Best of the Web: How to respond when your child swears, and more

What to do when your child drops a swear word, why there's nothing to fear about Netflix's Sex Education, and the six things Dutch parents never do.

Our selection of thought-provoking and useful resources from around the web on educating and raising children, and supporting families.

What the *#@%?! How to respond when your child swears

(Wendy Goff, Anne Rhode, Bin Wu, The Conversation)

So, you’ve just heard your child drop a swear word for the first time and you’re not quite sure how to react. It’s important to handle this situation with care. The authors suggest that parents should take this opportunity to talk with their children about swearing rather than overreacting or ignoring the word.

Swearing is a natural part of language development that children will inevitably encounter – by the time children start school, they have about 42 taboo words. Just like other words, they are expressions of our feelings, thoughts and intentions.

The authors suggest that parents start by acknowledging their child’s use of a swear word. By saying something like, ‘Why did you choose that word? Is there a better word to use in that sentence?’ parents can show their child they are taking the matter seriously. This opens up the opportunity for a productive conversation.

The goal is to help children understand the social rules surrounding swearing and equip them with the ability to make appropriate choices. So, next time your child swears, don’t panic! Instead, use it as a chance to have a conversation and teach them about the complexities of language.

Read the full article

How has Netflix's Sex Education changed conversations on sex education?

(ABC NewsRadio)

Not sure how to have a sex education conversation with your young person? In this audio from an interview with ABC NewsRadio, Debra Dudek, an Associate Professor at Edith Cowan University, explains how Netflix’s Sex Education may help.

The show Sex Education is helping to bring more discussion around sex education into the family home. The show, now in its fourth and final season, has shown parents and their teens how to communicate openly about sex.

As researcher Debra describes, parents worry that their kids are watching the show – but she says there is no need to fear it. Once parents understand what the show is about, it can be quite positive.

Debra explains a discussion she had with a family. ‘The teenager said they’d been watching Sex Education and that it was a great show. The parallel interview with the parent, the language is very different. The parent said, “I caught my child watching Sex Education, and it was quite explicit.” So there was a fear about the child watching it too early, or too young… but the parent realised they were ok.’

‘It sounds like it’s the parents that are scared’, said host Chris Mitchell. Debra says that shows like Sex Education help parents and their teens have healthy, open communication around sexual health – which can only be a positive outcome. 

Listen to the interview

I’m a child psychologist in the Netherlands, home to the world’s happiest kids—6 things parents here never do

(Veronique van der Kleij, CNBC)

Dutch children are consistently ranked as the happiest in the world, and in this article, a Dutch child psychologist in the Netherlands reveals what makes Dutch parents stand out.

According to her, one of the key aspects is the level of independence Dutch kids are encouraged to have from a young age. She explains how parents prioritize their children’s autonomy, allowing them to explore and make their own choices. ‘Dutch parents don’t overprotect their children; they believe in preparing their kids to deal with life’s ups and downs. It fosters resilience and self-reliance.’

But it’s not just about independence – Dutch parents also prioritize quality family time. Dutch families frequently enjoy shared meals, engaging in conversations, and spending time together, creating strong bonds and happiness.

In addition, unlike helicopter parenting prevalent in some cultures, Dutch parents tend to be more relaxed. They believe that children should enjoy their childhood and playtime, but they still provide structure through clear daily schedules.

Dutch parents also strive to make their kids feel seen and heard. ‘When we ask for our children’s opinions and truly listen to them, they’ll be more likely to develop a sense of positive self-worth.’

Read the full article