This week’s “Modern Family” episode is still generating buzz for “showing” 2-year-old Lily saying her first curse word. A few weeks ago, we asked our readers on Facebook, “Has a ‘bad word’ ever slipped from your little one’s mouth? What did you do?” The question generated 381 responses — and parents had a lot to say!
Some admitted they laughed the first time, others pretended not to notice, and still others admitted to yelling at their kids or “popping” them on the mouth. Some showed restraint by calmly explaining the curse was “a bad word,” “a naughty word,” or a “grown-up word” never to be used again while a few started a “cuss bank” or “cursing jar” to accrue money every time their kid said a bad word. Read some of our favorite responses below, and then take our poll to share what you did!
I usually ask them, “Oh yeah? Now, can you say hospital? How about catapillar?” until they forget they said [the curse word]. A rise is a reward to these little monsters! – Heather Marie
We just sat them down and talked about it, how certain words are for adults only and some are not acceptable in our house. We talked about how they might hear them on TV, in a video game, from friends or other adults, and if they’re not sure they can come ask us about it. Generally if they don’t hear us say it, then they shouldn’t say it. – Sarah Crane C.
My daughter was 1 and kept dropping her toy. I heard, “Aw dammit.” I thought to myself, there’s no way she said that! Then she repeated it over and over. I laughed but not where she could see. I couldn’t do much other than ignore her. - Alicia W.
At New Year’s dinner, my son yelled “motherf–ker” at my mother in law! I was mortified and sternly told him “No, those aren’t nice words.” Hubby and mother-in-law laughed, so now he won’t stop. - Cristina T.
I will never forget when my daughter was 12-18 months old she would say “coffee” and it would come out “f%$Kee.” Needless to say, going out to breakfast was always interesting because you would hope and pray that the word” coffee” did not come out of her mouth as the waitress poured us a cup! - Faith Alsup D.
My daughter came to me and said, “I just wanted to tell you I said a bad word when I twisted my ankle and I’m really sorry and Iwon’t say it ever again.” I just told her she was right that it wasn’t a word she should say and that I was disappointed that she said it, but I was still proud she came and told me. - Danna C.
When my daughter was 3 and my son was 6, we were driving somewhere. My daughter called my son a “b–ch.” He yelled to say she called him the “b” word. She said, “I didn’t call you the ‘b’ word! I called you a b–ch!” I had the worse time trying to disipline her without laughing. – Michelle M.
The little girl that we have custody of said the funniest thing, at 18 months old. I asked her what was in her diaper and her reply was “Sh-t”! - Casey W.
We were driving up a big snowy hill in town. Daddy said, “I wish they would use sand instead of this f–king salt all the time.” Our oldest piped up a few minutes later and said, “Hey Dad, look at all these f–king cars all over the place!” We looked at each other and tried not to laugh. We told him not to say that, and that Daddy shouldn’t either and he would sit in “time out” later. My son never said it again. I guess the thought that even Daddy’s have to sit in “time out” when he said bad words was enough. – Larinna C.
There is no such thing as a “bad” word…only words used badly. I give my son free license to say anything as long as he is not hurtful with his speech. As soon as I did that, the novelty of cursing wore off, and he calls out other people who curse. – Ash C.
If I slip every now and again, my 4-year-old daughter says, “Mom, don’t say that word because I might repeat it,” that puts me in check! She knows what not to say. She will question me about a word if she’s curious. She asks, “Mom, can I say, What the heck? Is that okay?” It’s cute! – Bethany Noelle M.
I tell my daughter, who loves being a “princess” that princesses don’t say words like that. – Sheri G.
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As adults, we may laugh amongst ourselves when curses are used in a childlike context (see “Go the F–k to Sleep’“), but it’s less funny when a child is cursing out of context.
In a new study commissioned by Care.com, parents believe their children are cursing more than they themselves did as kids. Of the 700 parents who participated in a recent online survey, 86% believe that kids ages 2-12 have loose lips when it comes to unmentionable words…and 54% said their children had actually cursed in front of them.
In some cases (12%), the kids were just repeating a parent’s curse word and 20% didn’t believe their kids understood the meaning of the word. Eight out of ten parents also confessed to cursing in front of children, even though 93% also tried to suppress the urge to do so. Along with blaming themselves, parents also cited other reasons why their kids picked up curses: daycare, playgroups, older siblings, television, games, and movies.
According to Dr. Robi Ludwig, Care.com’s Parenting Expert and psychotherapist, “cursing is something that is definitely going to happen, and parents should know this is something to expect and not a reflection of being a bad parent. However, there are steps parents can take to stop the language before it continues, from creating consequences to monitoring the TV shows and movies your kids watch to correcting houseguests and encouraging the use of alternate words.” A few more of Dr. Ludwig’s tips to prevent cursing include: don’t overreact, be honest, nip it in the bud, and don’t be tempted by YouTube fame. (So, parents, put away the recording camera!)
How vigilant are you about not cursing in front of the kids? What are your tips and advice for dealing with or preventing cursing?