Parents don’t always know how to respond to or deal with an autistic child who curses. Despite being on the autism spectrum, your child needs to learn to follow rules. Simply establishing a no-swearing rule isn’t enough. He needs to know what to expect if he breaks it. Avoid using his autism as an excuse for his behavior. If you don’t take steps to stop his cursing now, it’s likely to continue as he grows older.
Watch your own language. Autistic kids and kids with Asperger's often mimic the words and phrases they hear the adults around them use. Model the behavior you want your child to take up. She can learn a lot by watching what you do.
Ignore your child’s swearing. Known as tactical ignoring, this behavioral strategy often works with children on the autism spectrum who scream and swear to get attention. Even though you are aware of the behavior, by not responding to it, your child may eventually stop once he realizes it no longer gets him attention.
Keep your own emotions under control. Give yourself a momentary time-out before dealing with the situation. Stop and take a deep breath. Overreacting when your child curses could actually make the behavior worse.
Make your child accountable for her actions so that she learns appropriate behavior. Like other unacceptable behavior, give your child consequences for using curse words and then follow through. Consistency is the basis for discipline, notes the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. If you aren’t consistent, your child receives mixed messages, which can be confusing.
Choose consequences that are fair and reasonable. For example, take away privileges on days when your child uses curse words. If he likes to spend time each day jumping on a trampoline, take the privilege away for that day if he uses bad language. Explain that he can spend time on the trampoline as long as he doesn’t swear. Make it clear that if he says just one curse word, he will lose the privilege.
Help your child develop self-control. If she curses under her breath and you hear her, let her know you heard what she said. Point out that using profanity is unacceptable behavior. Give her examples of other words she can use instead to express how she is feeling.
Read stories together and role-play various situations to teach your child how to behave in stressful situations. Kids with autism generally have difficulty controlling their emotions. Asperger's kids, in particular, often find other people’s behavior irritating and therefore may respond inappropriately.
Use positive reinforcement to encourage your child to demonstrate good behavior. Let him know you notice when he behaves appropriately. Reward him with lots of praise and a special privilege if he goes an entire day without using any profanity.
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