The Concerning Colorful Spectrum of Language

Jun 23, 2024

Though actions may speak louder than words, we best not underestimate how language modeling shapes the behavior of the children we are collectively raising.  I guess it’s a hazard of my profession, but I regularly see and hear the world through the eyes and ears of youth and wonder how exposure is impacting their development. 

With regard to word choice, it isn’t primarily foul language that grabs my attention so much as it is negative or inflammatory phrases often directed at others – shut up, stupid, sucks, pissed off, etc.  I believe these words initially make kids feel uncomfortable.  However, when they hear them continuously, in a variety of settings, not only do children become desensitized to the words and phrases, but they most likely go on to incorporate them into their own vocabulary, as well. 

Adults often ask me why kids are so disrespectful.  Respect comes in many forms – and I feel certain that if we want children to show verbal respect through positive word choice, we better model this through our own behaviors.  For the words and phrases we use today will most likely be the ones we hear from children tomorrow.

PS – I know this can be a generational issue and that language evolves and changes, but with regard to words that have derogatory and negative connotations, I’m thinking we really don’t need any more of these than we already have. 

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