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Does anyone know to deal with (toddler) swearing?

(10 Posts)
MerryWifeOfWindsor Thu 22-Oct-09 13:22:59

It's getting out of control now and I don't know what to do. He picks up everything, despite our best efforts we obviously failed somewhere along the line He started saying it the odd time (shit or fuck), and I ignored. It stopped, then started, I ignored again, it got worse so I started taking toys off him, putting him in room for a few mins but it's getting so much worse. He seems to say it without thinking, and also looking at me for effect. He has started singing the words, even singing "two little birds, sitting on a wall, one named shit and one named fuck..." in the bath I have come down hard, making him leave his cousins house when he just didn't stop (after BIL even helped by telling him off, taking his toy away etc.) (we went back in, he said he was sorry, wouldn't say naughty words again, but he did really think we were leaving). I have tried everything, bribery, being hard, just talking to him calmly but sometimes it just goes on and on. Please tell me it's a stage alot of toddlers go through, I feel like 1) I have failed massively for letting him learn these words and 2) it will just carry on and he will be a 4/5 year old who is aggressive and rude. He is 3.7 by the way and too smart for his own good (I said he could have his biscuit he made at school after his dinner and bath, and kept reminding him also if he didn't say a naughty word. I then gave it to him and he told me he had said fuck on the sofa. Is it just an attention thing?)

haventsleptforayear Thu 22-Oct-09 13:26:14

I don't know what to say.

It sounds like attention. He is trying to get you to react (and you are!)

How can you punish him if he learnt those words from you?

How will taking a toy away stop him saying a word - it doesn't make sense?

Hope someone has some practical suggestions for you.

MerryWifeOfWindsor Thu 22-Oct-09 13:31:03

Well, I thought the toy thing was him doing something naughty (saying the word) and then have something happen as a consequence. I heard his cousins teaching him new words too, I am praying they have just been forgotten.

colditz Thu 22-Oct-09 13:31:20


3.7 isn't really toddler swearing. And it is totally an attention thing.

Just imagine, you don't think your orbiting planets are paying you the correct amount of attention (ie all of it) and you know a word that will have every eye on you in a split second. Of course you're going to say it!

I would use stickers rather than biscuits, you can take a sticker away again.

i would also remove him to his room every time he does say those words, and do not enter into a battle about whether or not he uses them. the fact is, you are bigger than himand if he doesn't do what you think he should be doing you don't actually have to argue reason and persuade, although it's good to do these things first.

Pick him up and plonk him in his room. And ignore him. Warn him now and every morning that any bad words means bedroom time. Don't warn him all the time, it just draws attention to it.

MerryWifeOfWindsor Thu 22-Oct-09 13:36:12

I still think of him as a toddler blush How long do you think he should stay in his room for? Sometimes when carried in there he swears all the way, and will sit on the bed and do it. I will just plop him in his room without a word every time, eventually hopefully he will twig on saying the words just aren't worth it.

MerryWifeOfWindsor Thu 22-Oct-09 13:37:08

Thankyou for your advice BTW

Iklboo Thu 22-Oct-09 13:38:31

Where's he hearing them?

It's coming up for Xmas - if you celebrate use the 'Santa won't bring you any presents' spiel

colditz Thu 22-Oct-09 13:39:04

nahh he isn't a toddler - toddler swearing is no more meaningful than a parrot. he's closer to schoolboy than toddler!

TBH I'd be tempted to 'allow' swearing -in his room, on his own.

MerryWifeOfWindsor Thu 22-Oct-09 13:51:43

It must have been me or DH My mum swears like nobodys business, it may her been from her but I dunno. Lots of Santa won't bring you any presents, and he does ay sorry, promises he won't say the naughty words then grins 20 mins later and says it. His bedroom is being emptied for the builders tomorrow, so it'll be less appealing for him to have to go into it every time he says the words. I sometimes feel I am totally losing my 'authority' with him, but then sometimes when you talk to him and explain things to him (i.e don't go near the oven, it's very hot but you can sit nicely just there and help me) rather than "get away from the oven!" he really understands and remembers and likes to be a good boy. I am so ashamed he is doing this

Helloall Thu 22-Oct-09 20:06:49

Have two kids - my older son never swore. My daughter gets the devil in her - and will swear. She is very very bright and loves to repeat back things - even songs - adverts on telly. She only has to hear something once and she has learnt it. My son was completely the opposite.

I have taught her other 'naughty' words - like cowabunga - and diplodocus. This seems to help. When she says them I pretend they are swear words. She is really interested in my reaction.

When she swears properly I pretty much ignore it - or if its really bad - confiscate her scooter - which she loves.

However, I'm not gonna stress over it too much. She's too young to understand fully - i don't think she knows the difference between saying poo poo and swearing.

I am actually amazed by her language and see her experimenting with rude words as an extension of this. It is already starting to pass, slowly.

She's a good girl, easy going girl with a kind heart.

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