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How do I get my son to understand that cuss words are bad?

A week ago I dropped my son, who is about to turn 2, off to my in-laws and when I picked him up noticed that he was saying a cuss word. I was shocked. I told him that we don't say words like that because they are bad. Sadly my husband and I cuss, but we watch what we say when our son is around, because we know how observent our son is. Since then he has said the cuss word everyday, sometimes in public. Please help me. What can I do?

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Asked by Anonymous at 12:49 AM on Jan. 11, 2010 in Toddlers (1-2)

Answers (10)
  • i'd start with a time out for saying the word. if you're in public you can take him to the bathroom and talk to him about it. my son's three and occasionally will repeat something that we say, i politely tell him that's not allowed, if he says it again he gets a time out with his nose in the corner. it's my belief that's it's fine for me to say it in my own home (whether or not my son is around) as long as i'm not cursing at him or my bf. i'm an adult and i am allowed to say these things, he understands that alcohol, cursing, and driving are for when he's older.

    Answer by angevil53 at 12:56 AM on Jan. 11, 2010

  • have you tried ignoring when he says it? sometimes kids do what they do because they know we will react. My son has said a few curse words, and typically kids know when they are saying a word that they shouldn't. I just tell my son in a regular tone, "We don't say that".. and move on. And more often that not, he won't say it again.

    Answer by JDanesMommy at 1:03 AM on Jan. 11, 2010

  • A time out or any other punishment is a VERY bad idea. He is not doing something bad he is MIMICKING. You cannot expect him not to cuss if he hears it from you and DH and in laws and whoever else. He has NO IDEA what he is saying or what it means! He isn't even two years old yet. He has no comprehension of what a cuss word is. He is just trying to be like the people he looks up to (ie you).
    If you don't want him to do it you have to not be a hypocrite. Sorry, but that is the way it is. Kids learn by example. Be the person you want him to be.
    As for the damage already done, just ignore it. He does not have a very long attention span or memory. He will forget those words in a week or two if you don't make a big deal about it. If you do make a big fuss over what he is saying than those words will be ingrained in his head as something important because of the commotion they cause.

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:27 AM on Jan. 11, 2010

  • Well first of all you two need to stop saying cuss words, and everytime your son says them tell him it's a "no no" but make sure you make a big deal out of it maybe say AAAAAAAHHHH that word is a "no no" and when you do slip a bad word out make sure to say "momma sais a no no word" I had the same issue my hubby and I used to say swear words and once my now four year old said "f*ck" we had to change our vocabulary a bit and that's what I did and it helped me.

    Answer by looovemybabies at 1:38 AM on Jan. 11, 2010

  • I vote time out, and stop saying those words... First of all even if he's just mimicking he's not suppose to say that and adults are so showing him that he'll be in time out for it is the right thing.. good luck momma

    Answer by Jan0609momma at 1:44 AM on Jan. 11, 2010

  • I would just say no no we don't say those words. Eventually they won't

    Answer by truealaskanmom at 3:59 AM on Jan. 11, 2010

  • You can't punish him for doing what you do! Even if you let it 'slip' he is going to be standing right there soaking it all in when you do. Trust me on that one. BTDT
    What you may want to do is tell him bad words leave a bad taste in your mouth. So when you catch yourself using one, wipe your tongue and say "Blecgh, that tasted nasty!" And make a big deal out of being 'punished'. You'll have to wipe his tongue when he says a bad word too. That's what worked when my 2 yr old started it. She's 16 now and says she still remembers.

    You need to have a consequence for your swearing too. Maybe a penny jar? Put one in every time you say a bad word and an M&M jar for when you say something nice?? He won't 'get' that it is a bad thing if you do it in front of him. He is just trying to be like the grown ups he is around. He's learning to be just like YOU. If that isn't something you want him to be, you have to change YOU.

    Answer by SimplyLaine at 5:51 AM on Jan. 11, 2010

  • WHY are cuss words bad? Maybe if you can explain to your son (I realize he's young so it may be hard) why they're bad that will help. This may help you and your husband stop using them also when you consider the reasons that you don't like the cussing. I also like the penny jar thing SimplyLaine suggested.

    Answer by nikspineapple at 6:13 AM on Jan. 11, 2010

  • You CAN teach him something is bad even if you do it! You can't be perfect 100% of the time!!
    I vote #1. Stop saying the words yourselves, if he isn't hearing it, he won't pick it up.
    #2. Time out, do it a few times and he will get the picture.

    Answer by RutterMama at 8:06 AM on Jan. 11, 2010

  • I think if he learned the behavior from you the obvious solution would be to stop using the words yourself! Why punish him for behaviors that you do? I think he'll stop using and forget the words soon enough if he isn't hearing them.

    Answer by AmiJanell at 11:50 AM on Jan. 11, 2010

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