How to Protect Your Child from a Peer’s Worldly Behavior

5 ways to stave off bad language from your children’s playmates

How to protect your child without ending their friendships

Although there are many, many reasons I’ve chosen to homeschool, one of the main causes is simply because I am trying to raise my children to speak and act in an honorable manner. Unfortunately, the atmosphere in a good portion of public schools is one in which bad behavior and foul language go unchecked. Crude language is seen as a sign of maturity, and those who do not speak that way are often teased.

I am not for one second trying to put forth the notion that my kids are perfect. I’m chuckling just at the thought of that. However, how my children present themselves to others is important enough to me to merit a high place on my “reasons to homeschool” roster. 

One of the biggest dilemmas I face is that of allowing my children to play with neighborhood kids. Unfortunately, most of them use language I prefer my children not to hear coming from their peers (or, in a perfect world, not at all). This puts me in a very difficult situation. Since we only have one car, I am not able to drive my children around to various places to meet up with other homeschoolers throughout the day, which leaves us with only one option: spending time with the neighbors. Since they are genuinely good kids, although a bit misguided, and since I can’t ban my children from ever having any friends, I’ve had to come up with a few ways to keep their friends’ playtime banter as wholesome as possible.

5 Ways to Stave Off Bad Language

#1- Set solid boundaries.

When my children meet a new playmate, if I hear them use a word we do not allow my children to say, I will nicely, but firmly, explain to them that we do not allow that sort of language. If they continue, I tell them they have to leave for the day but can come back another day if they are willing to follow our rules.

#2- Be firm, yet approachable.

This is really important since many of these kids are actually looking for this sort of guidance because they are lacking it at home. We used to have a neighbor boy who would come in our yard to play but would often have to be corrected for issues like hitting, breaking toys, and the words he chose. I always admonished him in a loving manner, yet he knew I meant business. This never stopped him from thinking well of me, though. Every time he saw me he used to run up to me just to say hi. Children are more apt to listen to adults who they respect and make them feel respected.

#3- Get to know them.

If you actually take the time to get to know these kids, it’s much easier to see where they’re coming from. What sort of a home life do they have? What are their strengths? Their difficulties? Having this information helps to know how to deal with certain behavioral problems that may arise.

#4- Be present during playtime.

I don’t mean to stand over them in a creepy sort of way, but be tuned in to what’s going on. I often open my kitchen window so that I can hear what’s happening while the kids play outside. Sometimes I’ll peek out the door and offer some popsicles or occasionally ask if anyone needs anything. Once you’ve established a rapport with these kids, and they know that you’re firm in your convictions, these little appearances will remind them that you’re around.

#5- Explain the reason behind your rules.

Sometimes children think that the only reason adults set boundaries is because they like to tell people what to do. Let them know why you feel the way you do. One of the best ways to explain to children the importance of using clean language is this:

“If you want to grow up to be respected, you have to be respectable and respectful.”


It’s unfortunate that I even had to write this post today. Children need loving guidance from the adults in their life, and no child should be left to try to figure things out on their own. Since this is a reality, however, I’ve had to come up with a plan to not only protect my children but help their friends, as well.

If you’re in a situation like I am, I hope these steps may help you determine how to handle it. It can be all too easy to write children like this off for the sake of our own, but if we are not willing to guide them, who will be?




Author: Shelly Sangrey

I'm Shelly, a Christ-following, homeschooling Mom of eleven children ( okay, not ALL children. My oldest is 23.) I met my husband right after graduation, and we've been together ever since. Though my life can be hectic at times... okay, ALL the time, I wouldn't change it for anything.

29 thoughts on “How to Protect Your Child from a Peer’s Worldly Behavior”

  1. It is sad that you even had to write this, but unfortunately, you really do. I’m already dealing with this with my little Gv (& she’s only 3!) We do a lot of, “Different families have different rules for their house, we don’t do that in ours” (because we’re always at a particular house for these get-togethers. I don’t think you can truly escape dealing with this problem, unless you put your child in a bubble!

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  2. I am amazed often in the workplace how adults have taken to using certain words as verbs. I am sorry but that is not a descriptive word! It often takes me a few minutes to remove the “language” from the sentence to figure out what they are saying. My fellow workmates used to think this was a game until I started walking away mid-sentence. Bad language is not a sign of being a grown up , in my opinion. I did take the time to teach my children what the bad words are and what they mean, I also explained how over time some words have changed their meaning and will continue to change. After all, I don’t want them using words that they think means one thing and in reality it means something else. I was amazed at returning to work to find phrases used in other ways. I was often laughed at behind my back about something I said that apparently has changed what it means now. (go figure) Great post!

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    1. I know. It drives me crazy. My son tld me about a study on FB (of course) that stated that people who use bad language are often more intelligent than those who don’t. I assured him that the person who conducted this “study” probably uses bad language himself and is looking for a way to excuse it.

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  3. This post really resonates with me. My two older boys in particular are still involved with public school friends. The things that my boys tell me about what these kids say & do frightens me. We have many conversations about what our family allows or does. I think it is important that we set limits for our kids so they can learn to do it themselves.

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  4. Great points! As a mom of a 21 yr old and now with a youngest who is 12 yrs old, I believe it’s gotten worse in the disrespectful ways children now interact with adults. Mainly, using youtube and watching TV – heck any media is to blame. However, I make it a point to give my kids the opportunity to play with kids in general. Homeschooled kids are no better in the way they act than traditionally schooled kids in the environments that I live in. Kids are just kids. However, being present when kids play is the #1 deterrent for mis-behavior. And we don’t do sleep overs because I can’t manage what is going on in someone’s home.

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  5. It’s definitely important to know our children’s friends and at least meet their parents. We’ve always had an open door policy with our kids’ friends so that more of their get-togethers would take place at our house. Also, we talk to our own kids about their manners and our family values and expect them to hold to our higher standards at all times. My kids have never been afraid to call us to pick them up if they were uncomfortable in any peer situation (for my oldest this included school dances in high school).

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    1. Last summer, I allowed my kids to go to a neighbor’s birthday party. Within 30 minutes, they had already come back home. Apparently, an elementary school-age girl there kept using the F-word over again, and none of the adults told her to stop. It made my kids very uncomfortable, so they came home. I have to say, I was very proud of them that day.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post with great advice. I have raised 7 kids and I am proud to say they don’t use foul language (adult kids or younger) and have a respect for others. It’s all we can do to add a pleasant presence to our small part of the world. Thanks for sharing at Funtastic Friday!

    Liked by 1 person

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