Toddler cursing

JJ - posted on 07/04/2013 ( 46 moms have responded )

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My 3 1/2 year old son wont stop cursing at school or whenever he doesn't get his way! I've told him repeatedly to never say those words but he's defiant and keeps saying them. How can i get him to stop?

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Pamela - posted on 07/08/2013

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The biggest thing is to not make a big deal out of it. My nephew used da*n once and I calmly explained to him that I shouldn't even use that word. I apologized to him for using it and that neither one of us should have. I didn't get mad, I just explained that it wasn't right. He still looks up to me and does a lot of things I do, so I have to make sure I'm being a good role model.

Another example, while watching a movie with my ex's 3 yo, the character in the movie (disaster movie, one I would never have allowed him to watch, but that's another story) said oh sh*t! and this 3yo repeated it. "He said oh sh*t pam!" and as everyone else in the room cracked up, me and his dad didn't react. I simply said "yes he did, and he shouldn't have said that should he?" he looked up at me and said "no." I told him "that's a bad word, huh?" and he agreed. Never heard the word out of him again. When we react positively (laughter) or negatively (yelling) the kid is more likely to do it again because he or she got a reaction. staying calm is KEY.

I hope you get this under control, good luck!!

Reta - posted on 07/08/2013

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Where did he hear those words in the first place? Also it sounds like he controls you because no child of mine would have ever got away with cursing. I didn't allow it when they were young, teenagers and they still don't curse in front of me as an adults. There are lots of things you can do if you only stick by them and he is smart enough to know that he is getting away with it if you don't do something to him.
I don't know if you curse in front of him but it is kind of hard if cursing is allowed in your home but then you tell them not to do.

Amanda - posted on 07/07/2013

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I always explained to my children that those were grown-up words and NOT for children to say. I also would warn them the first time and then they would go into time out. This helped my kids understand that they were going to hear words like that from older people. If you decide on a punishment for cursing and then don't follow through, they are going to figure out pretty quickly that they don't have to listen to you - or their teachers if you don't stand behind school punishment.

My household is a little more strict. We don't tolerate our children using the words stupid or hate either. We started from the time they were born by watching what we said and how it was said. It's never too late to start, but lead by example and don't set expectations for your child that you can't follow as well.

Michelle - posted on 07/05/2013

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Spanking is again giving him attention. Find out the source and tell them to watch their mouth and then ignore the bad language completely.

Holly - posted on 07/12/2013

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I would use a full bar of soap and time out so if the child is 5, then 5 min of time out with the soap. Believe me after a couple of time and saying you have a fithly mouth that needs to be washed out. I dont swear at all but my hubby does when upset.

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Michelle - posted on 07/15/2013

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Ok I would check the situation at School because maybe he is being bullied and gets frustrated and then swears! It is now up to you to speak with your childs teachers on a regular basis. Jo Frosts method of the naughty spot is a good way to go to correct bad behaviour. Look for signs of frustration on a daily basis (prevention is better) adjust the daily routine. 3 1/2 is young to be in formal school like primary school you must mean day care or Kindy speak to the professional carers of your son about their daily routine maybe try to have a simiular routine at home which may lessen the times your son becomes frustrated and not all daycare centres or Kindy centres are the same there are bad ones out there. Also 3 1/2 is a bit young to be labelling him with Autism or ADHD. How about finding something he's interested in like superheros, make up a cape and when a situation happens that previously he would swear express how great it made you feel that he didn't swear and tell him his a superhero and here is his cape (reward good behaviour when ever you get a chance make a big deal out of it). I hope my ideas where helpful. Be consistent.

Tiffany - posted on 07/15/2013

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Woooo soap in the mouth was "ok" years ago by others generations standards...but they are poisonous to young children and is considered child abuse. CPS can and will remove a child from a home for that behavior. Trust me I don't speak uneducated about this...I am an educated child development specialist with a masters degree in child development. Children learn what they see and hear. As parents we need to be mindful of what our children see and hear...especially from those they trust and look up to. If a child uses "oh s$&t" for example, as the parent use an alternate word that the child can pick up on...try saying "oh bummer" when you stub your toe, and after a while your child will pick up on that phrase instead. The more you tell them not to say something, especially if you yourself or others say it, the more the child will want to say it. Regardless of if you tell them not to.

Debbie (Nanny) - posted on 07/15/2013

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Larissa - perhaps you need to rethink your post. You let a few "f" bombs out and so does grandmother and then you tell the child there is words you use at home but nowhere else? Please! Why don't you just watch your mouth and stop sending out mixed signals? The child learns at home, from those around him and even from TV. YOU need to be the one to make sure that those are not words he hears at home.

Comesha - posted on 07/14/2013

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He will eventually grow out off it he's up to the age now that he should know better.

GOKSEL - posted on 07/12/2013

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First thing where does he learns to curse ?Does anybody curses at home ,friends or maybe from tv.You know they learn from us so we should be careful when we talk.If he stop hearing bad words he will stop.Good luck

Dove - posted on 07/12/2013

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Soap in the mouth has the potential to make someone VERY sick... and even dead. If you've done it and your kids are alive and healthy... count yourself lucky. If you've never done it... PLEASE reconsider if you are contemplating it... Not worth the risk IMO to have a vomiting or dead child over a few words...

Larissa - posted on 07/12/2013

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My son went through the same thing at 3.5. It was just a phase, luckily for us. Husband and I were both guilty of letting the occasional F bomb slip (and he has a grandmother who swears like a sailor). So, as not send mixed messages and be hypercritical, we explained that there were words that ONLY get used at home, that should never be said anywhere else. We ignored the swearing from him, we tried super hard to moderate our language and he stopped using them....now if we slip he pulls us up for using naughty words.

I've checked with kindy and they've told me he's never sworn there, that they've heard....PHEW!!!

Saph - posted on 07/12/2013

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Best way to keep your child from cursing is to set a good example and don't have cursing in your home.

Cate - posted on 07/11/2013

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You mentioned speech delay and an early possible diagnosis for autism. Double-check these! WHY was his speech delayed? Another child I know had an 'ear vestibule' problem.... It also caused him to be a slow walker, since his balance or gravity sense were slightly off. Now he has had speech therapy & gets more appropriate attention at school and home, he's doing FAR better. And, when he's doing something obnoxious or displeasing, he is ignored or given a time out.
In this case, I think ignoring the words is not going to help. But your reactions up to this point clearly are within the "safe negative" range. I agree that positive reinforcement and physical punishment are your best options.

I got my mouth washed out with soap just ONCE. I never say naughty words in front of my Mother anymore! It was a really traumatic experience, but my Mother made it clear before it happened that she was very displeased with my behavior. Then, she told me what she would do if I continued saying bad words. Then, she followed through. I got two warnings and proof that my Mother would not back down if pushed.

Explaining the consequences of his actions to him is also highly recommended. My Mother created a consequence, but you really don't have to do that. Ask him if he likes his school. If not, then he's not going to care if he gets kicked out. But if you find things that he does like and appreciate about his school, and you tell him that he will lose those things if his bad behavior persists, you have a natural motivator.

Has he ever argued with you that he CANNOT stop saying those words? That's an entirely different story, and requires further examination by a professional or two. But make it clear between the two of you whether he can't or won't stop before you go there.

Hannah - posted on 07/10/2013

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Amen honey. Old fashioned spanks worked for me! They work for my kids when needed.

Hannah - posted on 07/10/2013

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My daughter started saying the F word because of my very vocal husband. I was terrified. She randomly still says it but not nearly as much. 1- I keep myself in check.even if my husband can't get the idea ... Yet! 2- I paid it too much attention and scolded at first and she said it more because it got her attention. Sooooo call me crazy but I ignore her when she says terrible things like the F bomb because she forgets and if mom didnt react, it isn't worth saying. Sorry I'm not more help honey. Good luck with little man!

Dixie - posted on 07/10/2013

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Ask him if he thinks he can drive the family car to the grocery store. He'll say no (I hope). Ask him why and he'll say something like "That's for grownups." Then you tell him that his curse words are grownup words.

Get a clear bowl and put in little treats, like bite-sized wrapped candy, out of his reach. Each day he goes without cursing, give him a treat. When the bowl is empty, put it away. The problem should be solved.

This takes away the "defiance" part of it, which is huge. Three year olds love attention -- and negative attention is almost as good as positive attention.

Give him an alternative phrase: Goldarnit, Shoot, Heck, Oh, Man that hurt.

There's likely too much cable TV on in the house, by the way, as they use lots of grown up words. And Mom and Dad have to watch it too.

Jonezy831 - posted on 07/10/2013

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What is wrong with the world lol good old fashioned butt to the freaking Brain will work just fine. He'll get the picture real quick. Is Not illegal to spank your child on the butt. That's just my opinion. Good luck

JJ - posted on 07/09/2013

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He did hear me say them. About a year ago, my son was asked to leave a school because they thought he had autism. It was a terrible time for my husband and I!! We fought and blamed each other constantly and almost separated. I was so angry and frustrated all the time i would say the words when I was upset. Turns out my son had a speech delay and not autism. I never expected him to repeat the words but he is now and uses them every time he doesn't get his way like when we drop him off at school. he doesn't want to be there so he says them to get attention! He wont stop no matter how much we tell him not to use the words. He rules our house and is really stressing me out. I want him to listen and stop saying them so he doesn't get kicked out of school.

Jackie - posted on 07/09/2013

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Ignore his use of foul words.
Be the model! Don't use those words yourself!
Time for consequences: use a foul word, spend three minutes sitting in a spot.
Do not have the TV on to shows that use foul language.
Again!! Don't you or others use those words around your child.

Elaine Melissa - posted on 07/09/2013

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My question to u is where is he hearing the words. Find the source and work from there. I have 2 kids 5 & 11 and they don't ever curse coz they know its not acceptable .

Sondra - posted on 07/08/2013

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Too much is being made of this.He can be taught not to say these words.He is getting the wrong kind of attention.Reward him when he does not get angry,with a sticker or something like that.Don't show your anger.

Enna - posted on 07/08/2013

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Evelyn,
I'm sorry you don't agree with me. I understand your concerns. I'm not suggesting she pour hazardous chemicals down her son's throat. I also think her son is too young for this to work anyway.
Barbie, If you think I was suggesting that you should put poisonous chemicals into your son's mouth, please forgive me because that was not my intention. I was just telling you about my experience.

Ev - posted on 07/08/2013

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I still think that suggestion should not be made. I have to disagree with soap in mouth. There are chemicals that can be ingested and make a kid sick.

Enna - posted on 07/08/2013

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OK, I've seen what kind of parents they take children away from, and more importantly what kind of parents they give kids back to. I have nothing to fear. I could smoke in the house while pregnant, go through "drug rehab" then sell crack in the driveway, put my kids in the car that the government is paying for without being strapped into car seats, and send my 8 year old to walk barefoot in traffic to the gas station a mile away.
These are horrible things. I don't choose how to raise my children because "they might be taken away from me". Compare that stuff above with a couple of passes across my daughter's tongue with a bar of Ivory soap. Like I said, I think I'm OK.

Anyway, this isn't about me and what I do. This conversation is for Barbie.

Ev - posted on 07/08/2013

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I am just saying if anyone who lives where you do gets wind of it, they can turn you in. I would be careful when doing things to discipline kids if I were in your shoes. Besides that if your kids got enough soap and swallowed enough to make them sick, how would you explain it?

Active ignoring and telling them that words like that are not acceptable can work if you start early enough with it. I know because I have done it.

Enna - posted on 07/08/2013

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Yeah it is here too, but I'm not really concerned about it. If the worst thing I ever do to my kids is wash their mouth out with soap twice in their lives I think I'm doing pretty good.

Ev - posted on 07/08/2013

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Roxanne-washing a kid's mouth out with soap should never be done. Where I live its considered abuse by Family Services.

Enna - posted on 07/08/2013

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My youngest daughter has never said a curse word and she is six (well she might have told someone that the word was bad and said it). My 13 year old got her mouth washed out with soap twice. The first time was for a bad word, and the second time was for saying something really mean. She doesn't do that anymore.
I have to watch my mouth in the car sometimes. If I do say a bad word I get scolded.
I don't think washing your sons mouth out with soap is necessarily going to work at his age (maybe it would, I don't know). I definitely think ignoring it completely is a good idea, but that doesn't work at school. Tell him he's going to get kicked out of school for his bad language. You definitely need to try to work something out with the school. If they see that you're trying and you come up with some type of plan, they should be able to help you. Especially if you take him to see a counselor. Your son can't possibly have been the only kid that ever did this at that school.

Joy - posted on 07/08/2013

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Where did he heard the cursing? Is it at school? TV? DVD? If it's at school, you can discuss this with the teacher of your little boy.

Beth - posted on 07/08/2013

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I am pretty good about not cursing in front of our 3.5 year old but my husband isn't. My son has a speech delay but of course he picked up some curse words. I did what some of the others suggested by not reacting at all and he didn't continue. If you laugh giggle or even yell and say don't say that mine will keep on doing it. He said the F word twice got no reaction and never said it again. He also started to say What the Hell and I kept telling him it was what the heck and he says that now. We also got him to say Oh my gosh instead of God. I agree with the not reacting and maybe give them an alternative and then try not to say the cuss word around them anymore. Good luck!

Rose - posted on 07/08/2013

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Of course a toddler will repeat what they hear. But. I believe if it's ignored the first few times it's said (I mean absolutely NO reaction to it ) they will stop on their own, if they don't get attention for it.
I have to examples: My husband's son's son said the f-bomb and the would laugh, they never could get him to stop.
My oldest son at 3 yrs old used to point with his middle finger and I told him not to, because someone might think he was doing something wrong. The next day I got a call from Day Care that he had used finger at appropriate time, got in trouble and I explained what happened the night before.
Last example: My oldest grandson say the f-bomb a total of 3 x's, but none of us reacted to it and he stopped.

Amanda - posted on 07/07/2013

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I am si glad i read this i have been going throughthe same with my 5yr old and i have been so depressed,we realised that it started with us and have been re-learning to express our anger without reosrting to cursing in front of him,i must its been a bit better these past few months from just re-inforcing that we dont swear and it isnt nice to do it.Thank you mommies. And barbie a child physchologist also helps too because they help you and the child to deal with their issues.

Chrissy - posted on 07/07/2013

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my 4yr old was exactly the same way...we still have occasional instances but its much better now. my son heard "wth" as a background noise in a home movie & it stuck like glue...but yet he struggles with sentances. the ONLY thing that is helping to replace it with something else that makes him feel attracts attention ...only this time its good attention. :-) i now try to throw in things like "son of a biscuit" or "oh sugar or fudge" "shut the front door" and my personal favorite "freaker".. it def will take time

Ev - posted on 07/05/2013

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Believe it or not, there are some words kids can say without trouble. Curse words included. There must be something about those words and others that attract kids and they can say them without much trouble. Since you said it was you that used the words, he heard it and repeated it. The best you can do is tell him its not good to say and move on. By addressing it in a neutral tone, he will get the idea soon enough. I used that tactic with my kids. It does work but takes time.

JJ - posted on 07/05/2013

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Sadly, i take responsibility for some of it. I used to say bad words out of frustration but i never thought he would repeat anything i said. It was a huge reality check when he started swearing. I have talked to him over and over again but he is about to be asked to leave from another school now for his behavior. I am worried sick over it! I even made an appointment with a child psychologist to help me deal with his behavior. I think something serious is going on with him but i don't know what it is. He has a speech delay and is going to speech therapy weekly. He cant even put sentences together but he knows how to curse?!?! I am so depressed over this and feel like the worst mother ever....

Ev - posted on 07/05/2013

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Jenny-where did he hear it? Did he get the chance to hear it on a movie that was being played on a DVD or on TV? Has he heard others say them? Finding the source is the best place to start to deal with it. But also remind him that its not nice and then walk away.

Jodi - posted on 07/04/2013

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Where did he learn them from? He has to have learned them somewhere......I would start with that.

Dove - posted on 07/04/2013

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Tell him that your family doesn't talk like that... and then ignore it. Hard to do when people in your family DO talk like that, but I don't... so it's always worked for me. ;) None of my kids at 3.5 even knew any curse words....

Michelle - posted on 07/04/2013

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I would totally ignore it. Even telling him not to use those words is giving him a reaction and that's what is encouraging him to keep saying them. If no one reacts or even ignores him completely when he says them he will soon realize that he should be saying them.

JJ - posted on 07/04/2013

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We wstch our language and tell him all the time to not use those words but he still does it.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 07/04/2013

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Well, first off, stop swearing in front of him. He learned it from somewhere, and most likely at home. The more attention you give him when he swears, the more he will say it. Just say calmly, "we don't say those words" and give him another word to use instead.

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