How to Deal with a Foul Mouthed Child
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How to Deal with a Foul Mouthed Child

How to deal with a child using foul language. A simple method of correction.

One of the most embarrassing things for a parent, is to hear foul language spurt forth from their young child's mouth.

A family who never uses 'bad language' will become defensive, declaring to the world the child must have picked it up from school friends. This sometimes is the case, and other times they could have heard a new word in the local store. Not having heard it before, they become intrigued with the sound, use it and love the way they get a shock reaction from the adults around them. For those under the age of six this is a game. They enjoy the attention it receives from fellow class buddies and the power one word can have. The word is then used over and over. Parents call meetings, teachers discipline and the child revels in the glory of being noticed for one word.

How do you deal with the problem? How should you react? Psychologists will have their own methods. Some parents resort to soap in the mouth, not a pleasant way of dealing with the situation for all.

Ignoring only exacerbates the situation, the child uses it whenever and wherever they can, remember this is now for attention. They do not have to scream and have tantrums, one small word will reduce an adult to its knees. Oh the power!

One of the ways to deal with it, is to remain calm, sit the child down and ask them what they think the word means. Be relaxed, show no stress and just make a general enquiry. This is the; I am aware you need attention moment.

Then when you have had a few moments chatting, remember the attention span of a six year old is not that long. Hit the child with a biggy.

“That word is silly, a baby word. I am not really sure why I made a fuss. I looked it up in the dictionary and it has no real meaning. I am surprised as you are so grown up, that you use such a baby word”. Reduce the importance of the word down to a zero, make it no longer the 'cool' thing to say.

Then go in for the kill, “Use it if you have to, but if I ever, EVER hear you use the word (make one up), I will not be happy and will have to talk to you again”.

This has now given new power and permission to little one, they will fire the word Dribdrab or Fimple around. Adults will smile thinking it is a Merlin or Harry Potter spell, you know the reason behind the word and it no longer embarrasses. After a few weeks of no reaction, the novelty wears off and life returns to normal.Little one will wait until his teens before he uses the original word to shock. Then you have the power to remove the roof from over their head and the battle of the words will die down again.

Author note: The above is the method I used on one of three children, it was a tip passed on by a nurse I worked with. The problem died down after about ten days. The word that helped? Fimple. My neighbor thought we had a new cat, she thought that my son was calling out its name.

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Comments (26)

A very difficult thing to deal with you have given a lot of good advice here thanks

I remember when I said my first bad word, and I never forgot it. My mom whipped me right there in front of everyone and I deserved it. That was my last whipping over a bad word. I heard it from my parents. This is where a lot of bad words come from, and I speak from experience. I believe when something like this happens take care of the situation right then and not wait until later. It sure worked with me. voted up

When kids are little bad words should not be allowed for sure, but when they become teens we have to understand reality. I never swore.. never.. I was bullied in school and felt weak,.. how I wish I had the power to tell somebody to F-off.. I have a teen and I was kinda proud when she swore around me (not at me) for the first time, because I knew she had more self power than I had... swearing in the right context has its place, calling a person a bad name is not tolerated.. I probably am not making sense because it seems like a contradiction, but most adults swear at some point so I dont want to be a hypocrite about it...

it is also a method that psychologists use

Thanks for reading Johnny. Teresa, it is something that needs dealing with asap, you are right. A swift clip around the ear is no longer allowed, this is what I received when I swore for the first time. Yes I know it comes from the home at times, my parents have never used a bad word, I heard my aunt. Brenda, I agree the words have an edge when they are teens, mine swore around me at times, they got left alone then. I just asked if they would be more considerate in the home. Use it in the right place, ie at the bully. Bullies back off to a bit of fire back, so yes it is a powerful tool against them. It is accepted a little more when a child is older, but the babes need to be shown it is not acceptable behaviour. Sometimes it is case of do as I say, not do as I do. Yes Carol, the nurse I worked with was in the Mental Health Dept. It was a new method at the time (1980's), in place of the slapped bottom. Reverse psychology at its best. I do not know what they use now, but it worked for me. Thanks all for reading and voting.

Interesting article. My niece used to shout 'Oh sbrussel brouts' (brussel sprouts) at anything and everything she didn't like. We had to hide our laughter because she was only 2 and couldn't even say it properly!

LOL funny what kiddies say or can't say properly. Thanks for comment and vote Louie.

Great article! I also encourage my five year old to come and talk to me about bad words that he hears. This reduces the "taboo" effect and encourages communication. Thus far, he hasn't said a bad word (that I know of) except to ask what it is or to discuss it in some way.

I am not sure I understand. It sounds as though you are saying we should tell our child not to say some made up bad word, then allow our child to say it. That sounds like giving your child permission to disobey you. If I tell my child not to say something, I have to enforce that and not allow him to say it or I am giving him permission to disobey.

No Suzann, what I am saying is, if they continue to use the bad word or if you feel they might out of your earshot, then giving another word that is not offensive to the public, might help. It takes the foul from the language, and they get bored when no one takes notice. You have enforced that you do not want to hear a word, but if they defy you, at least if they use a word that means nothing, it does not draw attention to them. If they say it in front of you, you have the chance to tell them they are disobeying, if they say it when you are not around,(and children do these things as we know), they will not sound foul mouthed and the novelty dies away.

Melissa, it is good when you can do that with your child. I was able to do that with my two younger ones, it was my eldest who I used the reverse psychology effect with. He never bothered when the spotlight was no longer on him.

Thank you Glynis for clarifying. I would had to misrepresent your comments! Will all my 5 kids, I have really had very little experience with this. We have had only a couple of times when a child has used a bad word, usually something like "idiot" and been able to stop it with very little work. I don't have much advice to offer other than consistency, they must know the punishment will always follow.

=( sorry that was "hate to misrepresent"!

excellent share friend

This is a good tip to discipline kids. We just have to be keen in understanding kids.

I'm 13 and it was weird, and silly when I heard a five year old shout "**** you, you lil' peice of ****". I bet they didn't even know what the words they were saying meant =/

I loved this article Glynis and wish I had known of these methods a few years ago when my youngest had picked up bad language!

Thank you all for your comments.

Wonderful article, if there is something I cannot stand, its a foul mouthed child lol!

Nor me Amy, thanks for comment.

Lol, you are welcome!

Thankfully, none of my children had an overly foul mouth and only one ever swore before they hit their late teens (at least at home).

I will refer back to this article in a few years if I have any kids, CHEERS!

Martha, that is a good thing. I had no further problems after this one hiccup. Salvatore, good for you!

Thanks for a fun, good, helpful and humorous article. I love the part about telling them it is a baby word. Well written. RT'ed

Thanks, very much Judith!