Since we adopted our three children in 2010 we have tried and tested different reward charts, in addition to our firm boundaries and structures that are in place. Behaviour has been our main concern from the start and is a key point in our parenting.
When one of our children moved from a mainstream school to a specialist school in 2013, we had an increase in his swearing at home. This wasn’t a surprise to us, as the 12 other children attending his school all have the same kind of challenging behaviour, from emotional and mental health difficulties to severe social skills.
The swearing became more frequent and was used to gain attention, and was fast becoming the norm. But what was most apparent when he triggered by his siblings or even asked to do simple tasks at home. The swearing also had an impact on my other children, as they picked up on words that were not acceptable in our house or anywhere else. We spent time after time explaining what is acceptable language and what is not, in addition we also talked about having respect for each other. Both my husband and I felt this was not working, as the level of swearing was continuing and I also felt my son liked the negative attention, even from our talks.
We therefor agreed to introduce the swear jar! We explained to the boys that every time they swore, we would put one pasta in their jar. Each pasta was worth one sweet from their Saturday sweetie bag. We no longer give them attention when swearing, but the jar was instead getting filled up with pastas. On the first Saturday I can remember that the number of pastas was more than the sweets in their bag, so the rest was rolled over to the week after.
After a couple of weeks the swearing was down to a minimum!