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How to get your kids to ditch the sailor talk

Updated on September 27, 2012

Kids Say the Darndest Things!

Kids can say the darndest things sometimes. Heck, it's become a lot more common with the evolution of TV, music, movies, and the internet becoming more a part of our daily everyday lives. In fact, it's become a lot easier for kids to pick up on cursing these days. Not saying every show you'll ever see on T.V. or music artist will curse, but it's becoming a lot more common as more shows, movies and artists try to push the envelope of the limits of free speech. However, there are ways in which to discourage your child to cursing.

1. TALK TO YOUR CHILD- When hearing your child curse for the first time, ask them where did they learn such words. Most importantly, let them know you don't approve of them using it. Then of course, you'll have to explain why you don't want them to use those words, then lay out some ground rules. Be stern and strict with them about it. Don't beat around the bush, and just be as direct as possible. Let them know that there will be consequences for their actions. However, you must be willing to follow it if they chose to disobey you.

2. ELIMINATE THE SOURCE-Once your child tells you where they learn those words, eliminate the source after you talked with them. If it turns out to be a neighbor, teacher, or a friend of theirs, then confront them about it. Let them know your not comfortable with them swearing in front of your kid, then demand they stop in a civilize manner. If it turns out to be a friend of theirs, then you can either a) talk to the child's parents about it, or b) tell your child that, "Just because everyone else decides to jump off a cliff, then you don't need to do it too" type speech.

If the source turns out to be something on TV, a movie, or on one of their favorite songs, then you might have to start monitoring what your kids watch and listen to more intently. Easier said than done, but there are ways you can do it without occupying too much of your time. TV's are now being built in with V-chips that allow you block out any show you like. Just refer to your owners manual to learn how to set it up.

If it's an online source, then you might need to consult a computer expert to install software that will allow you to monitor your child's activities, and limit the computer's availability during certain times. Plus, having a password that only you know, for your your pc to access any adult content does help as well.

Optional Methods: Unlike the last two steps that I strongly recommend, these next tips are squarely optional as I'm sure some parents reading will probably disagree with some of the methods I suggest next. However, they are quite effective if you choose to look at them.

Swear Jar: For those unfamiliar with how it works, it's very easy. Simply, tell the child if they insist on cursing. Every time they swear they will have to put in money into the swear jar. Now how much they need to put in for each curse word(s) and what happens to the money is entirely up to you. However, it's important you make them follow this procedure as it's the only way they'll learn. Sadly though, the one flaw about this method is that it only works if the child is receiving a regular allowance and/or they already have money saved up. Otherwise, you might have to resort to other methods.

Washing Mouth Out With Soap: Some parents do this to discipline their child for using profanity. However, I've never met any parents in real life that do this, but I've been told it can be quite effective. Just be sure to always have a bar of unused soap (after all you wouldn't want the child to accidentally swallow any hairs from its' previous use). Then run the soap through some water, then force the child to keep the bar of soap in their mouth for whatever duration of time you see fit. Doing this will obviously leave a bad taste in the child's mouth, as they'll probably think twice before doing it again.

Grounding: I would only advise doing this after you've done necessary steps 1 and 2, where I would advise you to talk to the child and eliminate the source. Then you can use grounding as a threat if they were to ever curse again. How long you can ground them for is entirely up to you. I think at least a week would be good but if you feel that's too harsh, then make it only a few days. Grounding of course, isn't limited to and can include up to taking away their privileges like T.V., video games, talking on the phone, hanging out with their friends, listening to music, and even limiting their time outside the house. Take in mind, if you have a rather defiant and rebellious child, then it might be best to check up on them periodically to make sure they're not trying to escape from their punishment. As some children who are rebellious tend to do.

Spanking: I know I'll probably get a lot of flak for this optional method. However, since it is a method some parents use, I have to say it. You can always spank your child if their profanity continues to get out of line. I would only advise this method as solely as a last resort if the other methods I previously mentioned fail to work. Otherwise, I wouldn't advise it as you could potentially injure the child severely, depending on the method of spanking (i.e. bare bottom or still wearing pants. Using a belt, hand, a paddle and etc). Plus, depending on the child's age, you could potentially shatter their self esteem and/or cause a severe emotional fear of you over time from doing this. However, if the child is truly that rebellious, then you might not have much of a choice than to follow this method. Sure, they may end up hating you and never trusting you again for a while, but it'll get the job done and it will definitely make them think twice before ever disobeying you again. You can take that advice for whatever it's worth, but I would only recommend it as a last resort.

I hope for those of you that read this article, found my advice helpful and will hopefully try some of this advice on their own children. Or if you have no kids, then I hope this article helps you later on down the road if you do decide to have kids of your own someday. Anyway, I hope you all have a b****ing nice day, and f***ing have a happy Easter d*** it!


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    • Stevennix2001 profile imageAUTHOR

      Steven Escareno 

      8 years ago

      yeah, tell me about it. with the internet becoming so popular, it's really getting that much more harder for parents to censor their kid's language these days.

    • wrenfrost56 profile image


      8 years ago from U.K.

      Great hub, good sound advice and your so right it's really easy for children to pick up bad language these day's.

    • Stevennix2001 profile imageAUTHOR

      Steven Escareno 

      8 years ago

      lol. well good luck with that. however, i think the hubpages staff does a great job of that already. however, thanks anyway.

    • Norah Casey profile image

      Norah Casey 

      8 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area

      If only I knew how to get hubbers to ditch the sailor talk. Thanks for the great hub, Steven :)

    • Stevennix2001 profile imageAUTHOR

      Steven Escareno 

      8 years ago

      thanks betty. i don't know if those methods would work on adults. especially if you try it on someone like your husband or boyfriend, as i can imagine he'd probably like the spanking tip. lol. ;)

    • Betty Reid profile image

      Betty Reid 

      8 years ago from Texas

      Great tips! Do they work on adults? I love the cartoons!

    • Stevennix2001 profile imageAUTHOR

      Steven Escareno 

      8 years ago

      Thanks Beth, for stopping by and commenting. I should point out though that the optional methods I mentioned are just ones that I heard other parents use in the past, that worked for them, and not necessarily what methods I would choose to discipline a child. I merely mentioned them as suggestions of what I heard others have done to discipline their children. However, i would strongly encourage the talking to the child part and eliminating the source, as those are two methods that I strongly agree with. However, the other ones, are merely suggestions I used that I know worked for others. However, I hope that your not mad at me for mentioning them though. :( anyway, it was a pleasure again seeing you. :)

    • Beth100 profile image


      8 years ago from Canada

      Alongside the good that children learn from others around them, they unfortunately learn the undesirable behaviors too. Even though you may not use inappropriate language in front of them, others will. It's difficult to stop because they will use it when you are not in ear shot. Some of your suggestions are very good, but I have to disagree with physically hurting a child to get the point across and using soap (which is emotionally and mentally scarring) and could make the child sick. Writing lines, defining the word or phrase and losing privileges of something of value to the child will always catch their attention and make them think twice before repeating the same mistake.

    • Stevennix2001 profile imageAUTHOR

      Steven Escareno 

      8 years ago

      Yeah, that's true. Kids do often imitate what they see and hear, so it's very important that any teacher or parent tries their best to set a good example for them. Especially early on while they're still learning about things. Anyway, thanks again for stopping by. :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      steven this is another amazingly done hub. i cuss like a sailor but when and if i have kids i know i wont do it in front of them ... im always catching myself before i speak in front of kids and i always get on to people that cuss in front of kids because with my history in daycare they are bound to repeat you.

    • Stevennix2001 profile imageAUTHOR

      Steven Escareno 

      8 years ago


      Thanks paradise.

      @ann nonymous

      thanks again ann for such the nice compliment. wow, i didn't know some parents used cayenne pepper also to discipline their children over that. I wish I would've known. Otherwise, i would've put it in my hub. lol. Anyway, thanks again for stopping by ann. :)

    • Ann Nonymous profile image

      Ann Nonymous 

      8 years ago from Virginia

      You did a real good job on this Steven. When I was about four or five years old we lived beside a family whose teenage son cursed. A LOT. And that is where I learned some of the worst words. The thing was that when I repeated them in my anger it became an occasion for laughter as I misprounced them. Imagine a feisty temper saying the most important words of my tryrant wrong! LOL

      However my mom did almost everything you have listed above. Grounding, spanking, a swear jar, soap and even cayenne pepper.

      Thankfully I have outgrown this problem but see it is alarmingly rising in young, young kids speaking so awful! It's shocking!

      So well done and bravo on writing about a subject that needs addressed!

      Oh and great title!

    • Paradise7 profile image


      8 years ago from Upstate New York

      Good one!


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