Oh Sh!t! My Toddler Is Swearing!

My 2 year old has started swearing.

Yes I know, I can practically see the look on your face now as you read this.

But before you judge me, can I just say that it’s really not my fault, I lay that blame firmly at the feet of my husband who uses the phrase “Bloody” or “Bloody Hell,” more than he realises.

So of course the toddler has picked up on it and over the last couple of weeks has been uttering the words “Bloody Hell!” or shouting “Bloody …. (insert appropriate word –  book / toy  / fork etc.)”  in a fit of rage.

Toddler Swearing

Context

When she first said it, I was stunned. “Did she really just come out with what I think she did?” I couldn’t quite believe it. So what did I do? I did absolutely nothing. I didn’t tell her off, I didn’t get cross I just let it go.

Then about a week later she said it again. And despite my husband’s insistencies that he was sure that he’d only muttered it a couple of times in front of the children, she said it again. She said it in exactly the same context as before – when you would expect to use this phrase because she was cross or frustrated about something. And once again, I was a bit shocked and didn’t know what to do exactly, so I let it go. AGAIN.

How to Deal With It?

Last weekend, a couple of friends popped in to borrow some tools (yes, Rock and Roll I know) and whilst we were drinking our tea (told you), the toddler who had been playing nicely with her toy garage, threw a car across the room and furiously shouted “That Bloody Car!”

There was a stunned silence as said friends looked at me and whispered “Did she just say…..?” I quickly confirmed that, yes she had, and proceeded to tell Eva to “Calm down and not to use that word.”

At which point Alice, my 4 year old piped up “Don’t say what word mummy?”

And herein lies the problem. How to deal with stopping the toddler from swearing without:

a)  Drawing attention to it being a real problem or being “naughty.”

b) Making them do it or say it even more.  I don’t really think the trick of using reverse psychology on a toddler will really work in this instance. (I have a bizarre image in my head whereby I’m swearing or encouraging her to swear in an effort to make her stop).

c) Alerting the eldest daughter to this word and starting her off swearing. Having one child that swears is bad enough, but having them both F’ing and Blinding could be a bit embarrassing.

But you see now I’m stuck with a bit of a conundrum:  If I don’t tell the toddler off, I can’t let her carry on with her potty mouth. (This pun would have worked so much better 8 months ago), spouting out swear words everywhere we go because quite frankly WHAT WILL PEOPLE THINK OF ME?!

Toddler Swearing

How Does it Make Me Look?

Fortunately my friends laughed about it, but I’m very aware that it is only a matter of time before the toddler has a melt down in a shop, or in her sister’s classroom or in the street whilst chatting with my elderly neighbour and could easily scream out “Bloody Hell!” at any moment.

And I can just IMAGINE the look that I will be given by the shop assistant, teacher or elderly neighbour when this happens. It will be one of horror. Because let’s face it WHO let’s their 2 year old swear and WHERE could they have learnt it from?

I’ll have to try and placate the shop assistant, teacher or elderly neighbour and persuade them not to phone social services. I’ll have to reason that the toddler doesn’t really come from a bad home full of swearing, drug taking parents, but instead has a photographic memory for using words that she has only heard once or twice, yes really.

 

This Cute Face Hides a Foul Mouth

Nobody really wants their kids to swear right? Especially in a child so young, it looks horrible and …. well… kind of sordid. But even more than that, I think I’m a little bit terrified of being judged by other people. Family and friends I can get away with by blaming the husband, but ordinary members of the public will start to wonder just what sort of mother am I.

So please don’t judge me! I might mutter swear words to myself when the kids are driving me up the wall but I do it behind my hand or in the toilet or with my head in the fridge. I truly am not to blame for why my 2 year old suddenly has a foul mouth. I’m furious with my husband for starting all this off and then jollying off to work on a daily basis leaving me to suffer the rude consequences.

If anyone has any advice, I’d love to hear it, because I really am unsure what to do next. Leave it and hope it goes away? Or risk her saying it more and more often whenever she gets cross about something? And seeing as she is 2 going on 3 I can only see this happening more frequently!

 

 

 

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68 thoughts on “Oh Sh!t! My Toddler Is Swearing!

  1. We’ve just gone through this with my six year old. A kid at school taught him the f word. We had a long chat about why it was a bad word. A little while later he came to me with a note he had written saying “sorry I said f***”. We then had another chat about not writing the word either! At two I would probably ignore it. #coolmumsclub

  2. Hmmm, a bit of a conundrum. I should just ignore it – if she gets negative attention she might do it more. If it makes you feel any better one of ours has started saying bugger! Oops. #coolmumsclub

  3. Oh no! I’m amazed this hasn’t happened with our 2.5 year old yet though sometimes I think he may have said it but can’t tell if I’ve misheard or not. Sadly, I have no advice, I’m just hoping I can keep my language in check for as long as possible haha. #coolmumclub

  4. Oh dear! Well on the bright side there are far worse swear words she could be saying! No idea how we are supposed to deal with this shizzle? A swear box?! Teach her a replacement word like ‘bamboozy’ errrr or something else made up and inoffensive?
    Good luck hun!
    Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub

  5. Well there are worse words that she could be using and erm hats off to her for using it in the correct context haha. Our eldest picked up “Little B*gger” from my hubby. What makes it worse is that she uses it in context when talking about her little brother. :-/ We’ve gone for “assuming that she has got it mixed up with another word” and so we just say “yes, that’s right, he is your little BROTHER!!!” So far so good but we had an interesting debate sat on a train with her saying “B*gger” and me saying “No. BROTHER!” and her just repeating “B*gger” on a loop. It was OK until the two chaps sat next to us burst out laughing. So much for my straight face!
    Good luck! xx
    #coolmumclub

    1. Heh He!! I can just picture you on that train trying to keep a straight face!! I’m glad it’s not me. Funny how they get something or some words stuck in their head isn’t it! I think that’s a good approach and will try that out. Thanks for the advice. Xx

  6. Bahaha!! Sorry. I think it’s bl**dy hilarious!! (errr, perhaps she got it from me?!) Noah reported home that his friend called him a ‘square word’ at school yesterday…..
    PS Eva is doing a total Kitty face in that last picture!

    1. It is funny if it weren’t the fault of potty mouthed husband!! Love Noah’s “square” word!! Can we keep them this young, innocent and scrummy forever?! They are definitely more like sisters than cousins! Xx

  7. Ah this something that we’ve said we need to start being careful about now that Baby Lighty has started to repeat sounds back to us!! No words of advice I’m afraid, I’m looking to more experienced parents like yourself to show us the way forward, haha!! 😆 Xxx

    1. Hah!! Please don’t look to me, I’m only a few years ahead but muddling through. Definitely best to keep your swear words in check now though as good practice for later. Wish I’d forced the issue earlier with my husband!! Xx

  8. we try and be so careful, and then they say something back to us that we don’t even realize we say. My four year old told me I needed to “stop dicking around and hurry up” last week. oops

  9. Hi Cheryl, I think it’s how the swearing is delivered that makes a difference too. If I were to pass a group of children playing and using swear words like it’s ‘normal’ it would make me wonder, but to hear a child blurt out a swear word of cuff, leaving the parents squirming with embarrassment maybe mortifying for the parents, but is funny.

    Children are like sponges and absorb everything, so odds on they are going to pick up things we don’t want them too. My son, who was a late talker and never very verbal was the one who picked up a swear word (he has the gift of an amazing memory!), as soon as he uttered the words ”b*gg*r off”, I recognised them as something my Dad says. It’s not even that my children spent a lot of time with my Dad, but the delivery was identical and I laughed. It’s something my Dad has always said when we wind him up, but to hear my son say it was funny.

    I never made a big deal of it, and certainly didn’t tell him off. I just told him it something he shouldn’t say and he may have said it a couple more times, but his swearing never went beyond that.

    If people want to roll their eyeballs and judge you without knowing you as a parent, they are going to for whatever reason, so I wouldn’t worry too much about what other people think. How to handle it also depends on the child, in my case another child may have taken being told not to swear as a challenge that escalated the issue.

    My advice, don’t make a small issue big and keep blaming the husband!

    xx

    1. Thanks Debs some great advice and tips here! I agree with you about the context and delivery. It is funny about my daughter but did also make me think about what to do because as you say, I know that she is the type of child who would take it as a challenge if I told her to stop! I think playing it down is the way to go. Xx

  10. I’ve got no helpful advice, but just wanted to say it did make me chuckle ( in a kind of empathic way)…with a 10 month old it’s a glimpse into my future!!!!!

  11. I think I made mine feel really naughty swearing as little ones, and yes it came from copying Daddy. I think I’ve lost the battle with mine into their teens, not so much with me but with each other. I’m now at the point of accepting they just have to hold their tongue with those who are not their mates. #KCACOLS

  12. haha! I’ve always been a bit of a swearer and I always made a conscious to tell the kids when they were younger that is a “bad” word, (if they ever heard me) and not to repeat it and they never did…then! However, now they are teen and pre-teen its slightly different.. the pre-teen says things accidentally like when I asked once what dinner we should have and she said “fish and shit (meaning chips) ” by accident and she was mortified, but she could only have heard that word from me and the other adults in her life.. so we’re definitely to blame, but no, of course I didn’t tell her off, it was an accident! but the teen occasionally calls her sister a “bitch” which is not cool, and yes she may have heard that word from me, but at her age she is hearing it everywhere now if i’m honest! she DID get berated, because it was intentional, so thats what I think you should do, reinforce it is a bad word, but accidents happen and thats ok, but when it’s intentional, a sit down and talk to is probably a good idea. I don’t want my kids to have my ‘mouth’ but I am at fault too… good luck! #kcacols

  13. Oh dear. But I think it happens with us all, Mother and Father can curb their language all they want but at some point in the future I am going to use a bad word as I push the boundaries. Your tips for dealing with it sound spot on #KCACOLS

  14. It’s only a matter of time for us. At least your other half only uses ‘bl**dy’ – Misery Guts is fond of the f-word and BB has even used it in context… #KCACOLS

  15. Uh oh. Happens to the best of us I’m afraid.
    I would probably go ‘no sweetheart the cat furry. FURRY cat, not *insert word that sounds a bit like swear word but is quite innocent* cat.

    Still, it’s much better than f*ck 😂

    #KCACOLS

  16. I don’t have any advice for you, I’m sorry. But with a 2 year old myself, I’ll be very interested with what you decide to do. Thanks for sharing #KCACOLS

  17. Oh my goodness I for sure feel your pain. My son said his first swear word while all of my in-laws came to visit for a weekend. And he had definitely learned from me as I am very clumsy and tend to say Sh*t whenever I trip or drop things. I was completely mortified. Thankfully I didn’t make a big deal out of it and started really watching what I said. He hasn’t done it again in months.

    Good Luck! #KCACOLS

    Sarah

  18. Oh no! I wish I could offer some help, but I don’t have any!
    When my son was little and used to hear people swearing, he’d tell them off, but I’m worried if Dot will copy when she hears it. She’s a proper mimic!

    Laura xx

    Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday 🙂

  19. I think you’re friends have the right attitude just to laugh it off. My son has sworn a few times which as its only me around i can sadly only blame on me. But I’ve just not reacted (laugh/tell off etc) and tried to be a bit better behaved around him and he’s pretty much forgotten. Don’t beat yourself up about it! #KCACOLS

  20. I’d go with ignoring it or pretending you said something else. if I have let “bloody” slip then it is actually buddy. his grandma thinks the f word is really bad. the f word being FART. which in my opinion is hilarious 😉 it wasn’t so funny when b started shouting I just farted, I just farted across restaurant in front of grandma when I asked him if he’d pooped. oops! #kcacols

  21. My son dropped the F bomb at Thanksgiving, many many years ago. I am not even sure how we handled his cussing. However, when it cam round to my daughter doing it I knew a few things not to do. NEVER LAUGH, sure it can be funny or cute, but laughing rewards it, now they think dropping a foul word is hilarious. Second don’t beat yourself or your Hubby up, most kids pick up a word or two they shouldn’t so Mom’s may look but deep down they have been there or they will be. Third focus on “We don’t say that in public” it is a phase and they will stop, so in the mean time we just focused on not having it repeated out and about. You can try replacement words that sound as fun but aren’t cuss words, but really it doesn’t seem to work. Above all don’t stress it too much, it will pass! #KCACOLS

  22. A funny and at the same time unnerving situation for all us parents. My strategy when my 3 yer olds started swearing, used to be to ignore it. I have noticed that most bad habits like this are just fads which go away. If you pay attention to it and let the kid know that he is doing something wrong only make him do it more often

  23. Oy, no help here.
    I have a 13 month old, and a potty-mouthed husband, and I know it’s just a matter of time before I’m dealing with this. I try to get my husband to watch his mouth around the kiddo, but now that I know it only takes a few slip ups, I’m definitely worried! I’d think if you ignore it, it’ll eventually just go away with the novelty of the word. Thanks for sharing, and I hope the swearing disappears soon! <3 #coolmumclub

  24. I would agree that not making any fuss is crucial. Sounds like that is what your instincts told you, too. My husband is always saying bloody. My mother in law tells me that was his first swear word when, as a small boy, he looked out of a car window and said, “Look, bloody pigs!” This also tells me that his mum and dad must have said bloody a fair bit too!
    Good luck! 🙂
    x Alice
    #kcacols

  25. great post, I’m in this quandary as well, my threenager and I were playing hide and seek last week when he shut himself into our wardrobe and all I could hear was ‘you cant find me F**ks sake’ OMG the horror! I didn’t know what to do so I just ignored it, he only said it once…#twinklytuesday

  26. I’m in the same boat with the almost four year-old. He has said worse words though, and I know it’s my fault for “muttering” too loudly in his earshot. I don’t draw attention to it though, just repeat his sentence back to him (like a question) with the undesirable word omitted. It seems to work for us somehow! #KCACOLS

  27. I have sympathy, I have had a conversation with Hubs only this morning about using his potty mouth in front of the toddler! She has recently started to repeat single words that we use on a regular basis, so I’m terrified Hub’s effing and jeffing will be repeated!

    #TwinklyTuesday
    #KCACOLS

  28. Oh dear! There are far worse things she could be saying though! With my son we explained that some words just aren’t nice and he shouldn’t say them, seems to have done the trick for now! x #KCACOLS

  29. May sound strange, but we frequently swear around our children. They are older now 10 and 13 but we took the wonder out of it for them and gave them permission to use swear words from an early age and guess what…they rarely do it. We know they do around friends but our kids are super respectful and wont swear around other adults. I guess it just depends on the kids.
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