Putting a Lid on it: Quick Tips to
Get Your Kids to Stop Swearing
Here’s a real situation from a real email subscriber
along with my advice on how to fix the problem
Children are very impressionable. As parents, we must not let this fact fact slip our minds – no matter what the situation at home.
Take for example a little cry for help I got from one of my email subscribers who we’ll call “Jane” to preserve her anonymity.
Email from Jane:
I found your website whilst I was browsing for info on how to handle children swearing and using bad language. My situation is pretty challenging as I am a mom of 3 toddlers aged 4, 3 and 2. I also work full-time from Mon-Fri. So I guess the best word to describe me is “exhausted”.
I feel guilty about the fact that my kids have developed these bad communicating manners from myself and my husband. We had a pretty troubled relationship and the truth is that we had difficulty communicating our needs effectively to each other or controlling how we handle set-backs when disappointed by unmet expectations of each other. As a result, we are guilty of displaying some really bad behavior towards each other in front of our kids, yet at the same time trying to enforce good conduct within them.
I have still not been able to eradicate the “bad language” from my kid’s vocabulary and am afraid that it appears to have become a habit for them to curse or swear when they are angry. And they feel pretty justified in doing so. They recognize that it’s not an acceptable way of expressing themselves; however they do it out of defiance and are not remorseful. Do you have any tips or suggestion?
Like all couples, arguments can happen. Exhaustion from work combined with never-ending household chores and other responsibilities do not leave enough room for one to keep a good lid over those cuss words in his or her vocabulary.
So, Jane ended up with three toddlers who managed to add some pretty exciting new words to their developing vocabulary—and who would intentionally use them out of defiance.
I was actually glad Jane had asked me for advice regarding this surprisingly common problem of parents. It gave me the opportunity to share a pair of simple but effective methods to put a lid on those cuss words. If swearing children is not your problem, you can use these tips for any situation where multiple children share the same bad habit.
Tip #1: Apologize
There are no two ways about it. You made the mistake of using bad language and you need to own up to it, take responsibility and apologize to your kids. Even though you are “just”dealing with kids, you must remember that this is the time they are developing their sense of right and wrong. Showing them that daddy and mommy are sorry after they committed mistakes is setting a good example for the kids.
Tip #2: Recruit the Help of the Oldest Child
This is a smart tactical move.
To do this you must approach the oldest child and explain that you need his help. You repeat your apology and explain that it’s not OK to use bad language. You ask him if he’ll help you to show his younger brothers or sisters how to behave better.
Having your eldest child take ownership of this task is putting him on your side. In his mind you are now a team, working to “fix” the problem in the younger toddlers. When the oldest isn’t using cuss words anymore, the younger ones will surely follow by example.
I then left Jane with this bonus tip: Pick a NEW word to replace the old swear words. Make it a funny word that will do no harm, and make sure your kids understand that using these words is OK when they want to vent frustration instead of insulting somebody else. Insulting others is never OK, but there is nothing wrong with having a few “pet” words to use when you spill your milk. In fact, you can have a family meeting where the kids help you invent these new words. Write them down and put them on the fridge.
It’s kinda funny, and it works!
Oh – I almost forgot. The statistics on divorce are pretty scary. My personal belief is that many relationship problems stem from one simple concept. That is – people in relationships have a nasty habit of holding their own partner to much higher standards than their best friends. They expect their partners to be mind readers, to never forget, and to understand all feelings even before they are communicated. If you need help with your relationship I highly recommend The Us Factor, by Dr. Joseph Melnick.
Enjoy your children,
The Missing Ingredient to Getting Your Toddler to Sleep Through the Night
It seems like every parent goes though this problem at some point during the infant or toddler years. If you are dealing with a child who won’t stay in bed, or wakes up in tears throughout the night, then I really hope this article helps you.
If you read the conventional advice on parenting, you’ll see very reasonable advice. Usually it goes something like this:
- Be consistent.
- Get your kid to bed earlier rather than later.
- Don’t let your child fall asleep while nursing or rocked. Have them fall asleep in their own bed.
- Don’t “give up” and bring your child into your own bed if you are not in a habit of co-sleeping.
- Put your child to bed when he or she is showing signs of drowsiness, but not already asleep.
What’s the Missing Ingredient?
If this seems really simple to you after reading it, you have my permission to laugh out loud. Here it is: Your child has to have an emotional feeling of comfort from his own bed. If your child feels comforted, warm, cozy, loved, and safe in his or her own bed, sleep issues go away completely.
Yes – completely.
I was reading “The Good Child Guide” by Dr. Noel Swanson the other day and he makes a great point very early on in the book when he says that children do what they do because they WANT to.
If you are a Tony Robbins fan, you know this better by the terminology “pain” and “pleasure”. People seek pleasure and they avoid pain. Their behavior consistently targets these desires. When I started learning about NLP and hypnosis in the late 1990s, Tony Robbins was a huge source of my learning.
When a child won’t stay in bed it is because he either feels that he is missing out on pleasure (playing with Mom and Dad, or doing something fun), or he feels that being in his own bed is painful (scary, boring, cold, etc).
Your job is to fix this problem.
Let’s talk about the “pain” problem first. It’s unlikely that your kid is too cold unless you aren’t dressing him or her properly. If your child is old enough to feel bored in bed, then maybe it’s time for the mid-day nap to stop. But these are NOT the big issues most parents face.
Most “pain” comes from the child being scared or somehow emotionally uncomfortable. You need to take this pain and turn it into pleasure. You want your child to feel so comfortable and safe in bed that he simply LOVES the experience (just like we adults do).
How do you do this?
Establish a routine of preparing your child for bed. Get in the habit of doing things that are calm, relaxing, and enjoyable for your child prior to bed. This sets up an “anchor” so that your child will be in the right frame of mind when going to bed.
Spend “cuddle time” with your child in bed. Snuggle together, talk about things, or read books. This maintains the comfortable state that we talked about above.
Tell stories to reinforce the comfort. This is where the magic happens. You need to learn how to tell stories that have embedded messages in them. I often told my daughters a story about a little bunny rabbit that had fun playing all day, and enjoyed crawling into his comfy bed at the end of the day, snuggling with Mommy and Daddy.
Use “future pacing” in your stories. Future pacing is a way of having your child imagine something that will be happening in the future. In this case we’re talking about the NEAR future, i.e., the next morning! If you are telling a story about a little bunny rabbit, talk about how the bunny lies in bed and feels happy about how much fun he’ll have in the morning when the family has breakfast together, or whatever else you want to put in the story.
Language and Delivery is the Key
If there is anything I want you to really understand, it’s that you need to help your child feel the pleasure of sleepy time and take away any pain. If your kid won’t sleep through the night, or won’t go to bed at all, then you are dealing with an emotional problem. You can’t solve it with logic. You have to solve it by addressing the emotional issues. You need to be involved in the solution by helping do things, and talk about things, with your child, that make him feel comforted and safe.
If you do this, good sleep will follow. I promise.
4 Facts You MUST Understand if you are Ever Going to Effectively Deal with the Terrible Twos or Children Behavior Problems
Behavior is driven by Emotion,
NOT Logic. This is fundamental to everything, including understanding toddler behavior. Behavior, for any person of any age, is determined by their emotional state. People ACT from their emotions, and they later JUSTIFY their actions with logic. But small kids don’t have the ability to use logic, so they act purely from emotion. Keep this in mind when dealing with behavior in toddlers.
We tend to overuse the word “No” when we talk to our kids.
This causes problems with toddler behavior. You remember the story of the boy who cried wolf, right? The little shepherd boy was bored while watching the sheep so he decided to cry wolf and make the villagers come running. Before long, they stopped responding to his false cries. When a parent cries “No” at every little thing, kids stop listening. The parent’s cries fade into the background. Behaviour problems in children can stem from this caveat. I’ll teach you multiple ways to get what you want without screaming “NO” at your child – and it simply works better!
If you want to have any chance at all of influencing your toddler’s behavior, you MUST have rapport first.
Rapport simply means having an emotional connection to another person. I’ll show you how you can learn LOTS of ways to create this crucial emotional bridge before you deal with children behaviour problems.
- Learn this simple way to improve your success rate at getting your kids to listen and do as you ask.
- Discover the biggest common language mistake parents make. This mistake is actually causing your kids to do the opposite of what you want.
- Find out what technique most parents use far too often, making it almost completely useless. When you fix this mistake you’re going to get much better results!
- You’ll also receive a FREE subscription to my parenting tips newsletter ($47 value). The tips I send out are very different than anything you’ve seen. Thousands of parents have experienced the difference they make!
Make sure you check your “bulk”, “junk” or “spam” folders. Sometimes emails get mistakenly filtered.
Language is a powerful tool and there are a bunch of tactics you need to learn to create the outcomes you want. Here’s a specific tip: Use positive language instead of negative language. This is explained in detail either in the free audio lesson above, and in the video presentation.
influence the behavior of toddlers. I encourage all parents to read this. This material completely changes the way you look at parenting toddlers. Dealing with problem toddler behavior is one thing. But if you think longer term, you probably want your kids to have confidence, right? This article on raising self confident children was immensely popular.I’ve also written another article called
Three Year Old Behavior that has generated a huge number of comments from readers. It goes through many of the most common toddler parenting issues you are probably facing. By learning the tools that I teach, you’ll start to learn how to solve these types of parenting problems easily, without thinking about it. Then you’ll say to yourself, “How cool … I can actually DO this stuff”. It feels good.