Swearing 6 & 5 year olds - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 02-07-2011, 06:19 AM - Thread Starter
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My son and daughter have picked up b*tch from a 10 year old neighbor child, and it's become their favorite word when they're angry, or upset with someone. I'm hoping to make this happen less, or perhaps not at all. Grandma doesn't enjoy being hearing that word thrown at her when she doesn't cut the cake in -just- the right way.


How have others helped with this situation?

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#2 of 9 Old 02-07-2011, 03:10 PM
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What is the consequence when they do use that word? 


IMO that word can be pretty offensive (esp to Grandma I imagine!).  If my kid(s) started using it I'd have a conversation about how that's a pretty strong insult, and I'd talk about how people will think of them if they use that word.  I would explain that if someone called me that then that would be a person that I wouldn't want to be around.


We've been dealing with some name-calling in our house recently.  We've had many conversations about it (and continue to talk about it).  At one point it escalated from a very occasional thing (remedied with a quick talk) to something that was happening A LOT.  At that point I instituted a rule that name-calling was not an acceptable or appropriate behaviour in our house, and anyone who cannot behave appropriately around the rest of the family needs to remove themselves to their room. 

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#3 of 9 Old 02-07-2011, 06:01 PM
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We're pretty open with curse words, but we do have rules for their use.

1)  There are certain ones that are plain off-limits - b!tch, c*nt, etc.  Ones that I consider more offensive than others.

2) They are to be used at home only.

3) They are not for name calling, especially when you're angry.


In my experience, it depends on the the nature of the child if they are even allowed to use curse words at all.  When my younger son was 5/6 he was not mature enough - he couldn't figure out the difference between appropriate and inappropriate times to use those words.  So we wasn't allowed to use them at all.  he's 7 now and fine with the rules.

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#4 of 9 Old 02-07-2011, 07:11 PM
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Oh my. I haven't read the other replies, but if my son EVER called his grandmother a b*tch there would be hell to pay. From both me and his father. And both of us actually do think my mom is a b*tch, and she is toxic and not even allowed to visit with ds by phone. But the fact remains that you do not, EVER, call your older family member, grandma, aunt, mother, that word. In fact, you don't curse at older people, period. I would be livid and ashamed and I assure you it would not happen twice.


We do curse in front of ds and we tell him that those are grownup words. Is he probably going to use them anyway when he gets older? Yep. But with his friends, I don't care. Where I''m from, it is a matter ofrespect that you don't openly or casually curse in front of your elders.


That being said, I am ok with ds using words like crap, dang it, etc. He is pretty good about understanding that some people take offense to those words (I have a friend whose school age children are not allowed to say fart) and so we show respect for their feelings by not using those words in their presence.

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#5 of 9 Old 02-08-2011, 05:48 AM
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Have you tried explaining that it's just a name for a female dog?  Ask them to substitute "female dog" whenever they feel like saying b*tch.  It's pretty silly.  Actually, in today's American society, most curse words are pretty silly if you really stop to think about them (do you have access to a good dictionary?  make your kids look up those words).  A b*stard was a child born outside of wedlock, who couldn't inherit anything under the law of primogeniture (at least in England, if I'm remembering my history correctly), even if they were the firstborn male.  Completely obsolete here, today, where there are lots of children born to unmarried parents.  A son-of-a-b*tch was related to the previous two--if a man were behaving so dishonorably as to be compared to a lowly dog, then he wasn't worthy of being treated with respect.


Obviously, I'd advocate education first, so the kids thoroughly understand the words themselves.  Then I'd move on to context:  stubbing your toe merits xyz, but abc is overkill/unacceptable.  Give lots of situational examples, and if you're comfortable with it, have you and your kids saying the actual curse words (rather than substitutions), to help them get it out of their systems, and hopefully realize that if the parental units know and use the words, the words really can't be that cool.  If they're young enough to enjoy it, work on coming up with silly nonsense words that sound impressive but aren't traditional curse words.  With some kids, that leads to tons of giggles.  It usually helps if you act horrified whenever you hear the "new" curse words.


If that doesn't work for your family, I'd probably try consequences next.  What happens when kids curse at Grandma?  She gets upset?  They don't get cake?  They have to pay money for every curse word they're heard using?  Are they sent to their rooms (not allowed to hang around family if they can't behave nicely)?  What could happen if they swear at their teachers?  Sent to the principal's office?  Detention?  Suspension?  What could happen if they curse at a police officer?  Ticket?  Fine?  Jail?  Part of the consequences is also a change in perception.  Most people, when they hear little kids swear, tend to think less of the kids and maybe their parents, too.  So as the kids demonstrate lack of respect (most people don't enjoy the aural assault), they're more likely to be on the receiving end of lack of respect.


And if your kids are still using more curse words than you'd like, make up some house rules (no swearing, ever; only xyz and abc are allowed; or, swearing okay in your bedroom with the door closed, but not in the public areas), post them where they're easily seen and referred to (along with the penalty), and impose the consequences consistently.

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#6 of 9 Old 02-08-2011, 07:23 AM
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LOL... I'm surprised how lax people are here.  If my child called her grandparents a Bit*h, she'd know immediately that her day was not going to be good.  She wouldn't have cake cut for her for a very long time, and she certainly wouldn't be getting cake at that moment.  Disrespectful words towards anybody, much less her Grandparents would never, ever be tolerated.  


I would definitely explain all the cuss words as Fritz said.  But, in my house, disrespect would not be allowed by anyone at any time, and I'd let them know that, and then there'd be consequences. 

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#7 of 9 Old 02-08-2011, 10:10 AM
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I'm going to divide this into two issues.


One is name-calling.  I make it a rule that my kids are not permitted to call others names (other than given names or fond nicknames).  I don't care if it's (expletive) (expletive) or Noodle-Head.  It's simply not allowed.  Not allowed toward their grandparents, toward me, toward their friends, toward each other.  They can label behavior ("I don't like how you're acting," "I don't like when you do that" or, even, "You're being annoying") but not each other.  Name-calling necessitates an immediate apology and rephrasing of the sentiment.


Obscenities.  I'm lucky that we haven't dealt with hard-core stuff yet.  I love a good expletive now and then, but I've learned to become very select in my own usage.  Not at work (I'm a boss now), not in front of the kids, not even in front of other adults unless I am sure they won't be offended.  In front of DH, yes.  An occasional slip-up when the *%^%# Verizon guy has to ring the doorbell three times consecutively during DS2's naptime?  Certainly. 


As for the kids' usage - there are some milder curse words - dammit, Jesus Christ - that I've heard from DS1 (6 years old).  When I hear this, I've explained to him that it is very important not to use that word in front of others because it is hurtful to some people.  DS1 has a very kind heart and is sensitive about hurting others, and so this is a good angle with him.  For me, it works better than "that's wrong."  Same with toilet words; fart, poop, butt are okay in the house with just us, not in front of company.  DS1 also knows that there are words that the Beastie Boys can say, that we do not say.  I make that distinction because I know it is impossible to expect he won't be exposed to certain words, but he should know why we don't use them and when we don't use them.


As for DS2, he's young enough (3) where if I put a focus on the word, he'll say it ten million times for attention.  Ignoring it is the strategy there. 

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#8 of 9 Old 02-08-2011, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by DadMan View Post

My son and daughter have picked up b*tch from a 10 year old neighbor child, and it's become their favorite word when they're angry, or upset with someone. I'm hoping to make this happen less, or perhaps not at all. Grandma doesn't enjoy being hearing that word thrown at her when she doesn't cut the cake in -just- the right way.


How have others helped with this situation?

 We're prett relaxed about swear words in our home, but with some limitations:

-not to be used against anyone (not for namecalling)

-not out of the house (or in the house, when people like Gma are visiting!)


DD has been totally a-okay with these rules so far (she's 5.5, but vey much rules based). She doesn't actually use these swear words very often (maybe "$h1t", if she drops something). My DS is 2.5 is going through a mimicking phase, and since he doesn't get the rules (and DD thought it was funny that he copies her), she lost her swearing "privilege". If she uses the words inappropriately (ie. to get DS to repeat them), there are consequences. In our house, it's a time out/lecture from us, but I know that's not for everyone...I hope you find something that works ofr you! Your poor mom!

fridgeart, lucky mum to E (5) and Ro (2)
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#9 of 9 Old 02-08-2011, 06:22 PM
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Ha! I guess I'm old fashioned/strict/not as open-minded as I thought. DS (3) isn't allowed to say butt, as we prefer hiney. When he's older, if he prefers bottom, back side, or gluteous maximus, that will be fine, but not butt until he's closer to the teen years. Oh my goodness is even preferable to oh my gosh, and we certainly don't allow oh my God. lol I know he's young of course, but I can't see this changing in the next 5 years at least. Guess I'm just boring. :p

Kat, wife to and mommy to (Dec 07).
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