10 Answers

My daughter inlaw is looking for advice on how to deal with a 4 yr old and his choice of words. She has tried time out star chart and even a reward bag if he goes a week without saying a swear word. He lives in a mining town so yes the language is around but he knows when to say it.

Posted by mom241861, 18th October 2017

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  • Important Points to Remember:
    * Reinforce the behavior you want to see; Notice & react to it & Praise it with a little party
    * Every behavior has a purpose
    * Key Questions to Ask 1. What is the function of the behavior? 2. What is reinforcing this
    behavior? 3. What could be done differently?

  • I was always told to ignore bad behaviour and reward good behaviour. If he’s swearing and getting the desired reaction from those around him, he might be more inclined to continue swearing

  • I would encourage replacing the swear words with other words. It actually worked with our eldest and although he still hears swear words he understands them in context and knows it’s inappropriate to use them around other people. It depends on how bad the words are as well. Like everyone has different levels of offense e.g I don’t take offense if my eldest says ‘sh*t’ but if he said the F word I would be unhappy.

  • Calmly tell them its a word we don’t say and leave it at that. When you can tell its an attention seeking thing then ignore it.

  • give them little hints like when we feel upset , say im sad.. and see if word changing helps and encourage them to tell you how they feel instead of using those words you dont want them to say…

  • Also be mindful what’s on television and switch channel when swearing occurs in a tv program.

  • I agree with the previous answers. Don’t swear yourself, make clear that that is a word we don’t use, stay cal and when it’s an attention seeking thing – ignore it.

  • Have you tried simply ignoring it? My daughters both swore for attention at around 4 years old. We explained not to do it, told them off etc but eventually just ignored it and they stopped as it got no reaction.

  • Toddlers probably don’t know what they are saying when they swear, but they are mad and are mimicking behavior they’ve seen from older kids and adults. In cases like these, you can think up some silly words together to replace the words the child is using. Saying something fun when you are angry can help release tension and may even encourage some giggles. Try something like Snickerdoodles, Boccalocca or Dinglebuff!

  • This is a tough one. I can only suggest saying things like “No, (name), we don’t say that word” in a calm manner.

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