How to Deal With a Teen Who Is Angry & Using Bad Language

Many families implement a household rule that states children and teens must use appropriate language. This could mean refraining from using words such as “shut up,” calling one another names or using profanity. If you’ve noticed that your teen uses bad language when he’s angry, it can be a frustrating time. It’s easier to deal with your angry teen’s bad language if you have rules in place regarding profanity, though it’s not too late to make appropriate language a requirement in your house.

Talk to your teen about her use of inappropriate language in moments of anger but don’t do it only when you are disciplining her, advises the Children’s Trust Fund of Massachusetts. Instead, wait until you’ve both calmed down after her angry outburst to talk to her about her bad language in a calm manner. Tell her that you understand her frustration and that you understand sometimes you just feel the need to use a stronger word to make a point, but that it’s not appropriate under any circumstance. Keeping the lines of communication open can help your teen feel that she has your support and you are on her side.

Impose consequences when your teen uses bad language out of anger, advises the Children’s Trust Fund. Try taking privileges away from him such as using his phone, playing on the Internet or going out with his friends for the weekend. You could try grounding him for the night or weekend if he does not watch his mouth. Additionally, if his bad language is directed at someone else, make him pay restitution in the form of an apology letter to the person he offended.

Place a jar or piggy bank and leave it in the kitchen or living room. Every time someone in your house uses a bad word, that person must put a dollar into the jar. You could also use the same idea in a different context by creating a jar that has the name of something your teen really wants, like an upgraded phone or new shoes, and put a dollar in it every day she doesn’t swear. Deal with inappropriate language as a family, advises Brigham Young University’s David O. McKay School of Education, which shows your teen positive reinforcement rather than negative 1. Sometimes positive reinforcement is a more effective way of handling a negative situation such as swearing.