As the worlds greatest coach, consultant and therapist, I am often coming up with brilliant, remarkable and ground breaking strategies to help create change and positive self improvement. One brilliant strategy I recently came up with was to introduce a swear jar into the home to regulate and hopefully reduce the amount of profanities slipping from the lips of the adults of the house (mainly the wifes..). It is very clear that as brilliant as I am, this has quickly turned into one of my shit (that’s a pound) and more expensive ideas. Or has it?
It is proving to be an insightful process and I am realising a number of things along the way, such as:
- One hundred and thirty pounds in denominations of one and two pound coins doesn’t look much.
- I swear fractionally more than my wife.
- I swear more when I am pissed off (not only is that obvious, it cost me a quid telling you).
- I clearly use a fresh note every time I buy a round of drinks at the pub basis the amount of change I have collected in my pocket emptying jar (now bankrolling the swear jar)
- I tell blatant lies about who swears more out of me and the missus
- I sometimes don’t even realise I have sworn/am swearing
- My kids do
- In fact my kids hear everything
- My too smart for her own good, not even seven yet daughter has observed:
- I swear a lot
- Daddy and mummy swear a lot more when they argue
- As wonderfully random and inconsistent as my swearing is, it increases when I am irritated
- Their designated charities are the real winners in all of this
- Time will tell but this might be a good way to train your kids to never swear
- Time will tell but I may have expanded my kids vocabulary in a very bad way….
The swear jar has become a focal point in the family over the last few weeks and it has been insightful, something for us to laugh about together and proving to be bloody expensive (we are currently in negotiations to drop the threat level of ‘crap and ‘bloody’ to 50p). But on a serious note it has given me a lot of food for thought too regarding what our kids hear and take in, how we, adults and children alike, process information from our immediate relationships and environment and the direct and indirect conditioning that occurs as a result.
Am I less vigilant with my use of swear words and less motivated to reduce them because not only is it a source of entertainment for the kids, but also because the ultimate beneficiary will be charities? Am I training my children to listen in a different way, a more robust way, or am I ultimately given them a blueprint to swear as much as their dad (and mum when dads pissed(£1) her off)?
To answer these questions with my hypnotist head on I would say yes, my motivation isn’t there and I am not compelled enough to work on it as the truth is that it is becoming a running joke and I am often quite happy to throw the parenting rulebook out of the window for the sake of a cheap laugh from my three kids. That said a tweak in a few of the variables and I know the motivation could be increased significantly and contrary to what absolutely everyone else thinks, I would be able to swear less as a result.
As to whether I am having a positive or negative impact on the kids, I don’t think the kids are going to be affected negatively as a result of the Ebdon swear jar. In many ways (and I am not justifying myself) I think it forces them to dissociate from it so they can regulate the moments something naughty slips from my lips and this being the case, should be a good thing to prevent them from accepting it as part of their own vocabulary and it is proving so far, so good in that respect. The downside is, by listening to what I am saying at arms length are the kids missing out on little gems of learning and affection in between the curse words?
Ultimately it has made me question the way in which we communicate with our children and how kids process the conversations going on around them. Kids hear everything despite often, giving you the impression that they are not listening. They also pick up on family dynamics, when those dynamics are tested and the language that becomes associated with those instances. I know all of this, but it sometimes is helpful to be reminded.
Take a few moments every day and listen to what your children hear and ask yourself can you do better, can you set a better example.
I know I can.
Does your child have an issue you think hypnotherapy can help with? The best therapists working with kids understand that fun and humour and testing boundaries are great ways to bring about change in youngsters and this is the approach we love to use. Often not always orthodox, but nearly always effective. If you think we can help or are seeking more information, please email email@example.com