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Toddler help - swearing & bath time..

big bear

A bear on a mission!
S: 14st7lb

My little boy who is nearly 3 has started swearing, he's started saying f*cking...he just says things like 'where's my f*cking train? or 'close the f*cking door'...

He's picked this up from my in laws as they swear non stop and also I must confess that occasionally (not often) I say it.

I've tried saying to him that's a naughty word please don't use it but he's swore all day today.

Any advice? What's the best thing to do?

Also he used to love going to the bath. He'd sit and play in it and then I'd wash his hair etc although he hated the water in his eyes but I always made him hold a flannel over his eyes.

He now refuses to go....I've even said to him you can just sit and play in it and that I won't wash your hair, anything to get him just to have a wash but no joy whatsoever.

Any advice?

Thanks my lovelies..XX
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Now he knows its naughty to say that word, that makes it all the more fun. He is old enough for you to start with "naughty step" technique a la Supernanny if you want to try it, but requires consistency in approach to work properly. The other option is to simply ignore it. He is doing it to get a reaction, so if he doesnt get one, he will most likely get bored of doing it pretty quickly. I went through this with my son, and every time he said it, I said "no, no, you arent saying it right, its flip flop!" and this amused him (you do have to be careful not to keep using it around him though, which is easier said than done coz you cant control what comes out of other peoples mouths!) to the point where he would say flip flop instead and thus offended no-one.

As for the bathing - is there some obvious reason why he might have had this sudden turn around? Something as simple as seeing a spider in the bath on telly? I remember one of my kids seeing a cartoon where the kids on it were frightened of the water going down the plughole because they thought they would be washed away with it and that caused my daughter some trauma, I had to explain to her that she was far too big to go down the plughole and then show her to ease her fears.

Silly question, but have you tried having a conversation with him about it and asking him why he doesnt like going in the bath any more? Did he give any insight?

big bear

A bear on a mission!
S: 14st7lb
I've no idea why he suddenly stopped wanting a bath before he's ask to go in the bath all the time absolutely loved it.

I asked him why and all he'll say is I don't like the bath. I asked him what he was scared off & he just keeps saying I don't like it. I even said that he can just splash & play with the bubbles & splash me but no joy.

I just ran him a bath half an hr ago and let him help me & messed about with the bubbles & I lifted him in & he absolutely roared and kept saying get me out get me out....I really don't know why the sudden extreme change from loving it so much...

I even said I won't wash your hair thinking maybe it was that but no he just seems petrified...X


synful soul
S: 107kg C: 85kg G: 79kg BMI: 33.2 Loss: 22kg(20.56%)
I think I would have to have a word with the in laws about them swearing in front of him. It is inexcusable. The adults in his life are his example of how to behave. He is the innocent. I would be outraged had anyone used that kind of language in front of my son when he was 3 years old.

Does he ever have a bath anywhere other than at home with you ??? If so, ask has anything happened to scare him.

hugs Sue, cyber granny xxxxxxxxxx


One day at a time, one step at a time
S: 18st8lb C: 18st8lb G: 12st0lb BMI: 44.6 Loss: 0st0lb(0%)
I can't post a long reply as minimins playing up for me today :(

Bath - 2 of mine did this at that age. Just a phase. Blooming nightmare though. What worked for me was taking them shopping and buying 'special' bath toys. Nothing expensive just a few new bits.

Swearing -I would use the norty step, mat, corner, 1 min for each year of age, each time he swears. Warn first ie talk and explain each time he swears which you find unacceptable he will go to the norty step. Carry it through every time. They soon get bored I used to have to sit with them as they wouldn't stay there but soon got the message.

I also told mine that i I swore they could tell me off too. only fair :D

goodluck sweetie xxx


I will be a Princess!
S: 18st2.5lb C: 18st2.5lb G: 11st0lb BMI: 41.1 Loss: 0st0lb(0%)
I don't have children myself, but lived with my friend and her 4 year old...she used to put her on the naughty step for 4 minutes when she'd misbehaved, or on the mat in front of the front door. Both positions meant she couldn't be seen from the living room, and she also couldn't see in. She soon got fed up of having to sit there as she craved attention! xx
I'd ban in-laws if they couldn't control their tongues!

Have you got/tried a shower instead? My GS wasn't petrified of the bath - he just didn't want to go in it after loving it forever. His mum offered him a 'big-boys' shower instead & he was converted.


Gold Member
S: 17st7lb C: 10st10lb G: 10st5lb BMI: 24.2 Loss: 6st11lb(38.78%)
In my experience too kids go through this love-hate relationship with baths.

Of more concern (though it might just be me) is the swearing.

I would be very, very tempted to take the soap from the side of the bath and wash out the filthy mouths of the in-laws using language like that in front of my kids, or my grandkids.

They'd not be allowed anywhere near my brood swearing like that. Kids will pick enough of that up from peers/school playground etc. without family sullying their minds:(
No advice on bathing i'm afraid but on te swearing - my sister banned everyone from her house when she heard her daughter use both the f & c word at the age of three ( i was there at the time i it was not pretty) - though it was also the day i realised my niece was exceedingly clever, as she managed to put both words into a full sentence directed at a person whom richly deserved the insult. Regardleas, naughty step for the niece, followed by an explanationas to why it was not acceptable language, a right good talking to for pretty much everyone else & no visitors to the house for about 6 months. Don't be concerned with your inlaws feelings - if they have any sense they will be appalled that he might have picked it up from them. If they aren't, i'd probably want to limit (as much as you can without causing a family feud) their contact with him.

big bear

A bear on a mission!
S: 14st7lb
Unfortunately I've no choice as they have to go to in laws 3 days a week when I'm at work. It's more my MIL (surprise surprise)

He's starting pre-school in Sept so he'll only be going there 1 day a week.
He is obviously terrified of the bath and although it may not seem logical to you, it does to him. There is a reason, even if you can't understand what it is. And he is far too young to explain.

One thing you could try is giving him some toys to play with in the bathroom, and listen to what he says - sometimes children talk to themselves, or to their toys, about what is bothering them, and you could maybe pick up some clues.

Find some washing options that won't scare him. A shower, or how about sitting him on the kitchen draining board with his feet in the sink, and sponging him down?
God,that's a tough one as you don't want to insult the inlaws. Could you drop it into conversation with MIL (ds has been saying x,y and z,any ideas on how I can stop it? People love giving advice (look at us all here!) and it might make her more aware.) as for naughty step,I keep that for bigger misbehaviours that I can warn her about (do that again and you'll end up on the step)...bad language has come into the equation a few times- I'm to blame myself,I'm sure...the 'oh s**t' comes out sometimes without me realising! (I'm a teacher,you think I'd be used to filtering my thoughts. But no!) I just tell her that they are not nice words,that mommy (orcwhoever) shouldn't use them either but people use them when they forget the good words. Then (like the lady with flip flop) we make a game of thinking up silly words we can use when things go wrong.
As for the bath,i'd try little incentives like the new bath toys,or a favourite treat if he even sits on the side and paddles. If he's willing to shower I'd just let it go and he'll get over it soon enough. Does he have any cousins or anything the same age? Whenever dd is reluctant to do something,I arrange one of her cousins to join us. Nothing like a bit of competition. Never fails!


Gold Member
S: 21st12.5lb C: 21st4lb G: 12st0lb BMI: 45.3 Loss: 0st8.5lb(2.77%)
Maybe he could have a bath with you? But personally I wouldn't force the issue, I'd go buy a washing up bowl and strip wash him whilst he's standing in it.

Or use the baby bath if you still have one.

The swearing is attention seeking so remain calm and try this.

Find a visual aid like a reward board. But take away rather than add as he needs to see consequences of bad behaviour. Then if he has enough tokens left he can have a reward.


Full Member
S: 13st1lb C: 5st12.2lb G: 11st0.3lb BMI: 13.7 Loss: 7st2.8lb(55.08%)

I agree with the post above don't force the bath issue, most kids go through this phase and come out it pretty quickly if a fuss doesnt get made of them not going in the bath, try a shower if you have one if not a standing up wash in a basin would do. However, it's important that these alternatives are not a punishment, and equally not play time, just a run of the mill option.

I'd introduce the idea about 15 minutes before, explain choices - maybe with different time, so you can chose either have a 3 minute stand up wash, story and bed (if that's your routine) or you can go in the bath for 10 minutes and we'll play pirates or sharks or fishing etc and the. Story and bed - making the bath the more attractive time delaying option.

As for the swearing - unless it's being said within context (ie deliberately at you with malice) the best thing to do is ignore it. Clearly the meaning is lost on him but saying it get him attention. Likely he's learned that it gets attention because when adults say it it generally has meaning and they get attention from other adults when they say it. The ignoring of the swearing has to go hand in hand with lots of praise and positive reinforcement when he talks nicely, for example: please can I have a biscuit? Yes darling you can have a biscuit, especially because you asked so nicely, mummy is really proud of you when you show your manners blah blah blah.

If you really feel you need to reprimand the swearing it should be done with positive reinforcement where you can (even though you often feel like an idiot) but it gives them examples to draw on: for example - where's my f'in train? I don't know darling, that really isn't a nice word to use, I like it when you use nice words, if you think of another way to ask I would help you look for it, I really like helping polite boys.

Hope that's helpful. I work with special needs children and foster children to develop their social skills and that's what we would be doing in those instances.

You've basically gotta make it in their best interests to do what you want without making it look like this is just to give you an easier life if you know what I mean.

Sent from my iPhone using MiniMins


Gold Member
S: 16st8lb C: 13st4.6lb G: 10st10lb BMI: 30.3 Loss: 3st3.4lb(19.57%)
God,that's a tough one as you don't want to insult the inlaws. Could you drop it into conversation with MIL (ds has been saying x,y and z,any ideas on how I can stop it? People love giving advice (look at us all here!) and it might make her more aware.)
Sorry, but I wouldn't care in the slightest about insulting the inlaws - if they swear in front of your child then then have forgone their rights to spend time with him until they stop it!
Shes already said that she relies on them for childcare while shes at work, so she cant afford to get on their wrong side too much.

I think they do need to be made aware that they are contributing to this problem, but as BB said, she occasionally forgets herself too, so demonising them for doing the same thing is not really too helpful. Better to make them aware of the impact they are having than cutting off her nose to spite her face.

I had a problem with my mums ex, which is how we ended up having to replace the word with flipflop in the first place. He however, thought it was HILARIOUS seeing a small child saying such adult words and so in the end it became impossible to leave them in the same room together.


synful soul
S: 107kg C: 85kg G: 79kg BMI: 33.2 Loss: 22kg(20.56%)
Unfortunately I've no choice as they have to go to in laws 3 days a week when I'm at work. It's more my MIL (surprise surprise)

He's starting pre-school in Sept so he'll only be going there 1 day a week.
Sorry I am afraid that no matter what has been said and by people I respect and whose opinions are always valid, My first port of call would be MIL. She must surely realise what she is doing to this little tot who when he goes to pre-school may be penalised for his bad language and the parents of other children
who have not been subjected to such extremely bad language will not want their children associating with him. Then a few years down the line you will be faced with the same thing again with your daughter. It needs to be nipped in the bud now.
It is unfair to your children. They will be judged by the language they use and so will you as their parent.

I agree with all that has been said about not making a fuss with him.......but once again sorry, MIL and I would be having a reasonable ,unheated chat where I would be pointing out that what she is doing is unfair to the grand children she loves and because of her bad behaviour they are going to suffer not her.

That you have a difficult relationship with your MIL makes it harder for you but you must surely have OH 100% behind you on this matter. He cannot want his children to suffer because of his mother.

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