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What should I do about my 3 yr old saying inappropriate words

My 3 yr old keeps saying profanity that he has picked up from my husband, my father,sister and other outside influences. I have tried lecturing him, I started grounding him ie...he swears i put him in the crib and talk to him about it, then leave him in the crib for 3 mins. What else can I try?


Asked by qustnmrk28 at 10:53 PM on Sep. 23, 2010 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (9)
  • They all do it. At least, those that are exposed to potty mouths, of which, mine are o.O

    I try not to make a big deal out of it. I have a quarter jar set up at my house and ANYONE who enters it KNOWS if they use a bad word, they put a quarter in the jar. If *I* slip, I'll make a big deal about my "mistake" and I'll hem-n-haw while putting the quarter in the jar. That way, my daughter will see that I don't LIKE to use bad words. Then I'll redirect her. If she says "Oh Shit!" (which she has), I'll immediately say "Oh DRAT!"....and she'll copy me. Same thing with the "F" bomb....I'll correct it by saying "Barnacles!"'ll take some time, but they do learn. It's rare for her to drop a cuss word now :)

    Answer by mainemusicmaker at 5:56 AM on Sep. 24, 2010

  • I don't recommend using the crib as a punishment place. JMO. You don't want him to think going to bed is a bad thing. lol I would just tell him that those are grown up words and he isn't aloud to say them. Let him know that saying them will get him in trouble. I'd either do time out's in the corner or take away a certain toy for the whole day. Put it on top of the fridge where he can't get it but he'll see it and remember why it was taken away. It really doesn't matter which toy it is either the one you take is the one he will want. lol Good luck mama!

    Answer by jenae_gist at 10:59 PM on Sep. 23, 2010

  • Also wanted to add that my family is full of potty mouths and there is really no getting them to stop. All of the kids in our family understand that they are grown up words. Once my fiance's grandma asked my cousin's kid what he wanted to do when he grew up and he said "say the f word" Sorry....I thought it was a funny story. =)

    Answer by jenae_gist at 11:02 PM on Sep. 23, 2010

  • Try telling your family to clean up their mouths or they will not be allowed around him. As for your husband, I think if you tell him how important it is to you, he will stop it. Other than that, their isn't much you can do but ingnore it. He probably does it for attention. 3 year olds have a hard time knowing how word can be bad....they are going to say what people around them say.

    Answer by momof3josephs at 10:56 PM on Sep. 23, 2010

  • hmm..a 3 year old grounded?
    well, before mine started pre-k this year, I got support from others to not teach her cussing and when she said a curse word, I corrected her and rephrased it so she could catch on.

    Answer by CandyHorse at 10:56 PM on Sep. 23, 2010

  • Don't make it such a big deal. Every time he does it, simply say "that's not a nice word. lets say ____ instead" Then he will not be getting any extra attention for it, and he will be given the tools to learn how to express himself.

    Answer by Mom1Stepmom1 at 10:57 PM on Sep. 23, 2010

  • Great answer, maine! I use the same technique with my DS and I find that the funnier the replacement word is to him, the more likely he is to use it. My DS is particularly fond of "dagnabbit!" or "gollygeewillikers" or "hoffenfeffers!" Anything that he thinks is silly works. The longer the word, the cuter it is to watch him try and pronounce it, too!

    Answer by JawgaMom1 at 6:59 AM on Sep. 24, 2010

  • Just don't make a huge deal out of it. If he drops an f-bomb, and you freak out and lecture and ground him, he'll drop another because your reaction is exciting to him.. However, if he drops the f-bomb, and you simply tell him that "he shouldn't say those words", he'll lose interest because your reaction will be boring. Kids don't like things that bore them.

    I'm not going to lie, I cuss around my kids more than I should, and my son picked up the habit for a while. I've gotten better about controlling what I say, but when I do slip up and cuss, my son will say "Mommy, why did you say that word?", and when I ask him "What word?", he gets upset and says "I can't say it! It's a bad word!" Sometimes I don't even realize I said the bad word.

    Answer by makelineerror at 11:44 AM on Sep. 24, 2010

  • Don't make a big deal of it. What you should reinforce is if she's going to use that language, to use it at home ONLY and ONLY when Mommy and Daddy are home. If company is over, she's not allowed to use it. Bring in the bribe system. If she can go a day without saying these words, you can reward her with something.

    Answer by _Tam_ at 4:36 PM on Sep. 24, 2010