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09Aug 13

How to clean a potty mouth

I always dreaded “the terrible twos”. Psychologists agree that around 24 months old is when children start testing their parents’ limits. They might do or say things just to see how mum will react. Part of this rebellion is the potty mouth stage.

How to clean a potty mouth

How to clean a potty mouth

Working mums especially might find swear words hard to deal with. Since we spend so much time in the office, we want time with our children to be quality, and discipline is extremely hard. But vulgarity is something I can’t allow, so I struggled with how to handle the situation.

How to handle foul language

Children usually say bad words because they are imitating people in their lives, whether it be their parents, guardians, nannies, teachers, schoolmates, or a neighbour. They are like sponges. Therefore, I like to monitor what they see and hear on the television or internet. Although learning a bad word or two may be unavoidable, I don’t want them to be bombarded by foul language!

So what should a mum do if she hears bad language? Although it may be difficult, ignoring the vulgar vocabulary is the best way to quickly get over this phase! These tiny rebels are looking for a reaction of some kind, and even the smallest sign such as a wrinkled nose can be the reinforcement and attention they are looking for, which then prompts them to repeat this behaviour. If you don´t respond in any way, pretty soon it will blow over. Talk to your day care provider or nursery school teacher to make sure they do the same.

Expressing Anger

Often foul words are used to express anger, so perhaps by teaching your children proper vocabulary to express feelings of frustration, anger or disagreement, you can pass through the potty mouth stage fairly quickly. One way of doing so is using expressions that sound similar to the inappropriate phrases, but are socially acceptable. My mum always said “Oh Sugar!” to express frustration when she forgot her keys or did something wrong.

My mum loved playing with words, so changing swear words around was one of her favourite tactics. When I was at university, I was asked to give a short presentation about the thesis I had written, and in the middle of it, I used the phrase “when the spit hit the fan”. People started giggling, and I didn’t understand quite why until later when my professor explained what the expression really is! (Thanks, mum!)

What other swear word substitutes can you think of for your children?

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