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What should I do if my toddler curses?

What should I do when my toddler curses?
Submitted by Parents.com Team

As children learn the power of language, they also discover the shock value of certain words. So if your otherwise sweet, innocent child starts cursing like a sailor, it's most likely just a ploy to get your attention. Or perhaps he heard the word somewhere and has no idea what he's saying. Regardless of the reason for the obscenity, don't laugh. Although it may seem comical to hear such language from the mouth of your babe, letting him think he's cute and funny will only encourage more of the same. And don't quote your child to another adult for a laugh either, at least not within your child's earshot. The first time your child swears, ignore it -- he may simply be repeating a new word much as he would any other, and paying no attention can help it disappear from his vocabulary. Acting shocked or horrified teaches your child that the word is powerful, and gives him an incentive to repeat it. But if your child keeps cursing, then remind him of your rules -- you can say something like, "We don't use that word in our family." And remember, kids follow your example. If you curse and swear, expect your child to do it as well.

Copyright 2009

The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.

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