How to Teach Toddler Not to Swear?

How can I teach my toddler not to swear?
profile picture of Kate Roberts, PhD, licensed clinical psychologist in Salem, Massachusetts
ByKate Roberts, PhD, licensed clinical psychologist in Salem, Massachusetts
Clinical Psychologist
Mar 2017
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There’s nothing like having your 2-year-old drop the “F-bomb” in front of Aunt Faye or your nosy neighbor. But don’t sweat it too much — swear words are everywhere, and a child’s number-one job is to copy the adults around them. The most important reaction is to have_ no _reaction. The more weight you give a swear word, the more this sounds out a signal that this is an important word, and one your child will want to repeat.

So if it’s a one time thing, just let it go, but if it happens regularly, it’s time to have a conversation. Start by telling him that the “bad” word makes you sad (a concept he clearly understands by now), and that it’s not a word you like to use. That’s really all you have to say.

Of course, you should try to keep your own conversations clean. The more you curse, the more he’ll try to imitate you.

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