Being 3 and 4 years old, and also coming from a large family we were surprised to learn that our foster chidlren's communication skills were lacking. I’m used to being around small children and can decipher a lot of the things that most people can’t, but when it came to our foster children we needed to have them repeat themselves several times before we could figure out what they were saying. One of the boys, named "A", communicated much better than the other two children. He did, and still does, most of the talking for all of them.
They have adjusted incredibly well considering the situation from which they came. It took a little time for them to warm up, but once we showed them around our house they became more comfortable and even began playing with our children. They also began making conversation.
As one of the boys was playing with Legos, his creation broke, he got upset, and said something under his breath. All of the sudden my ears perked up. Did I really just hear him say, “Oh, sh*&#t!” No, it couldn’t be. He must have said, “Shoot!” Then it happened again.
Then, A called B, “Mother#$@#,” and I knew I wasn’t hearing things. It was crazy! “*@#$%&” came out of one of their mouths when talking to their little sister. I was floored. These adorable, quiet, little children had potty mouths. The sad thing was that they didn’t even know that the words they were saying were words that should never come out of children's mouths. And, why were these words crystal clear and everything else they tried to communicate to us was so difficult to understand?
Thus, began the beginning of our language transformation with them. We had to teach them that the words they were using were inappropriate. That lead to them tattling on each other by saying things like, “Hey Jan, A just said ,“#$@*!” Ugh! They were still swearing. Well, you’ll be happy to hear that after just a few weeks of working with them it is a rare thing to hear a curse word coming from their mouths.
Not only has the cursing diminished, their everyday language is also improving. Since we are with them everyday it hasn’t been as noticeable to me, but I’ve been told by their older sister that she can understand them better and she’s amazed that they aren’t cursing anymore and even speaking in sentences. Looking back on the way they used to speak is just comical to me now. My Lutheran Stud and I just love laughing about it.