Bad Language and Teens – Why Do They Use It?

Date: 08/11/2023

Title: Lascivious lingo? Raunchy rhetoric? Why does my kid feel compelled to use lewd language?

00:00:02 Speaker 1
Lascivious lingo junkie jargon raunchy rhetoric. That's right. We're talking about teenagers
and bad language here on Tips on Teens. My name is Kent Toussaint. I'm a licensed marriage and
family therapist, and I specialize in helping kids, teens, and families live happier lives.
This I lead two organizations teen Therapy Center and the nonprofit 501 organization Child
and Teen Counseling, both here in Woodland Hills, California. Every Wednesday at noon. At
noon, I jump into Facebook Live to answer your parenting questions. Let's jump into today's
question. I'm going through a really difficult time with my 13 year old son. He's really discovered
lewd language and crude humor. This is usually focused around his bodily functions or body
parts. Sometimes he says stuff in front of other adults and it's really embarrassing. I've
told him he sounds like a pervert and that he should know better, but it doesn't seem to be working.
Any advice? Yes. Thank you for your question. First, what I'd want

00:01:15 Speaker 1
to caution you is coming at him with being very judgmental and accusatory, like calling him
names like a pervert or saying that he should know better. As soon as any of us go at our kids like
that, even if what they're doing is wrong, they're going to get defensive and put a wall up, and
they're not going to listen to anything anyone says. They're just going to hold on to the defenses,
which may make them want to get into their bad language even more. The first thing is to take a
breath and be calm. It is embarrassing, I get it. But it doesn't have to be your embarrassment.
It can be his embarrassment. Now, he could be saying these things in front of grandma or at the
family reunion. Everyone's looking at you like, what kind of parent are you? And I understand
that, but he's already said it, so let's stay calm. What I would recommend doing is talking to
him about what's the meaning behind the words, right? Because we all have used bad language
here and there through our lives, some more

00:02:14 Speaker 1
than others, and we've all use it for a reason, because they carry weight, they carry power.
If you say a bad word and describe usually it's an adjective, right? It gives something emphasis
and power. And I'm wondering if your 13 year old son is feeling a lack of power in his life and that's
where he feels it. It's an easy grab for power because adults jump up and dance, right? Oh, my
gosh, how dare you say that? And how easy it was to just utter a few words and make other people
uncomfortable, because maybe deep down inside, your son is feeling really uncomfortable
and that's what he's grabbing for strength. So I'd want to explore that with him. I also want
to explore if he really understands the meanings of some of these words. Now, maybe he's just
using describing bodily parts and bodily functions in a really inappropriate crude way, which
is not uncommon for 13 year old boys to do. I have to acknowledge that I was a 13 year old boy once.
Many 13 year old boys go through this because

00:03:08 Speaker 1
it's really funny. As you get older, it gets less funny depending on the context. Who knows?
But I think it's really important to make sure that you're talking about how these words affect
other people, not from a place of judgment and anger, but from calm and empathy. So if you know
that Grandma is clutching her pearls going, oh my gosh, oh my goodness, explain to him this is
really hurtful to Grandma. And he say, I want Grandma to hurt. And maybe he wants everyone to
feel bad because inside he feels bad and that gives him power. And again, if it's pretty deep,
he may want to talk to a therapist, possibly may not go that far. Another thing we need to consider
is if he is online a lot, he's playing video games a lot. The culture in video games is pretty toxic.
It's all about trash talk and who can one up and who can say the most hurtful, most horrendous
thing possible. And you couldn't do that when we were kids because you do that face to face and
you get punched in the face eventually

00:04:06 Speaker 1
where you're online, you're never going to get punched in the face. You're at Safe in front of
your computer. No one's going to track you down because you have an alias, online screen name
anyway, so no one knows who you are. So you can say anything you want, no matter how horribly offensive
it is. And sometimes kids will take that and see it as appropriate in real world settings. And
your kid may have to suffer some consequences, realize, oh, I can't do that. Maybe offend someone
he didn't want to offend, a teacher, a relative, a friend, I don't know. But I think it's important
to continue having this conversation from a place of empathy, compassion, and patience. Also,
make sure that you're setting the standard are four letter words and inappropriate language
coming out of your mouth all the time or when you get angry. So make sure you're walking the walk.
By the way, there is an article down below they have a link to that I wrote a few years ago that goes
even more in detail about this.

00:05:01 Speaker 1
We don't have time to go into because we only have a few minutes on this broadcast. But again,
stay calm, talk to them, get a feel for what's going on, what's behind the words, and if it's something
deeper and more troubling, you may want to have them talk to someone, a team, therapist, especially.
Anyways, that's our question for today. Thank you very much. Again. My name is Kent Toussaint
with Teen Therapy Center and Child and Teen Counseling. If you'd like a question you'd like
answered, email us at Thanks again. I will see you guys
next Wednesday at noon on Facebook Live. Have a great week. Bye.

Lascivious Lingo? Raunchy Rhetoric? Why does my teen use bad language?

Trying to figure out the draw between teens and bad language? First you’ll have to assess whether you may be using some unhelpful language yourself. Coming at your kid with judgmental and accusatory words isn’t going to help. Take a breath and be calm! It’s embarrassing, but it doesn’t have to be your embarrassment, you can let it be his embarrassment. 

Talk to your kid about the meaning behind the words. Words carry weight and power, and your kid may be experiencing a lack of power, and using bad language is an easy way to get it. All they have to do is utter a few words and they can make everyone else feel uncomfortable. Explore those ideas with your kid. It’s important to talk about how these words effect other people. He/She needs to know that those words can hurt others too.

Online Anonymity Could Be Making The Problem Worse

Kids also are growing up in a culture where online anonymity allows kids to say whatever they want with no repercussions. Sometimes kids think the kind of culture they experience online is okay in real life. It may take offending someone they didn’t want to offend to make them see it, but in the meantime, you need to talk to them about it from a place of calm and empathy.

“I’m going through a really difficult time with my 13 year old son. He’s really discovered lewd language and crude humor. This is usually focused around his bodily functions or body parts. Sometimes he says stuff in front of other adults, and it’s really embarrassing. I’ve told him he sounds like a pervert, and that he should know better, but it doesn’t seem to be working. Any advice?”

To read more, please check out another one of Kent’s articles on teens and bad language. 

Clinical Director Kent Toussaint answers your parenting questions every Wednesday at 12:00pm in our weekly segment Tips On Teens on Facebook Live. Have questions about parenting kids and teens? Send them to: We love to hear from you!

Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE!  Check out our page here –

If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.