10 Year Old With A "Fresh" Mouth

I have a 10 year old daughter who is starting to have a fresh mouth. I have tried punishing her and taking away privileges but nothing seems to be working. My babysitter is starting to complain. I am afraid I might lose her. What should I do?

Fily from Texas

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I've learned this from a local mother, vinegar. My daughter is 7 and getting quite the grumpy fresh mouth. I finally did a drop on her tongue, she was quite pleasant for a while. Sometimes the mother said she just places the vinegar on the counter, that whips them into shape. But honestly, I am going to fill a tiny little spray bottle I didn't use for my vacation and let her know that I'll have it with me at all times. I think it will make her think twice before she smart mouths or is fresh. It doesn't harm them, it's not torturing them, it's basically teaching them what they say is sour and doesn't "taste" good.

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Maybe your daughter doesn't like it any more than you do and together you could come up with a solution. Ask her what she would do with a daughter who had a "fresh" mouth. She may have a good suggestion on how to encourage herself to stop. Mention the vinegar spray as a possibiity. If you work TOGETHER if will be less adversarial, and that will help her take more responsibility.

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It helps to figure out why she's doing this. Do her friends talk that way? Does she get it from TV? Is she holding a grudge about something? Is she being treated badly by the kids at school? Sometimes it takes a little prying because they don't want to be a tattle-tale, and at 10 a girl wants to solve her own problems. I had a Sunday School class once where this was a problem. Without singling anyone out, I explained to the whole class that smartmouthing was not cute. What they were seeing on TV was trashy and rude. It was amazing how quickly they gained good manners. I miss them still!

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Sit on her. Literally. Warn her first if you dont stop getting smart and using that kind of disrespectful language with me or any other adults, i am going to sit on you. She may laugh and it may break the mood - at first. But if she does it again, grab her put her on the floor and sit on her and hold her arms down. Stay there until she apologises and promises to refrain from that behavior in the future. If you dont want to sit on her do as those of us my age had done to us, take her in the bathroom or kitchen and make her put some soap in her mouth. Hey, it worked for many a generation.

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I don't know if she's old enough for this to work on her, but if she is really rebellious and uncompromising, how about telling her that you're going to accompany her to school for a day? You have to make sure to follow through, and get the teachers permission. Most kids around that age would crawl under the table if their parent sat through their whole day with them.

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My daughter is six and has quite the attitude already. I have started taking toys away but it doesn't seeem to help her attitude for too long so I am definitely going to try the vinegar thing. I hope she straightens up because she is about to drive me crazy!

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Let common sense prevail. Expose her to other role models. She is feeling uncomfortable about something. It doesn't matter the cause - being exposed to adults and others who are interacting properly will give her a feeling of security, and a knowledge of how to conduct herself. She wants to express herself, but this is her learned mode; teaching her other modes will help her. Better to teach her now, than to have an 18-year-old who is bigger than you and not having control. I applaud your judgement. Where to find role models? In civic society, 4-H, any positive goal-oriented groups, for starters. Another thing - does she have a pet? Sometimes a pet (cat, e.g.) can be a diversion that will help her feel calm - Maybe you could pet sit and see if caring for another creature would help; or, even caring for a baby bird, etc. I hope my two cents worth and all the other great insights posted here help her.

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You are the parent and you have to assert control. Teach her that type of behavior is not acceptable and is not allowed in your home. Is she hanging out with friends that act that way? If she is, tell her that she won't be if her mouth continues that way.

You might also try keeping a chart for every time she uses the fresh mouth and tell her for every time something goes on the chart, that is something not that you take away, but something she doesn't get, like going to a movie or something she wants at the store. You might be surprised at when she starts not getting things how quickly her behavior shapes up.

And let her know the babysitter will be doing the same and also reporting to you.

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She needs to learn that there are places to use smarty talk, and places not to. If all the kids are doing it at school, then of course she learned it, but she can learn to keep it to herself when around people she respects. We all know those words and how to be sarcastic and irritable, but we learned to control it - or take consequences. The reason kids continue and persist in bad behaviors is: NO CONSEQUENCES, OR SLOW CONSEQUENCES. The best parents allow two heartbeats of time before applying consequences. I can tell you love your girl, and you want her to succeed as an adult. Dishing out consequences is just as loving as wrapping her up in the biggest hug. It took me a while to feel loving while I disappoint my godson, but it's his very best possible way to be loved at that moment. A parent who won't step up and do the unpleasant thing is a parent who doesn't care enough to get brave and do it. I wish you the very best!! The shorter the distance between "crime" and consequence, the tighter the friendship will be between you and her when she's 25.

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I have a 12 year & 9 year old. Each time I have had problems with the girls smart mouthing me or using bad language, I firstly say it is not acceptable - and ask them where they have heard it or what prompted them to say such a thing. If I get no answer, they are given a warning that they will loose privilage like tv or pocket money. If it happens again, they are sent to the front door to sit with their faces in the corner for 10 minutes - no talking. The next time that they ask me for something I answer with their attitude. When my 12 year old soon got the point when she had friends over and I used her answers when she asked me to do something. She asked me to make some pop corn for them. I answer Maybe and went and sat down to read a book. She followed me and asked me again - I told her to bugger off. She was embassessed and through gritted teeth told me I was embarrassing her. My reply - who cares. Her friends stood there not knowing what to do. My daughter shocked then asked Mum why are you being so mean. I then asked the other girls to go into her bedroom while I talked to my daughter. I asked it how it made her feel. She replied that she felt embassessed and that it was not the right way to talk to people. I explained that when she used the same words with me that it also hurt. It has not fixed the problems complete but when either of the girls start being sassy, I put my hand up to stop them and then ask them to repeat what they have said and ask them to think about what they have said. The 12 y ear old now is really good, if she is in a bad mood, she says so and is allowed to go to her room for 5 minutes and calm down and then come back again. The 9 year old will start to say something and usually mid sentence will stop and realize what she is saying. I have also tried to have a time each day for 10 minutes where the girls and I just sit and chat about their day over a cup of milo. This really helps as I tend to find out what has happened during the day. These tips I found in a chriistian parenting book.

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I made my son write I will not disrespect my parents like 100 times everyday for a week.... I promise it works!!! He hated doing it but it served it's purpose. Got this idea from a co-worker.

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What i did to my son when he said the F word was put soap in his mouth. It didnt hurt him. He didnt like the taste of it. I told him that every time he came out with any bad words, that i would do it again. He had better remember the taste of the soap. I am sorry if i offend anyone but my mother did it to me. She also spanked me even my principal gave me the cane once. It hurt but i didnt get into any more trouble. What is wrong with kids today is that get away with all kinds of things. If you threaten them they say they will call the cops. I just dont know who's kids are they, the goverment's or our's?

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I have the same problem with a 12 yr. old grand daughter. I am about to lose a 45 year friendship over this, because of my friends attitude about what I should do about this. I mean really you can not kill them and some people are just "turned that way",and no matter what you do this will prevail. I find you must keep up the "consequence" and keep it up, and at some point they will change. Her father finally became a decent talking and acting person at around age 29!

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I must just be a little more "old school" than most. Its coming from her age, and nothing more. Unless there is a divorce or some other shake up in her immediate family, the girl is getting mouthy because she is a 10 year old girl! The most important thing to remember, is that if you do not get a hold of this now - a)she will continue to do it and get worse b)she will lose respect for you. So you will find yourself in very short time with an out of control teenager who has no respect (ie - no reason to obey) her parent. This could get ugly, I know I was one! Soap soap soap. Dishsoap, warning first, then a drop on the tongue. If that doesn't work (i am fully prepared to be hated now), a smack on the mouth should do the trick. Good luck

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I too will probably be hated, but i am going to agree with lonefive 21. A few times of this and the child will think twice about doing it

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Tabasco Sauce on the tongue or lips works great!

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You can point out that she is giving others a poor impression of her character when she mouths off.

Ask what she can do to refrain from using language (like you are trying to help).

She may be a tough nut to crack and you may find that nothing works for long, but if there is a strong male influence with a deep voice who sides with you, I'd give it a try. She may resent you for trying to improve her manners (see tough nut comment) and get mad at you instead of herself, but the time to build in a conscience is now. Start with "In your own best interest..." in a deep loud voice with intense eye contact and see if it rings a bell. Also have a good loooong look at her friends. See if they are this way.

A long time ago, I knew of a particularly bratty boy in my son's class. Later on I met a mother who was thrilled that her son had found a 'best friend'. Turns out the best friend was the brat. Knowing for many years how the brat behaved, I suggested that she monitor both of them because they didn't know the brat all that well. She wasn't interested. Well, you can lead a horse to water.... and, no, I did not call him a brat to her face.

The mouth could be coming from friends, tv or classmates. You could always ask the school counselor and teacher if she is doing it in public. I suspect she is that way in front of friends in private and you will get nowhere chastising her in front of peers. Just act deaf and save the lectures for later when they go home. Make notes so you don't forget. Tape record it if you can. She doesn't know what she is saying.

Deduct $ from her allowance per comment. Or sweep the kitchen floor. But be tough now, before it gets worse.

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If having a fresh mouth is saying disrespectful things to you, then just don't allow it. Explain to her that having a disagreement about something is different than blatant disrespect. Allow her to voice her opinion but ask her to do it respectfully.

As far as swearing, my mom would make us put a nickel in a jar anytime we said something bad, if she did it, she'd put a nickel in the jar, too which I can remember happening only once. My dad had to put a fair amount of change into the jar. A nickel back then was worth probably about a dollar now. I think we got a 25-50 cent allowance. It worked! I remember the threat of getting my mouth washed out with soap but don't remember it ever happening.

It is difficult with so much bad language everywhere you go but it is an interesting experiment to see what other words or adjectives you can use instead. A real lesson in improving your vocabulary.

Susan from ThriftyFun

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STOP attacking them. Talk to them by attacking things not people... Example: Swearing.... Don't say stop( infers you stop).. Say instead "Smart kids don't say bad words" Or " Big kids don't swear."

THey will ignore you for a few times then they will get the message..... THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK++++

Sit them down, tell them their conduct is not acceptable and will not be allowed. Determine the punishment (no TV for a week, Spend an hour in their room without TV, no phone calls, etc.) and tell them what it will be. Write it up and post in on the refrigerator or their bedroom door. That makes the rules of conduct clear. If they do it, follow through.

Kids know parents send them to their room one time, the next time they take away TV, the next time they ignore them. Kids will take their chances to see what they can get away with and push you to the limit. They know parents will tell them 10 times before they act. Only one chance and action should be enforced right then or as soon as possible thereafter.

There are other things but this should be a good start.

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If your 10 year old is using inappropriate language the first thing I would ask is where are they hearing these words, especially if they are not used in your home. You might try the following:

Demerit System

Everytime he/she uses an inappropriate word they receive a Demerit Point

2 Demerits = Loss of a priviledge

2 Loss of Priviledges = 2 hours of Dictionary Work

Dictionary Work is looking up the meaning of 5 words, your choice, but I would suggest that the offending word be included so that they are fully aware of exactly what they have said and why it is inappropriate. They have to learning the correct spelling and meaning of the words chosen.

If there is "resistance", be prepared! Let them know you will be prepared to remove the thing they love the most for the day. And Stick to it.

The more you loose your "cool" over "smart mouth" words, the more attractive the words become. Stay cool, remain consistant in your punishment for the offenses. Do what you say, say what you mean, and always follow thru.Good Luck

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I'm a single mom of four kids and I first tried to "catch them being good". When they were little enough to realize that $ meant something, I'd give each of them a dime bank and give them a dime for being nice, helping their sibling, carrying the groceries, being good in the grocery store, using excellentg manners,--I think you get the picture. Of course, if one sibling braggs on another sibling the bragger gets 2 dimes and the sib gets one dime! Positive reinforcement works well.

Then, collecting fines also work well--rudeness, bad language can be 5 dime offenses!

I also have used soap--not antibacterial! but this was before I discovered the dime dish!

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Parenting TweenAugust 14, 2007
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