My 2 year old is saying What The Hell because he's heard me say it. What do i do ?

Luisa - posted on 12/03/2009 ( 30 moms have responded )

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I avoid the Profanity so instead when I get frustrated I say other things like " WHAT THE HELL" He's caught on to it and absorbed it like a sponge, he actually seems to think its pretty funny. I actually feel its not anything wrong but he shouldn't be saying it. It just doesnt sound right in a 2 year old. IT MAKES ME LOOK BAD.

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♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 10/23/2014

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Well, first, YOU STOP! LOL

Saying "what the hell" is NOT avoiding profanity, after all...

Try adjusting your vocabulary. And, whilst others may think "hell" isn't considered profanity, how about you send your kids to school, tell them that the next time the teacher does something that your kids don't understand, they should ask the teacher "what the hell"...and see how far they get with your claims that it's not profanity!

Because in the schools in my area, it IS profanity, just as the word "ass" is considered profanity. If you are NOT using it in CONTEXT: "That person is going to Hell for their sins" then it is a profanity.

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I don't think "what the hell" is profane in the least bit and not a problem. If it were actual swear words, well then you should think about changing the word you use. It's only a problem if you think it's a problem and make it a problem. I don't think it makes you look bad either. We are human and make mistakes. Who cares what other people think anyway?



Alternatives to swear words (that are used by parents here in Australia): Sugar, Fruit Tingles (it's a candy here), Fudge and Barnacles.



While it isn't appropriate for a child to swear (which 'hell' is not a swear word), at 2 they don't understand what they are saying so ignoring it (and stopping using words you don't want repeated by the little one) and carrying on is probably the best thing at this stage. If kids start using words you don't want them to use, then it's time for a talk about "grown up" words.

Torri - posted on 12/04/2009

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I would calmly tell him mommy made a mistake and shouldn't say those words b/c they're not nice and not make a big fuss-so he doesn't want to do it even more b/c of the attention.

Stephanie - posted on 12/04/2009

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I know this is going to sound crazy but if that is the worst thing he says thank God......

Deborah - posted on 12/04/2009

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they say the more attention you give a slip like that , the more your child will use it. i once slipped and said the f word in front of my son- who very promptly repeated it in front of his verrry straight laced grandmother. thankfully he lisped it so i very calmly said , fork dear here it is. after a few days of using it he forgot it, at least until he hit his teens.

Heather - posted on 12/04/2009

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Kids are like parrots they will repeat anything they hear often enough. You need to censor yourself and you're right it does make you look bad.

Dene - posted on 12/03/2009

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My 3 yr old grandaughter who we are raising also catches on to "bad words". I try to use other phrases like "doggone it" or "dadgom". My step-mother always used to say "honest to pete"

Barbara - posted on 12/03/2009

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If you don't want your child to talk like that, then you have to stop using it in front of him. As he gets older you cannot preach one thing & live another before him or tell him he's too young to talk like that. If something is right, it's right for everybody. If it's wrong in your estimation then it's wrong for you too. An ounce of example is worth a lb. of lecture anytime! Something to consider too in setting standards for this kind of thing is that your home is not the only place he will be as he grows. He will be in school where he will get in trouble for language like that or he may try to make friends with other children whose parents do not talk like that & don't let their children & so it could affect him socially. If you decide that you are going to encourage him to express himself in other ways, then you will need to expand your vocabulary too so that you can express your frustration/anger, whatever in more appropriate ways in front of him. He wlll pick up on what you do especially at two.

Krista - posted on 12/03/2009

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Ignore him saying it and stop saying it yourself. Kids thrive on attention.....good OR bad. If you just ignore it, he'll stop saying it.

Patricia - posted on 12/03/2009

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Every single thing you say and do is going to be observed, and ultimately repeated by your child. You need to seriously work on curbing your own language and behavior. I found that when my children were young the best thing to do was to make up silly sayings for those times that you feel like shouting something that you would rather they don't repeat. It isn't all that hard to do. Two famous ones were "SHOES AND SOCKS!!!!!" or "SHOZBOT!!!" when the natural instinct would be to scream s**t, d**n, or anything else not so nice. It becomes a habit to where you don't even have to think about not cursing.....you just don't. The silly sayings start coming out naturally.

Luisa - posted on 12/03/2009

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Thank you all, for all of your advice. And while I do appreciate everyone's advice i think im going to go with the " USING AN ALTERNATIVE METHOD" We are all mom's, and mom's in different way's, I truly feel that in reality he's not saying nothing bad, but in a 2 year old it doesnt sound so nice. Every time I hear him say it I think of his first day of school or something. And I sure don't want him saying that. I personally dont use profanity around my child so sometimes when i get frustrated I do say " what the hell " but, I dont feel like i should stop. I will however, compromise and maybe say crap, or heck instead. I feel like as a parent you yourself learn something new everyday and we all make mistakes even when we are trying not to. Its a learning process.
Once again Thank you all for your advice.

Vickie - posted on 12/03/2009

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Luisa, first of all, don't feel bad & don't think it makes you look bad. Unless your little one says: "Mommy says it!" People may not always think it came from you, he could've heard it from almost anyone.

Second, we all get frustrated at one time or another & sometimes, things unintentionally slip out before we catch it. If you make a big deal out of it, of course he's going to think it's funny & will keep repeating it. First tell him that it's not a very nice thing to say & then watch what you say around him. Little pitchers do have big ears! If he still won't stop saying it, then tell him that every time he does say it, he'll end up losing something important to him. Like maybe a cookie or something small he enjoys. Try saying "Rats & Mice!" or "Phooey!" & in no time, he'll be saying that instead, which is much better.

Judy - posted on 12/03/2009

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Well Luisa we must set the example for our children. I know we say things in our fustration, but we must remember that we have little innocent ears listening and acting out what they have been exposed to. Now is the time to break this bad habit. Your 2 yr old is still at an age for you to reverse the bad language (profanity). When he says it you must say no and tell him mommy want say it anymore and he should not say it anymore. You must tell him it is a bad word. If you don't correct it now it is only going to get worse (other bad words). You also need to work on the language you use around your family. Our children are born into this world just as innocent and we must do everything within our power to bring up our children the right way. I hope this helps and my prayer is he will stop.

Randi - posted on 12/03/2009

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all 2yrs old pick up everything we adults say. you don't want him saying; "what the hell" you have to stop saying it

Brandi - posted on 12/03/2009

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My oldest who is 16 now use to say that exact phrase when she was little. @ 1st I thought it was comical. But after learning it was more than a phase I talked to her. I told her some words you hear an adult say is not right for a child to repeat. We came up with a game. If she had doubt on a saying we would play the phrase game. basically she would ask me if it was a proper phrase to say or a phrase we dont repeat. Now I have a 7 & 6 yr old and my goodness the things they pick up @ school. They are old enough to where I just flat out say we don't say those words or I better not hear you say that again. And yes I do the soap in the mouth thing. I have even had them write 100 sentences. That works great cause after being at school all day writing they don't like coming home writing

Alison - posted on 12/03/2009

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You cannot use language around your children that you do not want them to repeat. Period. It's part of being a parent - denying yourself for the betterment of your child. Although this may be acceptable for an adult, it is definitely not appropriate for a child. Save your adult talk for strictly adult conversations. ("blow job" is not a bad word per se, but I try to avoid using it around my kids!)

Ashley - posted on 12/03/2009

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i agree one hundred percent! i often tell my son that adults do many things kids cannot!

Betsy - posted on 12/03/2009

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Change what you say to something innocent and get into that habit, which he will then imitate. When my oldest, now 19, was 2, he copied "sh**" when I said it after dropping something on my toe. I started saying "sugar" in place of it. Sometimes it sounds funny when you get into the habit and say it in front of only adults, but it worked, He copied it, then the net 4 kids always copied "sugar!" Definitely less embarrassing when out and better when they go to school!

Michelle - posted on 12/03/2009

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Katie Loucaides, thats a good idea i never thought of that. i applauded you on that idea very smart im gonna try that with my son and see how it goes

Michelle - posted on 12/03/2009

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I try to avoid using profanity but its hard when the older kids in the house get me upset and now my 2 year old says dam it and tells others to shut up. im trying to break him from but its hard when the older boys get under my skin i try thinking of other words that arent profanity like ill say oh mylanta or fiddle sticks words like that they may sound funny but they do work at times

Melissa - posted on 12/03/2009

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I have always taught my children that there are things that grown ups can do that kids can't. This includes swearing, driving, drinking and much more. I let my children know that when they are grown up they can say "grown-up words" all they want, but as long as they are my children it won't fly. That has worked for me.

Katie - posted on 12/03/2009

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on the occasions that my son says something i find innapropriate (especially if he has head me say it) i tell him its not a nice thing to say and he must make sure that mummy doesn't say it again because its rude and if i do then he can smack my wrist or make me appologise for using it... it works!

Susie - posted on 12/03/2009

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Change it , when he says it say what the heck. They do absorb everything, even when you think they aren't paying attention.

Ashley - posted on 12/03/2009

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I agree with a lot of the moms and u should stop saying it if you don't want him to say it. But as you said you don't think its necessarily bad but makes u look bad would it be so bad if you taught him to say what the heck instead? My son used to pick up alot of my vocabulary slips and instead of letting him say the things I say I tell him that they are bad words but I usually give him an alternative...like fudge of crap it still doesn't sound good but its not as bad as the original word. What kid hasn't said fudge or crap? Kids pick up on things really quick and its our jobs to correct them and ourselves but sometimes we slip and I know some things will be said again so thats when I give an alternative. My son even calls me out on my swearing. He will say,"Mom, that is not a good word. You should not say things like that." And he is right so I apologize and we come up with the alternative or something funny to say in its place.

Luisa - posted on 12/03/2009

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Hmmmm... I have mixed feelings about it. I myself am not sure. Its not that i think its bad, because lets be serious its not really nothing bad but in a 2 year old it sounds pretty bad. VERY CONTRADICTING. Thank you for your advice though. Im gonna have to figure something out.

Laurie - posted on 12/03/2009

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alot better than the things that used to, and still do come out of my daughters mouth! my biggest mistake was laughing, i just could not control it, and i know it is not funny. i laugh when i am nervous, and certain things just shock the hell out of you when you hear your 2 year old swearing like an old drunken sailor! if he is learning it, or hearing it from you, and you dont mind him saying it, than its okay, you are the mom. but if he's getting it from you and you dont like it because it makes you look bad, than its prob. because you feel guilty, and you might have to try to stop saying even things like that, definately dont laugh, and if he repeats it over and over, divert his attention. if he goes a certain period of time w/o hearing it, he'll forget it.

Jackie - posted on 12/03/2009

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Well first stop saying it! Monkey see monkey do! Second tell him not to say it again that it was wrong for YOU to say it in the first place. But do not make a huge deal out of it. Make sure others don't laugh or encourage him. If it continues then you need to punish him for it like time outs. But still don't make a big deal out of it. My daughter at 2 said "Awww shit" and said it when it should be said. It wasn't until I dropped my keys trying to lock the door and said it myself did I realize it was me who had taught her the lovely phrase. I stopped saying it and soon afterwards she did too.

Jade - posted on 12/03/2009

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Well, its better than some of the things that have slipped out of my mouth, while driving or on the phone, that my daughter has repeated lol, but if you dont want him to say it just tell him its a grown up word and not nice to say. I even let my daughter "punish" me lol (i have to sit quietly on the couch for a minute for "time out") when i say something bad so she understands we make mistakes but the consequences apply to everyone. If that doesnt sound like something you want to do, just try to ignore it and hope he loses interest in it

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