How to Effectively Deal with Children who Insult Others

Some children engage in inappropriate behaviors, such as swearing, name calling, or derogatory speech. Can you effectively correct children who insult others? What are the causes of this behavior?
How to Effectively Deal with Children who Insult Others

Last update: 24 August, 2020

Sometimes, as a parent, you might find a situation where your children insult other people, swear, or speak in a derogatory way. These inappropriate behaviors don’t have one cause. In many cases, it’s due to a combination of causes that result in this behavior. Do you want to know how to effectively deal with children who insult others?

It’s clear that you should always take into account the age of the child when correcting this behavior. Of course, it’s not the same for a 2-year-old to insult someone as it is for an 11-year-old.

What is the cause of these behaviors? How can you effectively deal with children who insult others? We’ll try to answer these questions below.

Why children insult others

There can be several causes of this kind of inappropriate behavior. This means that it doesn’t always come from one cause. In fact, there can be multiple causes that occur in parallel. The following are the most common.

Hereditary factors, character, temperament, or personality

Depending on the child’s personality or temperament, they might be more prone to this type of inappropriate behavior.

Psychological problems, such as depression or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Some psychological problems may involve certain behavioral problems during infancy or childhood. As a result, it’s important that you find out whether or not your child has a problem like this in order to take appropriate measures.

Self-esteem, attention, or socialization problems

Problems of this type can lead children to insult other people and say derogatory or offensive words. On many occasions, these insults are a way of expressing anger that children feel because of other circumstances in their lives that are out of their control.

Parents’ discipline style, especially if they’re permissive

If parents aren’t able to enforce the rules or limits that children need or give them whatever they want to avoid conflicts, children ultimately become tyrants, and parents are completely undermined.

How can we effectively deal with children who insult others?

If you, as parents, show that you’re not going to discipline or correct your child, you’re telling them that they’re the center of everything and that adults are there to do whatever they want. Then, if you reject their request, they end up insulting you and saying derogatory things.

Proceed reasonably and persistently

Children need to effectively internalize what you want to convey to them. If you’re not firm, ultimately your child will end up confused and continue the same behavior.

To effectively deal with children who insult others, teach them to manage their frustration

It’s important that from a young age, your child learns to manage their frustration. When they’re older, things won’t always turn out the way they want and they need to know how to handle these situations effectively. It’s essential to teach them that you don’t always get everything you want.

Teach them to express their anger without harming or hurting others

Sometimes a child’s feeling of anger is so intense that they let it out by insulting someone or saying derogatory things to others. Therefore, it’s important that you teach them alternatives for releasing anger so they’re able to focus on more constructive goals.

An angry child making a face.

Be precise and uncompromising when enforcing rules

This doesn’t mean that you need to rely on punishments when enforcing rules. Instead, you need to set an example with understanding and lots of motivation. However, you also need to make rules and consequences clear from the beginning and be firm when you’re enforcing them.

Be their role model to deal with children who insult others

You’re the most important role model for your child. From a young age, they learn by imitation. If parents get angry and insult or threaten other people, they don’t have the moral authority to correct those same behaviors in their children.

Moderate your reactions

Continuing with the previous point, you should also bear in mind that the more you get angry with your child when they insult other people, the more power you’re giving them. Children learn quickly from our reactions and how their insults affect us.

When you scold your child, you need to be firm without being cruel. We need to explain without shouting. Sometimes it’s even best to ignore certain behaviors rather than giving your child a punishment.

Effectively dealing with children who insult others is important for good discipline

There are some aspects that you can consider when dealing with children who insult others. However, if you don’t see a positive change in your children after using these tips, the problem might be the product of a psychological problem.

Therefore, you should contact a professional who can advise you and provide you with effective guidelines for your child’s specific case.


This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.