My Toddler Used to Say a Bad Word Because of Me—Here’s How I Fixed ThisA mom shares how she turned things around.CREATED WITH JOHNSON'S
How many times have you seen a toddler pick up a phone and talk as if someone is on the other line, or say “I love you” back when you say the same words to them?
Toddlers are natural imitators. They copy the behavior and language of their parents even if these are not intentionally taught to them.
As cute as this may seem, some parents soon find out that not everything their toddlers copy from adults will be a source of delight. Mian Arcega, mom to 2-year-old Nara, learned this the hard way when she heard her daughter blurt out a bad word.
As she was driving one day, Mian was shocked to hear her little one, who was seated at the backseat, utter an expletive. “Out of the blue, Nara just said, ‘P*cha!’ I looked at her in disbelief, and she just had this naughty smile on her face. I was so surprised because I didn’t think I’d generally say that word,” Mian recounts.
It wasn’t long before Mian realized how her daughter came to learn that word. “My husband and I were watching a series on Netflix, and I said the same word out of surprise. I felt so guilty! I may have been saying it all along unconsciously,” she says.
“It was a lesson for my husband and me to be more conscious of what we say around our daughter since she picks up certain words and habits so quickly now that she’s 2.”
Unlike many parents who, out of shock, instinctively react by telling off their child in a loud voice or giving him or her “the stare,” Mian says she practiced gentle — even witty — approaches to teaching Nara that some words are offensive and shouldn’t be said at all. Here are some of her tried-and-tested techniques:
1. Avoid making a big deal out of it.
“Try not to laugh or ask the child to repeat the word. You can also pretend like you didn’t hear it or immediately change the topic. The less emphasis placed on it, the easier it is for them to forget it altogether,” Mian advises.
2. Be more mindful of your own words and actions.
“After that incident, my husband and I have become very conscious with our words when Nara is around,” Mian says. It also made her realize how important it is for parents to model positive behavior and language around toddlers.
3. Teach your child kind words.
“Teach them to use kind words like po and opo, please, excuse me, sorry, and thank you for emphasizing the value of respect,” the mom says.
4. Turn a ‘What?!’ into ‘wit.’
“What did you say?” is a line parents often say upon hearing their child say a bad word, but Mian found a wittier way around it. “Whenever Nara repeated the bad word, I would tell her, ‘It’s pusa, a cat! Meow, meow!’ She was confused at first, but with enough repetition, she got it,” the mom says.
5. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
It’s easy for parents to feel guilty when things like this happen, but you need to learn to be gentle and kind to yourself as well. As Mian puts it, “We are human, after all.”
Like Mian, parents can teach their kids to be gentle, and the best way to do so is by showing them how it’s done.
JOHNSON’S® believes that gentle parenting is the key to creating a better, kinder world for children. It aims to foster an environment where kids understand the power of a gentle word or touch, and where they can feel confident to heard and understood. As such, the brand launched a new parenting movement last August encouraging parents to #ChooseGentle in the way they raise their children and in the products that they use.
The event was attended by gentle parenting advocates Bianca Gonzalez-Intal, John Prats, Sunshine Garcia-Castro, Saab Magalona, Divine Lee, and Paolo Valenciano, as well as other moms, who learned about Sarah Ockwell-Smith's 3 Cs of gentle parenting: that parents must learn to Connect or bond with their children, Communicate to understand their behavior, and be Consistent with the boundaries set with them.
Remember that gentleness goes a long way, especially in a world where being harsh is so easy to pick up. It begins by modeling gentle behavior in your home, so your kids carry the same value as they grow up.
This gentleness toward your children also extends to the products you choose for them. When picking bath and skin care essentials, go for those that are gentle on the skin like the Johnsons Baby products, now 100% gentle and designed for zero irritation. They are free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates and dyes. There are JOHNSON’S® products for your baby’s every age and stage, including top-to-toe baths, shampoos, lotions, oils, powders, and more.
For more information, visit www.johnsonsbaby.com.ph and follow the brand on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. You may also watch their videos here and here. You can purchase their products from major supermarkets and drugstores nationwide and online, and on Lazada
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