Houston, We Have a Stupid Problem

We have had issues with Eddie saying, um, lightly inappropriate things.

I think we all remember the “amen, poopy butt” phase.

It wasn’t that the words themselves were so bad, but he insisted on saying it after praying…and well, about Baby Jesus.  After we started ignoring it, it went away.  The only time he ever says either “poopy” or “butt” is reference to actually having to use the potty or the fact that his diaper is full.

But recently a new word has been coming out of Eddie’s mouth.

It started innocently.  I was sitting by the table while he was marching around it.  And he was singing.  Aw!  Cute, right?

This is what he was singing:

Twinkle, twinkle stupid star.

Ummm.  No.

I maybe overreacted.

“EDDIE!  What did you say???”

Cue completely frozen toddler with large wide eyes.  Then cue crying because he didn’t know he was doing anything wrong.


So we stopped, sat down together, and talked about how “stupid” just isn’t a nice word.

And it was agreed upon.

And over.

I thought.

Have I mentioned Eddie has a temper?  And being two, he doesn’t really know how to voice his frustration so he tends to lash out with words and throwing things and hitting objects?

So recently we hear things like, “come on, stupid thing!” and “open, stupid door!”

Uh oh.

I would LOVE to blame this on someone other than myself.  Really.  But I can’t.

It’s not the shows he watches because he really only watches Disney and PBS.  The few times he watches Loony Tunes and they say it (Daffy likes to call Bugs a “stupid rabbit”), he will SAY to me, “that’s not nice, right mom?  we don’t say ‘stupid’.”

It’s not daycare.  I know his daycare mom pretty well and I am convinced the word “stupid” is not flying around her house.

It’s me.

I know it’s me.

I say it ALL the time.  And I just realized it.

When Eddie was born, I cleaned up my language.  (Shut up, T-dawg, I DID!)  I may have gotten into a nasty habit of just throwing swear words into normal conversation like it was no big deal (allegedly, mom.  Allegedly).

So when Eddie showed up, I did what I do every day when I walk through the door to my classroom, and I got rid of the swears.

But you can still say things like “stupid” and “dumb” and “hate” and “sucks” around teenagers.

However I do not want my two year old telling me that the “stupid door sucks and he hates it.”

I noticed today that even though I want to quit, it just tumbles out of my mouth.  I was having a conversation with Cort while Eddie was in the tub.  And RIGHT IN FRONT OF EDDIE, I said to Cort, “and then the stupid battery died…” and I covered my mouth and scrambled for a new word. Not before Eddie turned and said,

“mom, we don’t say stupid.  not nice.”

So he knows.

But he still says it in frustration.

And it’s because I say it in frustration.

Eddie and I need to quit “stupid.”

It’s become a really, REALLY stupid problem.

Help. I can’t stop.

About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. I’ve substituted “silly” for “stupid”. It’s a very simple transition since the beginnings sound similar enough that you can change your word as soon as you open your mouth usually. Plus, I found that it helps calm any frustration I (or my parrot) have from the object because it sounds, well, silly.

  2. Um – this is so funny to me because I need to clean up my language around the littles too. But so far, they don’t talk, so I feel like I’m safe. Just my luck… their first words will be one of my ‘choice’ words. Which would be so not cool. Its so weird how its NEVER an issue in the classroom, but at home, I let the sailor talk fly. Time to clean it up! 🙂 I’m on board.

  3. TheNextMartha says

    you might have to start putting money in the bad word jar. We don’t say the word stupid either. But A-hole? Totally hard for me to quit.

  4. Just change it to Sh** or F***ing and then stupid won’t be so bad any more :). One time my oldest, at age 2, was trying to get out of the pool up the steps and was struggling a bit. She said “sh**” about 5 times. My (then) husband and I looked at each other…did we hear that right? About 5 minutes later, she did the same thing. Uh…I looked at him, because I didn’t start talking like a sailor until recently, so I knew it wasn’t me. Funny, but also frustrating because once you point it out as a not ok word to say, they obsess on it. Good luck with your stupid problem!! This post made me smile (sorry..haha!)


  5. My child *might* be just a little bit famous for her “Sham it!” declarations and she *might* have gotten it from me. So I totally hear you! It’s hard. It becomes ingrained.

    We have banned all the obvious swear words and stupid, hate, sucks, dumb, and shut up. Like the above commenter said, we usually start to say something and the banned list and then quickly adjust and change to something else. It seems to be working and most of the words have disappeared from all of our vocabularies. You know, except one…

  6. As the parent of a “too nice” boy who has been kicked around a little, it’s not the worst thing for Eddie to know how to use strong words. Teach him how to save them for when he REALLY means them.

    So instead of censoring certain word, teach him about the power of these words. Teach him to keep them on reserve for when he really needs them. So if some douche-bag kid hits him, “He can say, “You stupid jerk!” and use strong words and act as if it didn’t hurt. As if it didn’t bother him. Even though it will. Oh yes, these things are coming.

    At the same time, teach him never to use those words around the people he loves. Just to save them up for the losers in the world. Because they are out there. I’m sorry, sweet KT. But they are.

  7. Well you know me and my potty mouth right?
    Chunky is actually pretty good with it. If he hears a swear word pass my lips he’ll call me on it and I apologize.
    We really don’t hear stupid though…but hate…we discourage that word. And phrases such as I can’t.

  8. I REALLY need to start working on that. My kiddo is just starting to talk and I really don’t want him to have a potty mouth. Ugh.

  9. “Stupid” is a problem word in our house, too. I’m partly to blame. We’re trying to cut that word out, but it’s not easy. Perhaps a bad word money jar? You put a quarter in every time you say stupid.

    It could always be worse. Last week I swear my daughter’s friend, age 10, dropped the F-bomb at our Girl Scout meeting. I should have called her out but I didn’t because I’m hoping I misunderstood her.

  10. My toddler has picked up a few bad words from me. Stupid is one of them. Usually directed at the dogs.

  11. That’s the EXACT same problem I recently had with The Nugget. I was frustrated with something and called it stupid which she found hilarious and started saying stupid, too. Then I had to back peddle and try and explain how that word can be hurtful and mommy shouldn’t have said that…sigh. It’s a lot to think about, sometimes. Stupid parenting.

  12. And so it begins, huh? I suppose all we can do is nip it in the bud ASAP, right?

    I just wrote about the funny things Lucas says today too.

  13. Does he watch Dr. Suess cartoons? Haley has a DVD with three of his cartoons on it and one is “The Sneetches” and part of their song is “twinkle twinkle stupid little star”. I can’t stand it because of course that is the one line Haley likes to repeat. I’m amazed at how many kid shows use words like stupid, dumb, idiot, etc.

  14. I managed to speak correct in front of the children..at least that’s what I thought, and then I heard my toddler say: OH MY GOD!

  15. UGH! I am the same way. Also guilty of suck and freaking or flipping. Things I don’t like my now 10 yr old son saying. He’s all over daddy with the not liking the cursing. He has yet to call me out on the words that aren’t as bad but are. UGH! It’s amazing the things we say or do and think nothing of til our kid does it.

  16. It’s so funny how just when my son is behaving in what I perceive to be a totally reprehensible way, I realize that he’s doing that because he saw me do the same thing. When he was newly two and my younger son was a newborn, he got into this phase where he’d call my name constantly and when I’d respond, he’d say, “What’re you doin?” It started to drive me nuts and one day, he was calling my name like Stewie Griffin did in that one episode of Family Guy. Then when I yelled, “WHAT?” He said, “What are you doing?” And I said, “I’m feeding John… OKAY?” Two days later, he was telling me something and I didn’t understand him and he finally said, “I SAID, I will get my green crayon after I finished my breakfast, OKAY?” I felt like I couldn’t reprimand him for A) yelling and me and B) using sarcasm because he learned it from me. Parenting is hard.

  17. This is so timely because Lil’ Bit just yesterday repeated the word ‘stupid’ after my rant to Hubs about our “stupid, stupid Internet” that kept blinking out.


    As I said on my blog a few weeks ago, nothing makes you pause and take stock of the things you say quite like a toddler repeating them back to you. 😉

  18. Oh I totally understand all of this. It is even harder since my 19 yr old thinks he is grown and cusses like a sailor even if I tell him we are not his buddies and don’t find it cute or mature..

  19. I have been there. My ODD was saying “what the heck” at her faith based daycare/preschool. We are working on “stupid” and “hate”. I would call our washing machine “stupid” all the time. But she calls me on it now which helps me be more accountable.

  20. We have a toddler that says “stupid” too. And it’s not nice. And he knows that and I know that. But he says it anyway and apparently I say it anyway too, when I think he’s not listening. But the kid is ALWAYS listening. *sigh* Editing yourself constantly is pretty hard.

  21. I’m really, really afraid that my kids are going to be potty-mouths. I used to pride myself on never saying a curse word without doing so intentionally. But, now I do. And I used to pride myself in being able to “only say nice,” but I screw that up all of the time.

    My wife has a half-brother who is 20 years her younger. He was using the f-word, properly, at the tender age of 2. The thing is that, now, he is actually anti-swearing.

  22. Hello, I recently realized that same thing with stupid and hate. Instead of completely banning the words, because he’s going to hear them everyday somewhere, we have a ” you can say stupid about things-not people” rule. It’s worked quite nicely.