Family Life




How to Keep Your Child From Name-Calling Others

Stop Name Calling in its Tracks

How to Keep Your Child From Name-Calling Others

Name calling is a serious offense, whether your child is a toddler or a teenager. It is important that as a parent, you step in to name calling situations and teach your children that this is not acceptable behavior. Instead it is a behavior that strikes the most vulnerable parts of a psyche that is still developing and can do irreparable harm to its victims.

The Reasons For Name Calling

Children call each other names for a variety of reasons. As a parent, it is your job to teach your children alternate methods of communication and to model respectful behavior. It is also your job to determine the cause and the type of name calling that is going on and to know when to step in. Your children should know that it is never acceptable to name call, but there are some times when they don't need you to step in and shut it down.

When your children use name calling in order to get attention from you, for example, you should make an effort not to be affected and not to get involved. You cannot let your child manipulate you. If your children are using name calling to irritate each other over nothing, then you may also want to stay out of it. This kind of fight is a normal part of how children learn to interact with others.

Siblings make very safe targets for that kind of exploration. The most important one to stop is the kind of name calling that results from an emotionally damaging quarrel. This is the name calling behavior that will erode target children's happiness and self esteem. It is the name calling that they end up believing.

How to Stop Name Calling in Your Home

When your children begin name calling, it is time to stop and take a good hard look at communication in your family. The first thing that you need to do to stop name calling is to model appropriate communication for your kids. This means that you need to monitor your communication patterns with your spouse and your children particularly.

You cannot use names or even negative labels when you communicate, or else you will hurt your children and teach them to do the same. Instead, practice converting negatives to positives. If you want to tell your child to stop acting mean with their sibling, then tell them to treat their siblings kindly. If you are arguing with your spouse, hold back from calling them names; instead ask them to listen to what you have to say before making a decision. When your child begins name calling, step in and remind them that your family doesn't do that. Then model the appropriate communication methods for them.

Once you are certain that your child has had a chance to absorb this lesson, make sure that you reinforce the message and keep it consistent. If a child breaks the name calling rules, then remind them of the rules before carrying out a predetermined punishment. This strategy will allow you and your family to develop healthy alternatives to name calling.

When to Punish a Child For Name Calling

There are certain instances when it makes sense to punish a child for name calling, especially if it is occurring outside of your home. You do not want your child to become a bully at school or elsewhere. The sooner you deal with this issue, the better off your child can be.

Begin with a firm warning. Do not use overly harsh language, since that is contradictory to the message you are trying to give your child. Hypocrisy is not a good way to teach a lesson to a child! Even younger children can pick up on it, so it's important to practice what you preach.

If your warning isn't sufficient to stop the behavior, it's time to issue a punishment of some kind. Make sure your punishment is proportionate to the misdeed. If you're overly harsh with your child, you'll only cause them to become sneaky and dishonest with you in an effort to avoid extreme punishments. You'll also damage your child's perception of you, which could lead to problems between the two of you once they're an adult.

Generally, taking away a privilege for a set period of time is best. Start small, and then build up the severity of the punishment if the behavior persists. To start, for example, you could take away video games for a couple of weeks. Or, you could tell them that they won't be going to a friend's party that they were planning to attend.

Make sure you couple the punishment with a reminder why their behavior is unacceptable. Remind them that name-calling can be very damaging to someone's self-esteem. Ask them how they would feel if someone called them nasty names. Explain to them that name-calling the wrong person could have severe consequences; depending on the person, it could even start a physical altercation.

To top