Tip for the day: Don’t swear in front of your children…
Today calls for something of a confessional.
Recently, Jenny’s been shouting something that sounds like ‘fox snake!’ when she’s in her toy car or on her little wooden bike. It’s usually heard when she’s just crashed into a wall.
Now, this is a famlee blog, so I won’t commit to pixels what I think she is saying. But I think that, given the information above, you can figure it out.
Most parents will have run into the slight problem of their toddler saying rude words. Even if they haven’t tripped off the tongue of the parents themselves, these words get uttered all over the place and they’re bound to get picked up.
I won’t lie. I’m no saint and I have something of a potty mouth (here’s a little wave to my family and friends, who will be smirking knowingly right now), so I imagine Jenny probably picked up her latest bon mots from me.
I realised pretty quickly I’d have to do something about the situation. Not least because Jenny’s granny was due to come and stay.
My sisters (after they laughed and took videos/the p*ss) and I started by trying to morph this phrase into ‘fox and snake’ in the hopes we could dress it up as a quote from a beloved story book.
But all this achieved was friends and family starting to use ‘fox and snake!’ as their newest expression of frustration.
This approach works with shorter naughty outbursts (sit, duck etc.) but didn’t really do the trick with such a blatantly obvious phrase.
So I decided I had to start to teach Jenny that it’s a naughty phrase and she shouldn’t say it. I wasn’t sure if this was the healthiest method so I approached with caution and made sure I wasn’t being unfair.
I started by telling her gently that she mustn’t shout ‘FOX SNAKE!’ any more. If she said it again that day I’d reiterate that it was naughty and that the next time, she would have to go on the naughty step if she said it.
It seems to be working for now (other than yesterday when she got into her car and said ‘I not say fox snake Mummy’ – wasn’t really sure how to deal with that one…).
I didn’t want her to get punished immediately for saying it, so thought a gradual method was safest. After all, she doesn’t know what a naughty word is yet.
She will, let’s give her a few more years under my roof.
Dealing with swear words
All hilarity aside (and there has been lots), if your toddler has picked up a swear word and you’re keen to get rid of it, make sure you take a gentle but no-nonsense approach. They don’t know what they’re doing and it’s all very funny in the house, but it can be pretty shaming when they start lobbing expletives around the supermarket.
I’d love to hear other tales about swearing toddlers. If only to make myself feel better…
This is one of the posts that didn’t make it into my book (y’know, social services and all that…). If you enjoyed reading this, take a look at Two under Two – coping with a baby and a toddler. Read, enjoy and review if you can!