Dealing With Dirty Little Mouths

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One day I woke up and realized that my 2-year-old decided he wanted to be a sailor. Nope, he didn't start wearing white pants and a silly little hat. That would have suited me just fine! Instead his mouth matured into something hideous. Sweet words like "booger" and "poop" had become "stupid" and "crap."

Where had I gone wrong?

As with anything that a 2-year-old does, I knew this was a phase. When he was 18 months old he learned how to hit in order to get his point across. Eventually this phase ended, thank goodness, as he verbalized his moods a little better. I was very happy once he started talking clearer and we passed this physical phase.

How long do phases usually last? I ask because it's been months now and his maturing mouth is getting worse! I am anxiously awaiting the end of the "stupid" phase, unfortunately the end is not in sight.

In the beginning I would correct him each time he spoke crudely. "That is not a nice word." "Please do not talk so ugly." "No one is listening when you use ugly words." I just knew that this was the best way to handle his cursing. However, it did not work. He would continue using the unwanted words in every other sentence.

I moved on to the ignore phase. I would flat out ignore him when he spoke using the bad words. I would not answer him or even look at him. Sometimes this would work, and sometimes it led him to talk even worse! It was like he knew I wasn't listening so he could holler "STUPID!" at the top of his lungs. Again, mom was wrong.

Back to square one... Where did I go wrong? Where was he picking up these words?

He has always been a very observant child. If something were out of place he would immediately realize it and question what was going on. If a new word were said around him he would start using it immediately. AHA! Maybe if my husband and I cleaned up our act he would stop hearing bad words and therefore not be subjected to them. This was easier said than done.

We erased most bad words from our vocabulary, at least while we were around our little sailor. We were hoping for a miracle and since we were not using bad words our son would not either. Wrong again.

I then began scrutinizing television programs my son watched regularly. Lo and behold! There was a big problem! Many of these cartoons were designed for older grade-school children and they contained undesirable vocabulary! I was very surprised to hear some of the words I had excluded from my life were showing up in cartoons.

To this day we are still dealing with my son's mouth. I am happy to report that it has gotten better, but his verbal disease is still not completely cured. We have graduated from "stupid" to variations of the word such as "stupba" or "stuppie." It's amazing how smart he is. He thinks that if he says a made up word that remotely sounds like "stupid" then he's won. Unfortunately he's right! I am learning to deal with the made up words by trying to ignore them. I also encourage him to use other words that sound silly; i.e., "kloopy," "slooper," and "scooby dooby doo." It does not always work, but it's worth a shot!

Credits: Amanda Sykora

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