My Fabulous Life

Do As I Say, Not As I *#*%&*%$ Do!

My almost-4 year old Nevaeh can bat her eyelashes at you, do a perfect Barbie-inspired ballet move and end it with a pose, and tell you several times a day that she’d just like to have a snuggle.  She can also swear like a trucker.

Nothing is quite as shocking, and nothing makes me bite my lip to stop the laughter from bubbling out of me, as when my daughter rattles off something in her little voice that typically comes out of someone much older.  And by someone I mean me.

Yes, undoubtedly I’m the one to blame for her penchant for dropping the F bomb and I take responsibility for that.  I don’t swear at my children (yikes!) but definitely have been known to rattle off a sling of cuss words with my kids in earshot.  My husband always chaps my ass reminds me that I really need to keep my swearing in check and he’s right.  I’m getting better at it (much better since Nevaeh started being my little parrot) but the question now is, how to we handle the little cuss monster I created?

A week ago, we went on a day-trip to a city an hour away with another family.  My kids didn’t know their best buds were going to be there as well, and when we pulled up to the meeting point they were excited.  VERY excited apparently.  Nevaeh, giggling in her car seat, said with glee, “I’m so f*cking excited!!!”

Oh yes she did.

My husband and I looked at each other and did that, “Did she really say what I think she said?”  So, to clarify, we asked her to repeat herself.

“Mommy, I’m just so f*cking excited!”  There it is.

For the record, I’m pretty sure there hasn’t been a time when I told my husband I was “so f*cking excited” about anything, so I have to give the kid credit for correct use of the word in a sentence.  However, I need to figure out a way to stop this surprise F-bomb use before it happens in a public situation!

There are a few different parenting approaches one could take here.  The first, of course, would be to explain to her that swearing in any way just isn’t ok, even when mom or dad does it as well.  We could start a cuss jar and police each other in the household.  Toys and privileges (for mom too) could be taken away as a punishment.

Others say that simply ignoring the potty mouth will make it go away.  When there’s no reaction given to the use of the words, it loses it’s appeal and kids may quickly move on to something else.  I’m not sure about this approach though because I’m not even sure Nevaeh knew that what she was saying was a big deal.

Another idea I’ve read is to give the kids one place where they get let ‘er rip and cuss to their little heart’s content.  The bathroom, a treehouse, the laundry room, wherever.  I kind of like that idea – that way I can explain there is a time and a place for cussing (and sometimes it feels real good to rattle off something that even Howard Stern would blush at!)

So what’s a (cussing) mom to do?  I need to be a better role model for sure and put a lid on my own swearing.  What approach works best for stopping this kind of language with a preschooler?

I need help, and fast.  Nevaeh starts preschool in a few weeks and if she drops the F-bomb in front of her teacher or peers, I’ll be mortified.

I’m so f*cking excited.




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  • Ha ha I have a similar story, I just ignored it, and we haven’t heard any more… Leah is starting school this year, I just hope there is no swearing there- oh my word! lol

  • This post made me laugh. My 2 year old likes to throw out the f-bomb at the most random times (sitting at dinner whispering it over and over with grandma and grandad was a personal favorite of mine). I don’t know how to stop it either. And it is so funny I can’t help but laugh. I will be checking back to see if anyone has any good advice on how to get this to stop.
    Good luck to you!

  • First of all, thank you for the reality check. I am the queen of dropping F-bombs. I am surprised that little D hasn’t dropped one yet. I guess I can try to get it in check before she does….

    If the kid doesn’t realize what they are saying is a big deal the ignoring it will not make a difference. She’ll still say it because to her it is part of everyday speech.

    I would combine two of your ideas. 1. The policing/money jar added with the room to swear her little heart out. That way you teach that yes, there is a time and a place for it and should you do it outside that appropriate time or place there will be punishment (fine to be paid or toys taken away).

    But the number one way to stop the behavior is for you to stop it too…and lord knows how hard that is!

  • Katie was my little parrot. She didn’t know she wasn’t supposed to be using the same words as mommy so she wasn’t punished. We didn’t ignore them, start a swear jar and I certainly didn’t stop using the words myself but we did explain to her that there are some words that are grown-up words and kids should not use them. If she (or her sisters when they came into existence) used a swear word she was told it was a grown up word she was not allowed to use. That worked for her, and her sisters. I suppose if it had continued then we would have punished in some form, but they were all pretty good about understanding that there are some things and words kids just don’t get to do/use.

  • I’m not sure how to handle this. My daughter cussed once when she was like 2 and it never happened since. I instantly told her it was bad and now if she hears other kids saying things she says “mommy *kid* said that he…never mind i dont wanna say it” so I then obviously know the kid said a bad word or something very mean.
    she wont even say shut up cuz “it’s a bad word” and tells me not to when I say it.

    I think just working on her daily is your best best. It’s hard because it’s been happening for so long but now you have to do some damage control.

  • LOL!! OMG! We went through a stage where all Aidan would say was “fock” (as in meet in the fockers). Poopy fock, you’re a fock, fock fock fock. We tried everything and the only thing that ultimately worked was ignoring it.

    Aidan’s the sort of kid that if you give him any sort of reaction for anything he’ll keep it up.

    Now if we say a bad word, we immediately say something that rhymes and make a HUGE deal about the word that rhymes so the focus is taken off the bad one. Works everytime 🙂

    • I like the rhyming – this is a great idea and I think I’ll make a mental list of all swear words and what rhymes with them just in case.

      Buck, Kit, MathMole, Blunt – ready to go out in public now!

  • LMAO – I have no suggestions for you, I just love that you give your daughter credit for correct usage!

    We’ve tried ignoring words we don’t like (though thankfully we’ve been spared the f-bomb so far), but that didn’t really work. We’ve also tried saying no, but that didn’t work either. One suggestions I was given was to substitute the offending word with a different one, ideally a silly one.

    Good luck!

  • I know I shouldn’t be laughing but the other day my younger uncle told my mother (which she signed to me) that my 4 year old son told him to, ‘hands up m-f..” It is so hard not to laugh but i explained to him that it’s a bad word and do not use it.

    oh and he starts preschool in few weeks.. I need to correct his behavior or cuss words (it will be hard since i’m deaf and cannot hear..)

  • One thing that worked for me is that I started using another word that sounds the same like Fudge. Each time the boys were using a bad word I explained to them that it was not polite and not a good word to say. I also made them repeat the sentence with the good word (fudge). Even my teenager is not swearing in front of me and the family at least lol. Elsewhere hum!! hum!! can’t control everything 🙂

  • ha this whole article made me laugh lol, hard to do on a monday , well all i can say is good luck with that lol i found once my kids had found a word they realised got a reaction it always came out in the worst possible places, and i could never figure out a way to stop it , and your daughter looks like a real spunky gal, she is very cute

  • This post made me chuckle a little bit too!
    I swear A LOT, DF swears A LOT, DD has never said a swear word besides Sh*t (ONE TIME). So we’re very lucky in that aspect.
    So I really can’t help you out here… I wish I could though.

  • HA! Mica started saying, “I want some God damn chocolate!” two weeks before going to Bible school with his cousin. We don’t go to church, so it was hard to finger out what to do at that time. He was Nevaeh’s age at the time. We just told him that that talk wasn’t appropriate talk. He looked at us and said, “Ok.” Then it just stopped.

  • My 2 year old boy learned to say “sh*t” from a tv show DH and I were watching. Now he says it ALL the time, in the right sentences and in public. I have no idea how to stop it! DH thinks it’s kinda funny, I find it embarrassing. I’m scared he’ll say it at a playground and I’ll get yelled at by other parents! So I totally know what you’re saying…

  • LMAO! Thank you for that laugh!

    I, too, have been known to throw around an f-bomb or 2 and luckily my 2.5 year old DD hasn’t picked up on it… yet! My boys are older (8 & 11) and with them I just explained that there are adult words that adults are old enough to choose to say if they want to (I also explained that there are some places that NO ONE should ever say those kinds of words no matter what age they are) and until they are adults, they aren’t old enough to make the decision on their own – they just aren’t allowed to say them. My 11 year old has been good with that but my 8 year old, who is an otherwise good kid, did get caught “saying inappropriate words” with his friends in the school yard last year. I am hoping getting a talking to from the principal was enough to scare him. I also sat him down after and explained that school was definitely not an place for those kinds of words and that he needs to make better choices. He never says anything around us but I would bet money he still will slip things in there when it is only him & his friends around!

    Isn’t parenting fun? Hahaha! Yeah. And we wonder why our hair turns grey!

  • LMAO! My son would do this too! When I was giving birth to my daughter, my son was almost 2 years old. He was in the delivery room with us and daddy was holding him. When I was pushing, and it was REALLY quiet, he yelled “F*ck!” For NO reason! Needless to say I stopped mid push and laughed SO HARD as did the nurses and doctors!!! Bwahaha! I will NEVER forget that and either will anyone else. So, I guess I am NO help to you! Haha 😉

  • Oh my gosh!! I’m sorry but I’m laughing so hard! My 4 year old probably hasn’t heard me swear the few times I have. But once when we were at Target there was a group of teens who walked by and they must have been swearing because all of a sudden our oldest started saying in an almost sing-songy voice, “F*ck, f*ck, f*ck, f******ck”! And she was LOUD! I was like, “What did you just say?” She replied, “F*ck mommy!”. I told her it was a bad word and not to say it but she didn’t get it. Haha! But I also haven’t heard it since, so I don’t know…maybe just briefly touching on it and then ignoring it would work?

  • I’m sorry, I cant help but laugh! I’m currently pregnant with my first and I wont be shocked if my little Sophie’s first words are “Woop-De-F*cking-Doo. I say that a LOT and I say What the f*ck? even more. Luckily I learned to keep the language in check around children a long time ago, buuuut, everyone slips up sometimes, and I’m gonna be screeeewwwwed when I do. XD

  • I’m sorry…I was a bit horrified hearing that she curses like a trucker and but I sure was chuckling reading the I’m so f*cking excited part. She must have been REALLY excited. I have no advice for you, though, as I have somehow managed to keep the f bombs at bay (and I do like a good f bomb!). Now if my near-4 year old lets out a “sweet jesus” I take all the blame. Good luck!

  • Oh man, that is awesome! LOL I have a slight swearing problem myself and hearing my 3 year old shout out Jesus, Christ, is never a good thing! I try hard to keep it in check but stubbing my toe really brings out some doozies! I tend to go with the those words are for adults and you are too little to say those things. One day I’ll to change that.

  • This is so f*cking hilarious! All I know is when I was a kid, if I asked my parents if a word was bad and they would ask me if I’ve ever heard them say it. If I hadn’t, I couldn’t use it, but this doesn’t help in your situation – again, f*cking hilarious!

    We are taking the same approach with our kids so I can’t offer help there. I can only say that it is REALLY hard to not say it when you really want to!

  • Gavyn went through this at age four and Zoe who just turned four in April is doing it. I hope to god she stops because she starts school in two weeks. We both swear, but my husband has the issue with Fbombs. I love hell, sh*t, and damn. So you will hear Zoe walking around saying f*cking sh*t, craziness lol. Hope she stops for your soon mama:)

  • Been there too many times to count, lol. The more children you have the more ears there are to pick it up. In our house we tried ignoring and it works well with the little ones but my 9 year old seems to come out with a few here and there. I think the idea of a “safe” place to let it out is great for older kids who will understand the difference between the bathroom at home and the bathroom of a restaurant. That could be an embarrassing disaster!

  • Umm…at least you don’t live with the morality police! LOL! My son is 6 and if I so much as say “crap”, he sucks in a very audible breath and lay into me with, “oooohhh!! You said a BAD word!!!!”. Must be that Presbyterian education he is getting! LOL!

    This was too cute!

  • I just stumble across your post, and I must say, this made me giggle. I don’t have children of my own, but my step son went through this stage, too. It really is hard to not laugh when you’re taken off guard by their small voices using such big words. Kids really do say the darnedest things!

  • I don’t find the humor at ALL. As an elementary teacher, every day I am deeply saddened at the loss of innocence in our children. We expose them to too many adult things and yet never really expect them to behave in a mature way. How confusing to a child and how sad for us as a society. It won’t be funny when she reaps the consequences at school/future job because of your poor choices. THINK. Is it really funny or really sad?

    If you do want to change her (and your) behavior, the rhyming trick does work, also a really excited comment about something that they love: “Did you SEE that cupcake with all the thick frosting at the store? Wow!”

  • It is so hard to remember to watch what you say around kids but if you don’t they sure pick it up fast! On the bright side, it does give most people a good laugh!