Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Toddler Swearing – When 'Time Outs' Don’t Work, Send Them To Jail


It’s not as if my 2-year old daughter has been watching Eddie Murphy Raw on late night TV, hanging out at the local Jr. High, or listening to rap music and throwing around F-bombs like Dora and her pet monkey Bubbles.

Nope, she’s been watching DVD’s like Pixar’s “A Bug’s Life”, Disney’s “A Goofy Movie” or a number of the so-called kid friendly movies which happen to use words like “idiot”, “stupid”, “shut-up” and “bad-Ass” in them (actually not the last one, but give Dreamworks some time and I’m sure they make a Quentin Tarantino & George Carlin animated “buddy” movie…)
Who would have thought these movies can cause a toddler to begin spouting off a kid’s version of swearing and use them correctly in context? Not me.

These days when she’s mad, angry, upset, tired, or when gravity doesn’t conform to her will she’ll yell out things like “Stupid (insert person’s or inanimate objects name)!!” or “Shut up, (insert person’s or inanimate objects name)!!”
What a far cry from her original version of swearing just a few months ago -- which was clapping her hands and yelling “HERE! KITTY! KITTY!” followed by a raspberry noise.
Maybe my uncontainable laughter at the act caused her to look for something with more authority?

Nonetheless, this needs to stop. So now I’m upping the ante with some good old fashion discipline to control this and a host of other “terrible two’s” behavior.

The traditional toddler discipline methods:
Time-Out – Which work most of the time, but doesn't quite work outside of the house.
Take-Away – Toys, princesses, crayons, Tupperware, etc.
Spanking – I still can’t do this. I’m not opposed to it and want the option just in case things get really bad, like if she pulled a knife at the ice cream truck.

Now I’m resorting to--
The non-traditional methods:
Jail – This works while in the car. I’ve told her jail is a place where people cry all day, no magic exists, and they play Mike Meyer’s “The Cat in the Hat” all day long (that movie makes her upset and cry.)
Monsters – Usually at night before bedtime I tell her that if she doesn’t behave, monsters will come and eat her legs while she sleeps. And Princesses need legs to be ballerinas.
Evil Bunnies – For some odd reason jackrabbits have started popping up around my neighborhood. I’ve told her that these bunnies can be nice or can chase bad children who don’t listen to their daddy’s.
Upset Princess Call –I pretend I’m talking with Cinderella on the phone and she asks for her Princess clothes and toys back because my daughter has been bad.

She’s been pretty upset with Cinderella these past few days. I just hope she never runs into her at an ice cream truck…

52 comments:

Nicole P said...

Nope, not that I can think of, nothing really works except for continually telling them firmly to not say that.
You girl is not so bad. My son caught an episode of South Park that my husband was watching and told everyone to "Suck his balls" for about 6 months straight.

Roth Family Adventures said...

Our almost two year old has become a bit of a potty mouth lately. He dropped the f-bomb the other day. His behavior has been crazy lately and timeouts are working. I think I shall try some of your creative and unorthodox methods. I'll let you know how it goes.

Denguy said...

The Cat in the Hat movie makes me cry, too.
I'd go with the Evil Bunnies as your best bet.

Funny post, by the way.

Haley-O said...

Oooo, those methods are GOOD! I HAVE to try the monster and the princess call.... I especially like the part when you say "princesses need legs to be ballerinas" -- that's the kicker, I bet! (and HAHAHA - that one is CLASSIC!)

Fairly Odd Mother said...

We've been trying the 'naughty step' for a while for time outs. Once, my son would not sit on the step at all, so I brought him to the top of the stairs, where there is a gate, and left him there for a few minutes to get the message. He got really upset and promised to be better. Well, turns out that he is petrified of the ceiling fan (our huge 'whole house fan' which, incidentally, has not been turned on since last September).

So, now, when he won't stay on the stair, I ask him if he wants to go to the top of the stairs again. Whoa boy, does that make him sit put.

The evil bunnies thing is priceless. My little two are afraid of anyone in a costume, so maybe I'll tell them that Mickey Mouse will come get them if they act up. Although, we are going to Disney in the fall and I can see this method backfiring.

Dad Stuff said...

I'm glad to hear that 'stupid' and 'shut-up' are considered bad words elsewhere too.

Darren said...

We've actually used the Princess call. Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella calls and says that they don't want a bad girl at Disney World. If only that were true.

Beverly said...

"Ice Age II" has "damn" and "crap" in it. That made me pretty mad.
I thought "Transformers" would be cool for my son, but I heard it has the f-word in it, so we'll pass. Since when are Transformers for adults? Sheesh!
I was scolded by the kids the other day because the weather man said it was going to snow, and I said "shut up!" to the car radio.

Beck said...

We're big fans of the Step Of Banishment. And also, we spank. Not for swearing, but for BIG THINGS - like the time one of the kids tried to hit another one of the kids with a hammer. That's a spanking RIGHT THERE.

Ok, Where Was I? said...

There's something kinda cute, though, about swear words coming out, correctly or incorrectly, of a little one's mouth. I mean, I don't encourage it, but still, when it happens.

You're so twisted. I love it.

creative-type dad said...

Beck -- Wow! Yeah, a hammer, knife, sharp weapons, alcohol...they all would be spank-worthy in my book.

Beverly -- That is shocking. I'm told that studios add words to push the rating up to PG-13 to make them more appealing to teenagers and young kid-dults. They won't go see a movie with a PG rating. But then that new Dr. Suess movie has a "GÆ rating and half the audience was teenagers and young adults.

Darren -- I wish it were true too. Maybe they could have Mary Poppins running around scolding bad kids...?

Dad Stuff -- Yup, especially coming from a 2-year old.

Nicole P -- That's just funny! But yeah, I wouldn't want my kid to walk around saying that.... unless he was a teamster.

mama speak said...

Creative Type--our youngest cusses us out but no one can understand what she's saying. She just screeches and shouts no a lot. It's actually pretty classic, but you totally understand from her tone what she's saying. I fully expect her to drop an F-bomb one of these days.
Also, spanking (in our house) is reserved for things that they could get seriously hurt from: running into the street, reaching for stove top (or trying to turn stove knobs), moving stuff to climb on next to large, single pane picture window. Sounds like it gets used a lot around our house.

Beck--did you hit him with that hammer???? I think that might be going too far, but maybe not.

Jenster said...

I'm all for creative discipline. I say whatever works.

Velma said...

I am very familiar with "Mike Myers/CITH" phobia as well - so much so that on a recent evaluation for my son, his teacher checked "yes" next to the question about unusual or repetitive fears of objects or people and wrote in underneath, "The Cat in the Hat."

Creative discipline is key to good parenting - you figure out what they will really get upset about and use it! I like the fan at the top of the stairs example, and here's another one: one of my daughter's friends is extremely anal about getting his homework done right after school. At a recent activity, he was acting up, and his mom threatened to have his dad come get him but that she would keep his homework with her, knowing how batsit crazy this would make him. He settled down.

Whatever works, right? (Short of hammers, that is...)

Jackie said...

Oh Tony, how you make me laugh. Upset Princess calls! Priceless.

My daughter (she's almost 6)will still tell me, all horrified "Mommy, they said a bad word!" if she hears one of the characters say stupid or shut up in a movie.

Pageant Mom said...

Don't come crying to us when she ends up in years of therapy because of her parent's creative punishment techniques. ;o)

Of course you could relate to her what happened to little bunny foo foo when the fairy got irritated with said bunny's failure to behave.... and you know that fairy, very,very, well...

LOL

Maureen said...

My daughter has just started with the "stupid" and "dummy" thing. I don't know where she gets it. Nothing seems to work well, so far. I haven't tried any of your non-traditional methods -- in my house all they would produce is a scared preschooler in my bed at 2 a.m.
I totally have to monitor the video watching, though. We recently rented what seemed to be an innocent Superman cartoon for my son and I caught "Shut the hell up!" and immediately turned the program off. WTF??? I admit that I curse like a sailor when my kids aren't around, but it annoys me that the children's library doesn't put some sort of disclaimer on the videos it loans:)

KATE said...

I completely agree with non traditional methods. Just be ready to pay for some therapy when that Monsters will come & eat your legs comes back to haunt you! ha ha ha! I'm all for the whatever works, especially with a toddler there are NO instruction booklets for a reason!
Good Luck!!

Anonymous said...

Mike Meyers as the Cat in the Hat makes me angry and cry, too. I think Jim Carrey should have had that role...
Wait, what were we talking about again?
~Diana @ Stuck in Elmo's World

Kerrie said...

You freakin' crack me up!

Melody said...

I'm telling you - The Bad Boy/Girl Monster works.

Also, there's a Bad Boy - uh Girl Store, where parents can trade in their bad kids for good ones - or so I've heard...

My kids REALLY want to go to jail. Weirdos.

painted maypole said...

you are my parenting guru

Wendy said...

Ha! Those are great, but you must post a follow-up about how to handle the nightmares of monsters, evil bunnies and mean princesses! :)

Mommy Bits said...

YOu could try the "socks of shame"? When I was younger, my mom would make me wear socks on my hands for 15 minutes as punishment. No matter what took place during that 15 minute time frame I had to keep them on.

The Real Mother Hen said...

Haha :)
This makes me wanna call your house, pretend to be a bad princess and leave a 'bad' message :)

Maureen said...

Oh, if you think it's bad now, just WAIT.

Teens are not far off.

What's your brilliant plan to tackle THAT???

But it IS funny, nonetheless. Just don't let her see you laughing.

creative-type dad said...

maureen -- You're scaring me...I don't even want to think about "the teen years"

Mommy Bits -- That's a great idea. That might be good for teenagers.

Melody -- You must send me the name of that bad kid store. I hope they don't require receipts for exchanges.

Brian said...

Last month one of my twins said a really, truly foul word and I told her "Daddy can't live in a home where girls talk like that."

I guess I should go back sometime, though. I'm running out of underwear.

Oh, The Joys said...

I sit on mine. Squish!

Rooster calls me a "poopy butty."

Nice.

Her Bad Mother said...

Upset Princess Call. Am stealing that one.

mrsmogul said...

SHe really might believe CInderella is areal person if you tell her you're talking to her. Wait! She is real! I saw her serving sandwiches at Subway recentlY!

Sarah O. said...

EVIL BUNNIES?!

Wow, you DO play hardball! ;-D

pb&j in a bowl said...

If we are in public, I find someone with a bluetooth and tell maddie that they are one of Santa's elves in disguise. And that they are on the phone with him. Which is the reason that I can't get a bluetooth- she'd want to talk to Santa herself. Hey- it works

Scarlett Wanna Be said...

There is always washing her mouth out with soap, but then isn't that known to cause blindness?

creative-type dad said...

pb&j in a bowl -- I like that idea... I'll have to try it out closer to Christmas.

Sarah O. -- Yup! And I bet she'll never go up to a bunny ever again without thinking twice.

Mitch McDad said...

I like the princess thing. I'm going to start using that.

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

Aren't ALL BOO-BEES disturbing yet useful?

I thought that was criteria #1 & #2 on the BOO-BEE FOR LIFE scale!!

Happy Easter!

Hallie

beaverhausen said...

My baby sister has said much worse...and they increase in terribleness as she gets older. Watching movies like, "Scary Movie" or "Mean Girls" while she's there can't be good, huh?

I think having my sisters (who are 16 and 13) and me (18) as role models has corrupted her.

I feel kinda bad...

J-Ko From The Block said...

upset princess call... hilarious. My boy's 6 months but i'm prepared to use "non-traditional methods".

I enjoy your blog :-)

Amrita said...

Both the methods of discipline work i garuntee you that. a mix of both would do.

creative-type dad said...

J-Ko From The Block -- I recommend the upset "Spiderman" or "Hungry dinosaur that eats bad children" method on boys.

Wonderful World of Weiners -- No, not really. Only ones that are shot glasses or on Bea Arthur.

wayabetty said...

Ok, now you're creeping me out with the monster coming out at night and eating legs! I might have to call DSS or SuperNanny on you Tony!

JCK said...

Upset Princess Call ROCKS!

creative-type dad said...

wayabetty -- No...not Supernanny! I don't want to see myself on her "portable DVD of shame".

jck -- So far... that Princess call is proving to be the most effective.
If they only made potty training videos....

foop said...

So glad I'm not alone.

Once, when my son was two, he thought I was taking him to the drycleaners (where I had parked) instead of the ice cream joint next door. He said, "That not ice cweam, mommy, that fking shirts".

Now he's four and a half and his favorite word is "whatever". What's left for adolescence? I shudder to think!

nonlineargirl said...

I say put her on the phone with Cinderella. Just before christmas, my godson was pitching a fit every time his parents tried to put clothes on him. His mom had my father-in-law pose as santa on the phone, and the kid promised to be better about the whole dressing thing, in exchange for presents. It totally worked.

If kid "celebrities" can be used to bribe, they can be used to punish, right?

Leslie said...

Bunnies are scary. Haven't you SEEN monty python? That's no laughing matter. Poor kid. I hope you don't make her sleep in a clown bed too. That would just be the worst punishment EVER.

creative-type dad said...

Leslie -- WOW!! I love the clown bed idea. I need to create one...

nonlineargirl -- So true. My wife was going to call as Cinderella, but it became a hassle as time is a very important factor when disciplining a toddler.
I find it's much easier to just pretend she's on the phone that instant.

foop -- I didn't realize dry cleaners brought that out in kids.

urban-urchin said...

These are genius. I will be modifyin g them a bit for my three year old son- but I will be using them. If only for my own amusement.

Kristen Caven said...

This is great. I've often gotten fuzzed (my term) at movies that go where I don't. (I believe there is even a... um... anal sex joke in Open Season.)

Do you ever post to commonsensemedia.org? Kids these days...have no idea.

I nearly died when my niece (5) told her sister (2) that she should say "suck my v******" instead of "suck my d***" (but without the asterisks).... AT OUR TEA PARTY!

I wish I'd picked up the phone and talked to the Big C.

Anonymous said...

Kristen Caven-
Think I would have to spank both those girls, that's just obscene. Then wash there mouths for being so absolutely filthy. My mother used lava bar soap on me once as a child and i'm telling you after one scrape of the soap across my bottom teeth I never even thought of saying bad words again... Till older, but I'll always remember the taste well!

Jones said...

Man no offense, but don't you think it's a bit to harsh to behave as such with kids? I mean my parents used to beat the crap out of me for swearing, but really that didn't stop them to swear, nor me to imitate them for that matter!