Why is it that a 2 year old can say the ‘F’ word in context?  This is a question I ask in all my training sessions. Usually if you hear the word from a really young person then look straight at the parent they will say, “I don’t know where they got that from.”  I feel like answering, ‘I do!’ 

There was a recent article in the Sunday Times called, ‘Cursing Kids: Are Parents to Blame?’  It talked about an ongoing US study which is pointing the finger of blame directly at Mums and Dads, and other significant adults in young people’s lives.  In an article for the Association for Psychological Science, psychology professor Timothy Jay writes that, these days, by the time children go to school they have a working vocabulary of 30 to 40 offensive words.  Rather interesting, and completely inappropriate, that a six year old might know ten terms for the sexual act. 

This concerns me greatly because when I ask children to name me some feelings they can usually only come up with happy, sad, angry and scared.  With a little more probing I may get up to 10 but nowhere near 30 to 40.  Why don’t children have a very big feelings vocabulary?  It’s because as adults we are not modeling feelings language.  If children hear feelings words in context then they will start to use these words instead of these private words.

When teaching children about Public and Private I talk to the children about swearing, but refer to swear words as Private words, and part of that teaching informs the children how they can distinguish what is private.  Most children would refer to them as rude words, but because I want to stop children thinking that their Private parts are rude or that there is something wrong with them, I have a little exercise for them to do.  I have them make a cup with their hand, then say ‘rude’ into their hand and catch the word by closing their cup.  Then I get them to throw it away. I ask them to try and remember to do that every time they think of saying rude instead of Private.  

We need to get children away from thinking that there are parts of their bodies that are rude and something to be ashamed of.  Better to teach them that there are parts of the bodies that are special and private and just for them.  That nobody should be touching their private parts without their permission, that they shouldn’t be touching anyone else’s private parts, and no one should be showing them private pictures.  If we remove the taboo from the conversation about body parts, and teach correct and appropriate language, children are going to be far more comfortable in their own bodies and more respectful of others.  Parents can only benefit from having a more extensive vocabulary with which to communicate with their children, particularly if they have had difficulty themselves with how to approach the subject of private and public.


Product of the Month: Sing Yourself Safe

With Child Protection Week starting on the 2th of September.

These brightly coloured green and purple wristbands are made of durable silicon. Stamped with the Theme ‘We all have the right to feel safe’ they are a visual reminder of our rights.  Sometimes in scary or uncertain situations something as simple as being able to look at a wristband and remember what it stands for can give children the confidence to apply their Protective Behaviours knowledge. 

Adults can wear a wristband to support their children, or to remind themselves that the first theme of Protective Behaviours applies to everyone.  They are also a great way to alert the whole community that the children are leaning Protective Behaviours.

Silicon Wristband "Adult" 13-01
Price AUD$2.00 (inc. GST)
Silicon Wristband "Child" 13-02
Price AUD$2.00 (inc. GST)


Feelings Cards
These versatile Feelings Cards includes 30 pairs of feelings with a definition for each and instructions for fun games to play with the cards.
Price AUD39.95 (inc. GST)


Feelings Bingo
Help increase and reinforce children's feelings vocabulary by playing Feelings Bingo, each set contains 32 different cards.
Price AUD39.95 (inc. GST)


Feelings Poster
This colourful poster will brighten up any classroom.
Price AUD8.95 (inc. GST)


For more tips and to keep up-to-date with other resources, you may like to follow me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Safe4Kids/118883254812505


Safe4Kids Training Programs

Holly-ann provides specialised training for teachers, childcare educators and parents to provide them with skills and practical ideas for teaching Protective Behaviours to children. You can begin to implement this program in your school, childcare centre or home with a basic training workshop - in two hours you can gain enough knowledge to immediately start teaching your children and begin modeling the language, concepts and strategies of Abuse Prevention Education.
Basic Training is a two hour professional development for teachers and childcare educators, presented by Holly-ann Martin as an introduction to her ten-week lesson plan.

Classroom Mentoring is also available for more detailed and practical training for teachers.

Parent Workshop is a two hour session packed with fantastic ideas for parents to begin practicing pro-active behaviour and language with their children at home.

Holly-ann is also available for customised in-house training and consulting by request.

If you would like more information about training, or would like to engage Holly-ann as a speaker at your event, please contact her directly at holly-ann@safe4kids.com.au