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"Shut up!" and "Stupid"... not sure how to handle this...

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I am really struggling right now with how to handle these phrases coming out of the mouth of my almost 4 year old. We don't say them. That's not completely true, I have on occasion called something stupid, but since this behavior started with him I am doing my best to not say it ever about anything. Nobody here uses it about a person. Shut up is also a phrase that we never use, not to each other, not to the kids, not about anything.

However the neighbourhood kids do. And we live in a housing situation with a semi circle of attached houses all together with a park area to play in and the only opening is out to the road, but the kids run all through the semi circle area because they can, it's safe, and they all are having fun together. He's never out there alone, DP or I is always there too. But there are older kids (the kids in the coop running around outside range from 1, which is the age of our younger son, to 12 or 13 on occasion, though usually most of them I'd say are more in the 5-9 year old range) and all of the kids adore playing with our boys which is great. They are gentle, and really try to include the littler kids, and there is no swearing or any really profane language.

However T has picked up both stupid and Shut up from them, and now uses them against us on a regular basis. Anytime we say no to him he says "Stupid Mama" or "Stupid Daddy" or "That is stupid then". If he's really upset it's "Shut up! Just shut up right now!".

It's upsetting to hear him talk like this. I've tried explaining to him why we don't like it, that just makes him want to do it more. I've tried ignoring it but that doesn't work either.

Any suggestions? I understand they are "just words" however I really don't like them being used against people.
post #2 of 16
Similar situation with my just turned 4 year old here. Whenever he says 'shut up' I tell him that's not a nice thing to say and that it could hurt someone's feelings, and to tell me: "I need some quiet, please." or "I need some time to think." HTH...
post #3 of 16
my ds does this ( he's 4). he picked it up from a friend who said it. it drives me INSANE. i've tried ingnoring it, i've tried telling him it hurts my feelings, i've tried some playful parenting techniques...none of that really helped.

now i usually just try to say what i think he's feeling. like if he says "stupid mama" i will say something like "it sounds like you are upset because i did xyz". i guess at some point he will actually just tell me he is upset instead of saying "stupid".
post #4 of 16
Gosh..I was just coming to ask the same thing. I don't know where he picked up stupid from - but he uses it all the time.

He also uses another word and I know EXACTLY where he learned it.

I've since been more aware of what I say when frustrated, but I have NO idea how to stop him from saying it.
post #5 of 16
Have you tried making them bathroom words? They may lose their appeal if you have to only say them in the bathroom, if not they are at least easier to ignore if they are said in a different room. I had a lot of success with telling my dd that they were not nice words and we should both work on not saying them, I approached it like I had suddenly thought of it and we made a deal to work on it together.
post #6 of 16
4-5 year olds are learning the power of words. So, you hear a lot of this from them as they try to figure out what impact words and phrases have on people.

At our house, we do two things: When the words are rude, we say "that was rude. Try again more politely." (Which I have apparently said so often that I used it with a graduate student of mine in class the other day!) At 4, sometimes they couldn't rephrase politely, so I would give them suggestions. "did you mean, "I don't like it when you do that"? Then say that."

For stupid or other words you don't like, my favorite technique comes from Playful Parenting (by Larry Cohen). Find a word you don't mind hearing/saying a gazillion times that can be funny. Then when they say "stupid" (or a swearword), you say "well, you can say 'stupid' I guess, but don't you dare call me "chartreuse"." They will, of course, call you 'chartreuse' (or banana peel or whatever). Then when they do, you can overreact and really ham it up. "Oh no! You called me that! How could you?! I told you not to say that word!!"

You both get a laugh out of it and it's a lot more fun than whatever word they were saying originally. That has the double advantage of making the new, non-offensive word more appealing and the old, offensive one kind of boring.
post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post
4-5 year olds are learning the power of words. So, you hear a lot of this from them as they try to figure out what impact words and phrases have on people.

At our house, we do two things: When the words are rude, we say "that was rude. Try again more politely." (Which I have apparently said so often that I used it with a graduate student of mine in class the other day!) At 4, sometimes they couldn't rephrase politely, so I would give them suggestions. "did you mean, "I don't like it when you do that"? Then say that."

For stupid or other words you don't like, my favorite technique comes from Playful Parenting (by Larry Cohen). Find a word you don't mind hearing/saying a gazillion times that can be funny. Then when they say "stupid" (or a swearword), you say "well, you can say 'stupid' I guess, but don't you dare call me "chartreuse"." They will, of course, call you 'chartreuse' (or banana peel or whatever). Then when they do, you can overreact and really ham it up. "Oh no! You called me that! How could you?! I told you not to say that word!!"

You both get a laugh out of it and it's a lot more fun than whatever word they were saying originally. That has the double advantage of making the new, non-offensive word more appealing and the old, offensive one kind of boring.

Brilliant idea!
post #8 of 16
I've had to give up on "idiot" and "stupid", but I won't tolerate "shut up."

I like Lynn's idea. I think my son's teacher has tried to do this with stupendous versus stupid. (But my son uses both now so...)
post #9 of 16
We say things can be stupid not people. Yes, an idea can be stupid but you have to model how that is delivered.

At that age, shut up is usually acknowledge with the feelings behind the words.
"Is it you want me to be quite because XYZ." With my kids I found shut up was the only word they knew for what they were feeling anger.
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

For stupid or other words you don't like, my favorite technique comes from Playful Parenting (by Larry Cohen). Find a word you don't mind hearing/saying a gazillion times that can be funny. Then when they say "stupid" (or a swearword), you say "well, you can say 'stupid' I guess, but don't you dare call me "chartreuse"." They will, of course, call you 'chartreuse' (or banana peel or whatever). Then when they do, you can overreact and really ham it up. "Oh no! You called me that! How could you?! I told you not to say that word!!"

You both get a laugh out of it and it's a lot more fun than whatever word they were saying originally. That has the double advantage of making the new, non-offensive word more appealing and the old, offensive one kind of boring.
This was probably one of the best things I got from that book- it really works!!! It does take away the power the kid gets from saying a "naughty" word because it stops getting a negative reaction. It's absolutely amazing.
post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post
For stupid or other words you don't like, my favorite technique comes from Playful Parenting (by Larry Cohen). Find a word you don't mind hearing/saying a gazillion times that can be funny. Then when they say "stupid" (or a swearword), you say "well, you can say 'stupid' I guess, but don't you dare call me "chartreuse"." They will, of course, call you 'chartreuse' (or banana peel or whatever). Then when they do, you can overreact and really ham it up. "Oh no! You called me that! How could you?! I told you not to say that word!!"

You both get a laugh out of it and it's a lot more fun than whatever word they were saying originally. That has the double advantage of making the new, non-offensive word more appealing and the old, offensive one kind of boring.
we actually tried this - it seemed to confuse ds at first, and he might have laughed once or twice, but it did not stop him from saying "stupid"!

we also tried being playful and saying things like "hey - that's my secret name! now everyone knows my secret name" and acted all sad. again, it seemed to stop him the first time or 2 i tired it, but it did nothing to put an end to ds using the word
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by mizzoh View Post
we actually tried this - it seemed to confuse ds at first, and he might have laughed once or twice, but it did not stop him from saying "stupid"!

we also tried being playful and saying things like "hey - that's my secret name! now everyone knows my secret name" and acted all sad. again, it seemed to stop him the first time or 2 i tired it, but it did nothing to put an end to ds using the word
I wonder though, that if they are used to getting a negative reaction from these words if they persist past the trying of a new technique. Maybe it needs to be tried consistently and persistently for a longer period of time?
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dandelionkid View Post
I wonder though, that if they are used to getting a negative reaction from these words if they persist past the trying of a new technique. Maybe it needs to be tried consistently and persistently for a longer period of time?
yes, that could certainly be true. i did give up trying after a few times since it didn't seem to work.

now i am just trying to be zen about it and tell myself he says the word because he's 4, and he wont be saying it forever. it totally depends on my mood at the time though - sometimes it still irks the heck out of me
post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post
4-5 year olds are learning the power of words. So, you hear a lot of this from them as they try to figure out what impact words and phrases have on people.

At our house, we do two things: When the words are rude, we say "that was rude. Try again more politely." (Which I have apparently said so often that I used it with a graduate student of mine in class the other day!) At 4, sometimes they couldn't rephrase politely, so I would give them suggestions. "did you mean, "I don't like it when you do that"? Then say that."

For stupid or other words you don't like, my favorite technique comes from Playful Parenting (by Larry Cohen). Find a word you don't mind hearing/saying a gazillion times that can be funny. Then when they say "stupid" (or a swearword), you say "well, you can say 'stupid' I guess, but don't you dare call me "chartreuse"." They will, of course, call you 'chartreuse' (or banana peel or whatever). Then when they do, you can overreact and really ham it up. "Oh no! You called me that! How could you?! I told you not to say that word!!"

You both get a laugh out of it and it's a lot more fun than whatever word they were saying originally. That has the double advantage of making the new, non-offensive word more appealing and the old, offensive one kind of boring.
I love that!!
My kids say stupid, though not as much anymore as it really doesn't work for them.
Whenever they would say 'stupid' I'd say What's that? What are you saying? Did you just say you pooped your pants???
They'd be NO No No I said Stupid!
Me- Oh that's what I thought you said, but tell me? Why on earth would you poop your pants??
Them - I...didn't...poop...my...pants!
Me - Faking exasperation- THEN WHY DID YOU SAY YOU DID...ARRGGG YOU KIDS ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY!!!!
By then they'd be laughing because I said poop, and because I look like a lunatic.

Or sometimes when they say stupid/shut up /etc I'll look over at the baby and say "WHAT did you just say??? I can't believe you'd say that, you are outta here mister!"
They find that hysterical too. So does the baby.

I guess that's replacing the word with one that's just as bad in some books though....

With their newest word I say just don't call me late for dinner. Which they find hysterical for some reason.
post #15 of 16
The two SAME EXACT words my 4 year old DS picked up from a friend!

And those TWO words are the words I consider the worst! They are words used AT people and they are just really really nasty! So much so - I would have rather my son ran around saying the F word! ...

Anyroad. He has stopped saying them - thank goodness!

Trying to get him to stop - really wasn't working.
As much as I didn't like it. I simply just didn't bring it up at all. If he said it - I just pretended (in my head) that he just didn't say it. I brought it up enough - he knows I don't like those words. That was it. Then I just carried on like I didn't hear it. I didn't want him to continue to use those words and get attention for them. Now he does't use them. He doesn't need to.
post #16 of 16
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