My three-year-old son has discovered the fun of saying words like stupid and poopy. It’s making me crazy. Did you have to deal with that?
Our Mommy MD Guide’s reply: Absolutely. My sons love to sit in their car seats especially and speak words that I don’t approve of. It’s unfortunate that even Sponge Bob calls Patrick stupid. This can be especially challenging when you have kids of different ages. The older one watches things that then the younger is exposed to at an earlier age.
When my five- and three-year-old sons say things like that, I explain to them that those words aren’t appropriate, and that they are not allowed in our house or in our car.
For our three-year-old, the consequence of saying those words is a time-out. That usually puts and end to it.
For our five-year, the consequence of saying those words is losing a privilege. We generally don’t specify what that privilege will be. If we get to that point, my husband and I have to figure it out. That’s because taking away a privilege often affects the other parent, too. For example, if I say you can’t watch TV, and my husband will be watching him all afternoon, that’s not really fair to my husband.
One important thing I’ve found is we need to get our sons’ babysitter and teachers on board. We let them know whenever there’s a new not-allowed word. Our kids need to have the same rules and consequences when they’re with the babysitter and at school as when they’re at home.
—Carrie Brown, MD, a mom of two and a general pediatrician who treats medically complex children and specializes in palliative care at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock