Dealing with Potty Mouth

by | May 18, 2012

My darling little Landon, the youngest of my 3 boys, somehow learned some foul vocabulary at a much younger age than his brothers ever did…

When he was 3 years old, he’d say some obscenity and boy, did he ever get a reaction from his brothers’ friends!  They were shocked and would tattle, and little Landon just stood there and beamed from all the attention.  I remember a funny conversation between Landon and his dad when he was three:
Dad:  “Landon, we don’t say that!”
Landon:  “But I not say [email protected]#!”
Dad:  “You just said it!”
Landon:  “No, I not say [email protected]#!”

Landon has been told over and over that we don’t cuss, but nothing has gotten him to stop.  Tempting as it may be, I am not a fan of washing mouths out with soap. But I’ve got to admit, I sure have come close to doing it!

So a couple weeks ago, my now-6-year-old Landon left a voice message for my girlfriend Debbie, and he said his version of “the f-word.”  Finally, he was “caught.”  I wasn’t just hearing his brothers tattling about it… this time I could hear it for myself.  So here’s what happened to address his cussing problem, and so far it has worked like a charm:

First, he had to go to my friend’s house and talk to her.  She told him that even her high schooler doesn’t cuss and that they don’t like anyone to cuss in their house or around them.  She was kind and respectful and did a great job and he was mortified by this “correction” and took it very seriously.

Next, he had to interview three adults and ask them:
1) What do you think about cussing?
2) How do you feel when people cuss around you?
3) He had to make a little book with what he had learned from his interviews and illustrate it.  I then had it laminated and bound, and he now has a “Book About Not Cussing.”

Getting Landon to hear other people’s views on cussing made more of an impact on him than having his parents tell him to stop doing it.  He got to hear that three of his favorite adults… a grandpa, a grammy, and an uncle all prefer not to be around people who cuss a lot.  It was eye-opening.  Instead of cussing continue to be a power struggle, Landon now had new information and chose to make a different decision.  (One tip:  before having a child call an adult for something like this, always talk to the adult first.)  This strategy has worked with my oldest son slapping little girl’s rear ends in kindergarten, and it worked great when my second son was lying a lot.


Kerry Stutzman, MSW
©2012 Kerry Stutzman, Head & Heart Parents

+++++
Head & Heart Parents is owned by Kerry Stutzman, MSW, a Marriage and Family Therapist and certified Love and Logic Parenting Instructor. In addition to private therapy and parent consulting services, Kerry offers parenting classes and workshops in Denver and the surrounding areas for toddlers, elementary, and teenage children.

As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.

+++++

Visit Kerry’s extensive collection of articles on parenting…a treasure trove of tips and insights.

Calm Parenting

Before I had kids, I always pictured myself as a calm, loving, happy, and nurturing mother. I was sometimes. I still am sometimes. I didn’t realize how hard I would have to work sometimes just to avoid coming completely unglued and falling apart right there on the...

That was then…This is now

As I watch, walk, read and listen, I am horrified and heartbroken about the systemic pervasiveness of disrespect and destruction of Black people’s lives that is rooted in racism.

One Way to Start Mother’s Day 2020

I think the sweetest gift I could receive would be WORDS. Words that in spite of my imperfections, my humanity, my annoying idiosyncrasies, and my mistakes along the way … that they’ll take me the way I am. That I am enough.

Raising Boys Made Me Braver

I have had to call up the intrepid, courageous, and active parts of me that, up until motherhood, had laid somewhat dormant.

The Car Sanctuary

So often while driving, my kids would fall asleep and I found that to be a quiet peaceful time. So, I decided to make my car my sanctuary.

Instead of M&M’s, Kids Need More N&Ns – AKA: My Kid Hates When I Say “No”

One day when I took my young son to Burger King, he wanted something he couldn’t have and I said no. It didn’t work out well for either of us.  What he wanted was “white pop” (known to older kids as Sprite). I was OK with that. I held the cup to the Sprite label on...

Popsicle vs. Poopsicle: your ticket to better dinner conversation

It's possible that dinner conversation is not quite what you had dreamed of. I had fantasies of a happy family gathered around, politely eating a meal that they appreciated and each person happily chatting about their day, one at a time. If you have that,...

How Do We Parent in Ways We Weren’t Parented?

Make lasting changes in behavior that last a lifetime and span multiple generations. In some ways, it's easy to parent our children in ways we weren't parented, right?  I was a latch-key kid with a working mom who was gone a lot. When it came time for me to be a mom,...

What Is Head and Heart Parents About?

Hi! I’m Kerry Stutzman. At Head and Heart Parents, we care about all things related to parenting.  I, and the other therapists I work with, think about the entire system of a family, from the well-being of the kids to the sanity and sense of humor of the parents....

My Favorite New Year’s Resolution

I loved this resolution because it helped bring to life a piece of me that I longed for: the part that can pause long enough to truly see and hear my children’s words and respond with a smile