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What to do about a 5 year old cussing at school?

On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of last week, I got a note home from my 5 year old son's teacher. All three days he has been saying inappropriate words at school. On the first day I talked to him about how certain words are inappropriate to say. On Thursday, I took his tv priviledge away. On Friday, he received a spanking. Then on Saturday, he said another curse word right in front of me. I really don't know how to get throught to him. I don't cuss and my husband might let one slip every once in a while, but we explained to him that what daddy did was not right and that he should not repeat it. So, I know where he is getting that one word but the other words I have no idea. Any suggestions? And please don't bash. I will take constructive criticism, but there is no point in bashing.

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Asked by Anonymous at 11:48 AM on Feb. 28, 2010 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Answers (6)
  • The best way to keep kids from cussing is to stop the behavior before it becomes a problem. Often, this begins at home with the parents, siblings, grandparents and possible babysitter. A child who does not hear curse words cannot repeat them (unless mispronouncing an acceptable word). If you have the habit of cussing, make a conscious effort to modify the behavior. Tape notes around your home or even start a curse jar that you must fill when you cuss.
    Regardless of how good you are at home about cussing, your youngster is bound to hear a curse word at some point. Whether you slipped up or they overheard a conversation in the store, they will repeat the word.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:51 AM on Feb. 28, 2010

  • Punishment obviously isn't working, why don't you see that? Why would you increase punishment? I'm not bashing.

    Punishment is not an effective form of child care. It makes kids behave worse, lie, sneak, hit, and resent parents and people in authority. Psychologists know it isn't effective and doesn't teach good behavior.

    Since he hears these words at home that is the first thing that needs to change.

    This is a school problem that should be handled by the teacher. It's common for 5 year olds to say 'bad words' if they hear them at home. The teacher should know how to handle them in the classroom. You punishing him after the fact makes no sense to a 5 year old. They don't understand mini-lectures.

    When he says bad word catch him right when he says it and tell him that word isn't allowed. You might start a cuss jar for adult slips so he sees the words are bad for everyone.


    Answer by Gailll at 11:59 AM on Feb. 28, 2010

  • Cont.

    You punishing him by spanking him is much worse than him saying a bad word at school.

    There are many parenting tools that are effective that you may not know about. You can learn more about parenting from books, classes, conferences, videos, online, ect.

    Love & Limits by Elizabeth Crary is a good first book. She has a website called Star Parenting.

    The most effective form of parenting is called authoritative. You can go to google and find out more.

    Mothering Magazine is a great site and has articles on parenting and discussion boards.

    Answer by Gailll at 12:06 PM on Feb. 28, 2010

  • First day I would have warned him that if he did again, he'd get a mouth soaping. When he said the word in front of me, I would have smacked his mouth right then.

    I'm sure some mothers are going to bash me for saying this. But it works.

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:51 PM on Feb. 28, 2010

  • ohh my nephew went thru this stage, and my sis washed his mouth out with soap..and then the next day it happened again, and he got it washed out with soap again...he sure learned his lesson, hes 7 now and hasnt said one since

    Answer by alexis_06 at 2:16 PM on Feb. 28, 2010

  • For the record,  it is not common for five year olds to curse in school.  This is not the teacher's problem. Your  child is lucky he has a mom who realizes it is her responsibility to teach him limits.

    The first  thing I would do is figure out if he's hearing them regularly somewhere. It could be that he's just picked them up and knows they get a reaction so he's trying it out. Consistency is the key. Just because being punished once didn't work, that doesn't mean it won't work at all. Kids push the limits of what they can get away with. Make sure he understands what his punishment will be if it happens again and follow through. Keep in contact with the teacher and make sure she tells you every time it happens. As parents, we get frustrated when something doesn't work right away. Stick with it, he'll get the message.


    Answer by maxswolfsuit at 8:08 PM on Feb. 28, 2010

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