To think saying your kid learned swear words at school is a cop out?

(68 Posts)
twinklestar2 Mon 08-Jul-13 15:42:52

Long story short: my sister was babysitting our nephew the other day. She said for an hour he was pretending he had a machine gun and was shooting at her and her children saying 'I'm gonna fucking kill you you motherfucking bastards'.

He's 5.

The parents and grandmother came in and didn't tell him off when we told them what he'd said, they said to ignore him when he says things like that.

Is that right, should we?

Then I heard them saying in the kitchen that he must've picked up those words from school, but do 5 year olds really talk that?

1Veryhungrycaterpillar Mon 08-Jul-13 15:45:20

Woah, I'd struggle to believe he learnt the word motherfucker at school!

NinaJade666 Mon 08-Jul-13 15:46:07

Yes, you are being unreasonable to think it's a cop out to say your kids learned swear words at school. Kids learn all sorts of stuff at school. Some parents do swear in front of their kids. Those kids go to school, swear, your kid hears it. Bam.. your kid now knows swear words. Why is it a cop out?

squeakytoy Mon 08-Jul-13 15:48:55

Why didnt you tell him off? No wonder he thinks it is ok to say if he never gets pulled up on it. It doesnt really matter where he learnt it, it matters that he ought to know a child shouldnt be using that sort of language.

NoelHeadbands Mon 08-Jul-13 15:49:00

My 5yo came out with the N word a few months ago. I assure you he did not hear that at home.

1Veryhungrycaterpillar Mon 08-Jul-13 15:49:41

I must be naive as I can't believe a 5 year old would have picked that word up at school, I'd be horrified

twinklestar2 Mon 08-Jul-13 15:50:16

I did tell him off, but my mum and his mum say to ignore it. Very hard to discipline when everyone's saying to leave him alone.

1Veryhungrycaterpillar Mon 08-Jul-13 15:51:21

Posted to soon! But I guess it stands to reason that some poor kids are hearing these words at home and passing them on

mrsjay Mon 08-Jul-13 15:55:12

that sounds like it came from a video game or a film kids dont speak like that they usually copy from what they see so he may have picked it up from school or he maybe allowed to watch play at 5 i would not ignore it and i would pull him up on it

wonderingsoul Mon 08-Jul-13 15:57:15

you are being naive.. i have hear alot worse come out of 6/7 year olds..who your 5 year old will be mixing with.

and to a degree ignoring him can work.
my 4 year old says the odd swear word, the more i told him off the more he said it. so the fiurst time he says it i tell him no, its not very nice to say and its only for adults. if he does it again i completely ignore him. walk out the room till he stops then i give loads of attention/..

8thplace Mon 08-Jul-13 15:58:55

I agree with Mrsjay.
I also think it needs correction and he should be made aware this is not acceptible language to use.

Preciousbane Mon 08-Jul-13 15:59:24

Dc do learn swear words at school, it's the parents reaction that is the real test. DS told me to F off within a week of starting school, my friends DD who went to a private school took three weeks to tell her to F off. We joked how it took that bit longer and was worth the fees.

The older dc made a bee line for the new intake to teach them because they found it funny. He was told not to repeat it again and he didn't.

NoelHeadbands Mon 08-Jul-13 16:01:24

And yes, DS goes to a naice school

Davsmum Mon 08-Jul-13 16:01:25

sadly, some parents allow their kids to watch totally unsuitable movies where they would pick up that language and repeat it at school. You don't need to tell your child off - but you do need to correct them and explain its not acceptable.

LittleMissGerardButlerfan Mon 08-Jul-13 16:02:13

My kids picked up swearing from school so it is unreasonable to think they don't, my son is in reception and one of the boys has older brothers and they all swear, unfortunately the parents don't seem to care.

If my sons swear I tell them off and they go in time out, I will not tolerate swearing. If you ignore it how do they know its wrong?

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Mon 08-Jul-13 16:02:45

Mine learned a large number of horrible words at school.

The teachers said that it couldn't have been school because the children didn't talk like that but my friend who was a dinner lady there said oh yes they do. They just know not to let the teachers hear them but when it's just her on dinner duty - there are kids out there with a worse mouth on them than a merchant seaman.

All a parent can do is hammer home the message that there are not words that you want to hear.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Mon 08-Jul-13 16:03:26

Rather, they're not words that they should say! grin I don't mean to suggest that you teach them to only say them when you're not around

(although as they get older that's exactly what'll happen angry )

HoratiaNelson Mon 08-Jul-13 16:06:48

My six year old told me at the weekend that he'd learnt "a really bad swear word being with 'c' at school" I was filled with some trepidation when I asked home which word it was...fortunately it was only "crap" - I of course told him it was a bad word and he shouldn't use it, but mightily relieved that that is his idea of a really bad word, rather than the 'c' word I was thinking of!

MmeLindor Mon 08-Jul-13 16:07:45

They will learn this at school - I was walking home from school and overheard some of the P7s saying 'fuck off'.

I told them off and said that it was not appropriate language.

We don't use the words, 'bad words' or 'swear words'. I say that there are words that are not appropriate for certain occasions, and certainly not for children to use.

If it is a one-off slip of the tongue then ignoring is an option. When a child of 5y uses it constantly for an hour, of course you should tell him that it is not ok. How else will he learn?

And what message does that give to other kids?

1Veryhungrycaterpillar Mon 08-Jul-13 16:10:30

How depressing, I was enjoying being naive it was much more fun

twinklestar2 Mon 08-Jul-13 16:12:28

I agree with you mmelindor but unfortunately his mum and grandma don't agree. When we told them what he had said they didn't say anything to him, his grandma stroked his hair and told him it was alright because he was sitting with his head in his hands because he knew he'd done wrong confused

MmeLindor Mon 08-Jul-13 16:17:05

Sorry, HungryCaterpillar.

Were your DC there?

twinklestar2 Mon 08-Jul-13 16:20:10

No I don't have children yet but my other nieces and nephews were there.

MarmaladeTwatkins Mon 08-Jul-13 16:23:05

In all fairness, it's not your kid so why are you in a dilemma over whether you ought to discipline him or not?

I wouldn't choose to ignore it if it were my DS, but I wouldn't expect much of a say in what happens in the cases of others children, whether I agreed with their method or not.

cory Mon 08-Jul-13 16:23:28

The fact that a 5yo uses unsuitable language does not mean that particular 5yo, or indeed any 5yo has been watching the films in which these phrases occur.

Quite likely somebody's 12yo has watched the film (or whatever), used the words in the hearing of his 10yo brother, who has taught them to his friend... words pass on through a chain of 10yos... one of teaches them to his 7yo brother, who then repeats it at school in the hearing of either this particular 5yo, or some other 5yo who repeats them....

I knew all sorts of weird things from television shows when I was little: we didn't have a television. My parents never used a swear words in their lives and I still knew them all before I left primary school. Dc have the usual knowledge of swear words, neither dh or I swear.

twinklestar2 Mon 08-Jul-13 16:25:00

Marmalade - I'm wondering which method is best: to tell him off or to ignore.

1Veryhungrycaterpillar Mon 08-Jul-13 16:27:43

That's ok MmeLindor it had to happen at some point best it happens now whilst I'm sitting down

greenbananas Mon 08-Jul-13 16:31:52

My DS has learned a few choice words at preschool. He is only 4 years old, so sometimes I have chosen to more-or-less ignore him repeating them at home. This is because I don't want him to attach undue importance to these words.

I try not to make a big deal of it, but if DS repeats a swear word more than once, I just say something along the lines of "that's a rude word, we don't use that word". When he asks why, I just say "because it sounds horrible", and then I change the subject.

My 4 year old DS has also done the machine gun thing. He is currently obsessed about "making people dead", and has asked some awkward questions about death recently. Again, I try not to make a big deal of it, but of course I am sad about it because I didn't want him to have to deal with this so early in life. It can only have come from preschool (other children playing out what they have seen on violent games and TV?) - I am 100% confident that he didn't pick any of this up at home.

So basically, YABU to blame the parents in any way for this little boy swearing and pretending to have a machine gun. Young children hear all sorts of dreadful things at school, and it's not their parents' fault. How the parents deal with is another matter... but getting cross with the child would be very unfair so perhaps they are dealing with this in some more sensitive way that you haven't seen happening.

DioneTheDiabolist Mon 08-Jul-13 16:36:14

DS(6) knows quite a few swear words that he did not hear in our home. It doesn't matter where he learned them, I do not allow him to swear and he knows this.

WorraLiberty Mon 08-Jul-13 16:38:32

Ignoring works with toddlers because they tend to feed off of reactions.

5yrs old is more than old enough to explain they're not to say it and that there will be consequences if they do.

RobotBananas Mon 08-Jul-13 16:39:10

I think ignoring is appropriate with toddlers who are learning to talk, but not in a school aged child.

Mind you, trying to ignore a 3yo who's just said 'oh bollocks' after dropping something on the floor is not easy grin

I've taught DS that swear words are for grown ups - but if we swear he now tells us off! smile wonder how long that will last.

RobotBananas Mon 08-Jul-13 16:39:36

Ah you beat me to it Worra

LadyIsabellaWrotham Mon 08-Jul-13 16:46:07

At 5 years you need to explain that it's wrong, but not over-react because that can feed the misbehaviour. But yes, a 5 year old might well have learnt it at school.

MmeLindor Mon 08-Jul-13 16:50:53

Yes, agree with that - toddlers do it for shock reaction, and should be ignored.

5 year old can be expected to understand that it is not appropriate and told to stop.

1Veryhungrycaterpillar Mon 08-Jul-13 16:51:47

Now I'm wondering what words my 5 year old knows!

1Veryhungrycaterpillar Mon 08-Jul-13 16:52:25

RobotBananas I laughed just reading that

WorraLiberty Mon 08-Jul-13 16:52:31

Robot I still remember being 5yrs old and learning to tie my shoes. I dropped the loop and confidently said "Oh 'bollock'" grin

My Mum was so angry but also amused at the singular bollock!

1Veryhungrycaterpillar Mon 08-Jul-13 16:55:26

Loving the singular bollock

formicadinosaur Mon 08-Jul-13 17:16:00

Probably a junior aged child has been subjected to inappropriate films or computer games. I expect the 5 year old has over heard some role play in the playground.

However, the behaviour is totally unacceptable. In my house it would result in timeout. It would not be repeated.

Calabria Mon 08-Jul-13 17:20:42

worse mouth on them than a merchant seaman

I heard more swear words from my school teacher mother than from my merchant seaman father. If he did swear at sea he certainly didn't at home.

RobotBananas Mon 08-Jul-13 17:43:20


It was very funny - I almost wet myself laughing. At least he used it in the right context I suppose! smile

IME, my DS at 5 went to school and learnt it all even though we swear a bit His school has a SHOCKING problem with inappropriate language, but did not ever seem to have a solution other than to tell me every time he said a "bad word". He no longer uses the language around us, but I have reports from others he does when we are not there. Not sure how to cure him of it tbh, we've curbed ours, and when we slip up, he tells us off!

imademarion Mon 08-Jul-13 17:51:09

Your sister let a five year old abuse her and her children verbally for an hour, using the word 'motherfucker'?


JamieandtheMagicTorch Mon 08-Jul-13 17:51:58

Not many 5 year olds talk like that, but 5 year olds' big siblings talk like that, or their parents. And 5 year olds at school talk to older children

secondchances Mon 08-Jul-13 18:35:47

Dd is 6. A boy in her class is allowed to watch Celebrity Juice. Naturally his language is appalling & dd often comes home with swear words & phrases involving them. I think it's not a cop out if it's true, if it doesn't sound likely then there's no excuse.

congresstart Mon 08-Jul-13 20:11:23

YABU...mine have learned many horrible things, the school is very small so the year 6 kids mix with the little ones all the time, I have had to have alot of talks about sexual stuff aswell that the DCS don't have an understanding of what they are saying.

Many complaints have been made to the headteacher by parents.

1Veryhungrycaterpillar Mon 08-Jul-13 20:16:28

I wouldn't let any primary school age child watch celebrity juice! It's filthy, what are some parents on!

Gooeyhead Mon 08-Jul-13 20:38:05

My DD is only 13 months old so my attitude could change but I've always said I'd rather hear her saying "oh bollocks" or "oh shit" to herself if she did something wrong than call someone names or insult them even if it doesn't include swear words (e.g you're thick or you're fat). Of course I'd rather hear neither but if I had to pick I'd rather hear the swear word to herself than an insult (if that makes sense!!)

Ludoole Mon 08-Jul-13 21:08:12

After the things ive heard parents on the way to school/on the playground saying, Im really not surprised that kids are using inappropriate language.
If I have my children with me or there are children in earshot, I tell the adult that where as they might not mind their child hearing that language, many parents do mind, so could they please refrain from using it when there are other peoples children around.

Twattybollocks Mon 08-Jul-13 21:12:22

It's not a cop out, it's likely true. My ds told me that the older kids teach the new starters swear words so they get told off by the teacher (not seriously told off, the teachers will be well aware of this charming little game I'm sure)
Apparently my ds isn't involved in this at all, as he clearly has wings and a halo. He must think I fell off a bloody Christmas tree. What can I do other than tell him its not a nice thing to do, and if I hear about any involvement on his part, or hear him swearing he will be banned from minecraft for a week, a fate worse than death apparently.

Preciousbane Mon 08-Jul-13 21:14:07

The cat was on DS lap today moving about looking to get comfy, he exclaimed " look at the cat she is giving me a lap dance" he is at secondary school, we had a chat.

valiumredhead Mon 08-Jul-13 22:58:41

Ha ha,I love that people don't believe kids pick up swear words at school. Just you wait...wink

Ds informed that he knew the worst swear word on the whole world when he was 6-cunt! And not long after asked me over cornflakes one morning what a mother fucker wasshock grin

M0naLisa Mon 08-Jul-13 23:01:30

My son got done for swearing at school in reception last year he said Shit because his friend told him to. So he did.
He got told off by the teacher and by us and hasnt done it since.

twinklestar2 Mon 08-Jul-13 23:03:05

How do you deal with it? Ignore or tell them off?

Velvetbee Mon 08-Jul-13 23:04:19

A few weeks after DC1 started school I fell up the stairs. In pain but controlling myself mightily I muttered 'bother' through gritted teeth. Full of concern DC rushed down to me, 'Don't say bother mummy, say fuck'.

valiumredhead Mon 08-Jul-13 23:06:54

Very calmly explained that they weren't nice words and he'd get into a lot of trouble at school if any teachers heard him. That was that. He's 12 now and is more likely to tell ME off if I swear when I'm drivinggrin

AuntieStella Mon 08-Jul-13 23:10:11

With younger children I'd ignore, or mildly ask them to refrain - on the general principle that I don't want it to become a big thing. If it's more than a brief phase, then I'd meet it with a bored 'say that again properly'

With older children, I'd spell out exactly why it's wrong to swear (or indeed steal excessively aggressively - for the example in op is wrong for more than just the language), and would punish if it persisted.

My DCs sadly know far more sweary vocabulary than my and DH's odd favourite expletives. They didn't get it from home viewing either and yes new swear words are traded with much glee in the playground. But all are capable of restraining their choice of words, and that is the bet you can aim for.

WilsonFrickett Mon 08-Jul-13 23:10:30

Let me tell you a true story.

Me, walking home from school drop off. So about 5 mins after the bell had gone.

A father, dropping off his child who I thought was around 11. Clearly they were late. Daughter was swithering about crossing the road, the dad had just crossed and was standing in the middle of the road waiting for her.

Him: for fucks sake you daft wee cunt, you're late. Come on.
Her: sorry dad, I was waiting for the car.
Him: don't be fucking stupid, they'll wait for you. Now c'mon cunt, run.

ANYONE who thinks children at primary school aren't being exposed to bad language is misguided. Which is terrible, really, but it doesn't mean its a cop-out.

I don't think you should necessarily punish, but your sister should have stopped the game, explained we don't use words like that, and if the bad language had continued then there should have been a consequence.

AuntieStella Mon 08-Jul-13 23:11:08

Not 'steal' - 'speak'!

AllegraLilac Mon 08-Jul-13 23:53:39

I learned fuck in reception. A 'naughty' boy had said it and the extreme reaction teachers gave to a word we'd never heard prompted discussion amongst my friends.

I came home, and asked my mum if 'fuck was a naughty word'?

She went white. Looking back, it was hysterical.

bettycocker Tue 09-Jul-13 04:58:08

Of course children can pick up swear words at school. I learnt "fuck off" at school, although I was already well aquainted with the word "shit" which seems more innocent and acceptable somehow.

YABU. People have older brothers and sisters, may have a group of friends outside of school and hear these words. This is how they pick them up in the first place.

MrsMelons Tue 09-Jul-13 08:25:19

Yep they would hear stuff like that at school, often from Y1/Y2 children who have older siblings. I just ensure I tell my DSs not to say those words and as a rule they don't. I also try to encourage them not to say words they have heard that they don't know what they mean or to ask us first.

MrsMelons Tue 09-Jul-13 08:28:11

I would tell them off if they said a word they knew was wrong but if it was a new one I would gently explain. They do know there are swear words they are not allowed to say, they are 5 and 7 and by now have been exposed to plenty of them at school unfortunately.

brilliantwhite Tue 09-Jul-13 08:31:20

they will hear this at school ,most children have older brothers or sisters , some who talk like that .

MadeOfStarDust Tue 09-Jul-13 08:37:42

We were on the bus the other day (my girls are 10 and 12) and there were a group of teenage boys on there chatting loudly - one started F-ing every other word -

One of the other boys turned to him and said - "Didn't you see the little girls sat there, clean your mouth out you idiot" - his parents obviously cared

My girls were more bothered about being called "little girls" by a gorgeous teenage boy than being sworn near though.... hmm

bruffin Tue 09-Jul-13 08:46:07

I know my ds learnt the f word at school when he was 5 He told me who taught it to him. It was the church governor's son who had older siblings. However he knew enough not to use it (in our presence at least). He is 17 now and I know he uses language like that with his friends, but very rarely at home.

quesadilla Tue 09-Jul-13 09:16:19

As a general thing, I am really torn over whether its better to repeatedly correct or to ignore on the basis that kids often do things they know you don't like to wind you up,

My dd is too young for this as she is preschool. She has said "shit" once or twice and I have ignored as I didn't want to stress the importance of the word. In general I am fairly relaxed about moderate use of mild swear words so I don't think "shit" is the end of the world although I will make her aware when she is older that its not an appropriate word for public use.

But if she used the word "motherfucker" repeatedly I would hit the roof. For me the key thing isn't so much whether its a "swear" word, its whether its offensive.

secondchances Tue 09-Jul-13 10:41:07

Caterpillar - nor me. It's no wonder why he gets told off for his language.

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