bad word came out of their mouth and they quickly stopped. I think it was $15. To a teenager who probably has some sort of allowance, it is going to come as quite a shock not to have any money at all (or be in debt!) as the result of spewing a few measly words.

Good luck

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter had trouble with it too. She confessed to me that she did it around school. I think it's because she hears it all day long there.

When kids hit puberty, they begin to note adult behavior, such as swearing and think that by modeling it, they are also being an adult...which in my opinion is not adult behavior. I share your same philosophy.

I've prayed for my daughter and have asked others to pray for her as well. It's helped quite a bit. I'll pray for your daughter as well. That God guard her ears and that He helps her to understand that it is disrespectful and it dishonors you and that she makes every effort to express her anger and frustrations with appropriate words.

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I agree with many of the others that it's part of the age she is going through. They want to be adult, but they aren't there yet. It's time to talk about the consequences of her actions and how it looks as the adult she wants to be. I show my kids that companies are looking at Facebook and My Space accounts of potential employees that put "teenage" or "college" pictures on there and lost their potential job because of it. They also need to know that drinking, drugs etc. influence where they will end up in life. I have middle school kids and there is sexual activity starting and they need to know the implications from STD's to pregnancy from this behavior. Swearing is a place to start showing her how she can impact her bright future. I would only model positive behavior. Swearing yourself is not the way I would go. I simply find a teachable moment when I hear teenagers swearing and ask the 11-13 year old to tell me the impression they have of those kids. It isn't usually very favorable. "Do you want to be like them????"

Hi M.
I remember going thru this phase and I hope for her sake it is just a phase. I did it because I thought it would make me accepted around my peers,"cool". It made me feel like I was tough and couldn't be pushed around. Remember this is a very impressionable age. Who is impressing her the most?Ask her why is she so compelled to swear. You might be surprised at her answer. Ask her what type of person does she want to be known as. Whether we like it or not we are judged by what we say. She may want an alternative and something she can say instead of swearing. It is a very hard thing to stand up against what everyone else is doing around you. Also it hard not to pick up swearing if you are around it alot and it seems like no big deal. Let her know that when we take a stand people respect us. Don't forget bottom line, I don't care how "Cool" we may want to look to our friends, we want to make our parents proud the most. We often try to hide it at her age. Hope she listens and you both become closer. She's fortunate to have a caring mom.Thanks for letting me share my 2 bits

Hello M.,

I have an 8 year old in 3rd grade and he began talking about the kids using profanity in 2nd grade. We are a spiritual family so I try to reason with him based on the bible. I let him know how we would feel as his parents if he did soemthing like this but especially how it would make God feel.

I have an article that discusses childhood swearing, if you would like me to mail this to you feel free to contact me.

M., This might sound crazy, but, show her how she sounds, use one long terrible sentence, shock her and then ask her after how it sounded, then change the words to make it funny, ie.. fargin ice hole, chit, make up words that are close. She wants to impress her friends, it is typical. Then talk to her. look up the words and explain what they mean. See how she would feel if YOU talked like that, or her teachers, ask her if she would be impressed? See what happens. At 12 it is all about being accepted by her friends, give her the knowledge and a way to be accepted. This worked with 5 teens, and many more I have suggested it to, MY mom did it with us! To hear her swear was a shock, and my kids, (now grown) used fargin..... gave their friends a laugh and they used it for a while. Good Luck hon. K.

I think its normal, but you probably don't want to hear that! I am a big advocate of 'choosing your battles' and in our house we have set the rules and demand they be followed. No swearing around the smaller kids, or in our house...but as far as what he says at school, Im not really interested in micro-managing that! (Besides the fact that it's impossible) You can express your disappointment and remind her that it does make her look bad, but chances are it won't do much good. I like the idea of making an unpleasant chore the consequence of swearing at home!



I don't know how close to your daughter you are but something that may work is to take a weekend away with just your 12 year old daughter. The reason I say away is so that you are not distracted by your other daughter, husband, laundry, dinner etc.. and you can totally focus on your daughter, just you and her for 2 days. I would suggest planning some stuff that she would really enjoy doing, maybe a little shopping trip and stay in an inexpensive motel.

I think and know from experience being on the daughters sided that when you are alone with parent and have a lot of one on one time such as a weekend where you know they are all about you and will actually listen to everything you say since there are not distractions the child opens up ALOT.

I took a couple long trips with my dad when I was younger and they are some of my very best memories. I am so thankful that my dad took the time to cultivate a relationship with me to the extent that he did.

So while you are out you can wait until the second day and just flatly ask her why she likes to swear, does it make her feel cool around her friends, grown up, a little naughty and rebellious? I think that if she knows you are a safe person to talk to and you will really listen she will respond to you and answer your questions and then you two can talk open and honestly about different topics.

Just a side note here my brothers when they were younger thought it was super cool to swear and they would do in partly in rebellion of my slightly uptight parents, because they were boys (my husband said he went through this stage as well) and because they were just exploring new ways of communicating and their boundaries. Eventually they stopped using such strong language, the Lord convicted their hearts and they "grew up" a little and stopped. Not everyone does as you know though and I know that is what you want to avoid.

I think that listening and hearing what she has to say before any discipline takes place will be more effective and if she opens up you two can talk about what discipline you both this is appropriate for that kind of behavior.

So that is my idea, I hope you seriously think about it even though it will cost some money, think of the deposit you will have made in her life, for the rest of her life.


Hi M.:

My kids are 16 and 13, and I can tell you that your daughter is most positively picking up the swearing from kids at school. Swearing is even more prevalent today among teens and tweens than it was when we were in school. And I absolutely agree with the moms who are saying that kids are doing it to feel "cool" and "popular."

My 16-year-old noticed the trend in middle school, and on her own decided not to swear. She's actually gotten grief from her friends for it--they tease her about it. But over time she's also noticed that they tend not to swear as much when they are around her.

She's even told her friends that it shows a lack of creativity to use swear words when there are so many other words that could be used.

I told both of my kids (when they were about your daughter's age) that they will hear more and more swearing in school, the older they get. I point out that their father and I don't use that type of language and that we hope they will choose not to simply go along with the crowd and try to act "cool" by using that type of language, because it's really not cool, it's classless. And our kids also know that we absolutely will not tolerate that type of language in our home.

Best of luck to you!

A friend of mine once said that swearing shows education level. Maybe point that out to her, and does she want to appear uneducated?

If that doesn't work why not tell her to try substituting another word? So instead of "F*%@" how about something like Frell or Frick.

I can also tell you she is hearing it or heard it used that frequently to be using it herself. I know, I use to very rarely swear, and with one of my jobs....well it became a very bad habit that is taking a long time to break...but the trick is when you do it, replace the word immediatly to remind yourself.

Good luck

I tend to disagree a little with the other responses. At 12, she is testing the waters to see how far she can go with you. How far do you want her to go? If you want to nip it in the bud, when she says it, pick your jaw up off the floor, and tell her that we don't use language like that in our family, and then lay down an appropiate punishment. For us, when my just turned 13 year old dropped the f word, she lost her cell phone for over a week. That was a month ago, and I haven't heard any swear words since. She is my oldest of 3, I don't need that example for the younger ones. Good Luck, I have a felling for both of us, this is just the tip of the iceberg!

Hi we gave our 10 year old and 12 year old permission to swear and you know what they haven't. So I would just let them go and act like it does not bother you and just maybe when she sees that you are not making a big deal out of it she will not do it. Normally kids do what their parents tell them not to espiecially at this age so instead of telling her not to do it, just go with it.

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