What do I do about my toddler swearing?

Dear Liz,
My three-year-old daughter recently heard the new Kesha song that features the line, “I’m a motherf**king woman!” and she sings it at the top of her lungs. What do I do?
– Mom of Swearing Tot

Dear Mom of Swearing Tot,

First of all, BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! That is hilarious! Ok, got that out of my system.

Here is the reality of parenting that no keyboard warrior in the comments section wants to admit: kids do things like swearing and it’s totally normal. What isn’t normal is if your toddler starts dropping F bombs in regular conversation. Having honest and age appropriate conversations with your kids about what kind of language is OK and what kind isn’t can be helpful here.

Here are a couple of quick fixes that you can try right now.

Change the lyrics. Instead of singing “motherf**ker” change it to “motherloving” or “fluffanutter” or something silly and fun that she will want to sing out loud instead of the offending lyric.

Ignore it. Sometimes if you give certain behaviors attention it signals to the kid that they’ve got something that gets big reactions out of mom and dad. You’d also have to find a way to avoid that particular song too so that she isn’t feeling compelled to belt it out.

What you don’t want to do is punish your child. She can’t possibly comprehend that singing along to a song that she is hearing in the safety of her home or family car or wherever is bad. That would be to assume that she understands what a “motherf**ker” is and that that word is pretty darn inappropriate. Also, don’t lecture. Three-year-olds don’t respond well to nagging or lectures. Keep it super simple, “we don’t say that” should suffice, just make sure to use that phrase – while avoiding swearing situations – consistently.

And finally, document this story somewhere because someday, when your daughter is an adult, you’ll both get a pretty big laugh out of it.

Good luck!

~ Liz

If you have a question for Dear Liz and her team of experts just drop us an email at dearliz@bangordailynews.com.