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When strangers get loud & foul-mouthed around your kids..

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What I usually do, if it's my younger children with me, is walk by while covering a kiddo's ears and say, "Oh ouch, LA LA LA LA LA...small children coming through!" in a lighthearted way that shows the teens (or adults) that I care what's being said but that I'm not going to *confront*. It's just a reminder that they need to pay attention to others. If they do, great. If not, the kids get a lesson in lack of creativity and appropriateness in speech. :D I've had lots of sheepish apologies with this method. lol

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In most cases, I've found that a simple "Hey, guys, can you watch the language a bit since my kids are here" works. It has worked most of the times I've tried.


I'm sad that groups of teenage boys represent a threat. I'm not arguing against it; I just think it's sad and complicated.



Same here. Asking them nicely has always worked for me. It does bother me that more teens don't know on their own. I remember being that age and we did curse, but not in front of adults. I also enjoy most teenagers, but they can have pack behavior at times and I can't fault anyone for being frustrated and fearful.

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At our library, anyone talking and laughing loudly would be reprimanded and asked to leave by a librarian. I can only imagine that would happen much much faster if swearing was involved. They have all sorts of rules about volume, behavior, etc.


:grouphug: to the OP.

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Honestly, I have gotten respectful and willing compliance from a range of teens using a "Hey, guys, would you mind toning it down a bit while my kids are here" approach than I would have had I assumed disrespect or approached them like they have made a mistake. Teens called out by strange adults don't typically react well, and with the group strength (humans are more inclined to be bold in a group in ways they are not alone), they are likely to react strongly.


So, it becomes a matter of do you want to be right or do you want your library, park, ice cream store experience to be free from excessive bad language.


I've found that if you ask in a way that lets them save face, they'll listen to you.


:iagree:I've lived in inner city Baltimore for more than eight years. Unless I had the feeling that they were drunk or high, I'd try to approach them in a way that put us both on the same side. I would smile and use a quiet, confidential tone.


"Hey, do you guys mind? I don't want my kids picking up any new vocabulary words."


"Hey, so, you guys may not know this if you don't have little brothers and sisters, but kids this age pick up absolutely everything they hear. Could you move away from us if you're going to use words he shouldn't say to Grandma?"


I would absolutely not scold them, insult them, or give the impression that I thought they had to obey me because I was an adult, because I would expect all of those approaches to backfire.

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