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Bad Words Kids Shouldn't Say

The Mom List of Naughty Words

We all know the really bad words, like those that would get us into seriously hot water at work. But there's another list to be aware of, too. Mom Cristina A. calls them "ugly words," while other moms call them "bad" or "potty" words. While they're not really curse words, many moms still think they're unacceptable. Keep reading to see which words make the list.

1. Dumb

Using the word "dumb" (or a derivation thereof) may seem pretty harmless, but somehow when it comes out of the mouth of a little kid, it has a lot of power to be hurtful. Kate C. says words are just words until they're used as insults or to hurt someone's feelings. That's why "dummy" is on her list of inappropriate words.

2. Gimme

Mom Stina B. says she has outlawed this word in her house, and I can see why. Technically, the word "gimme" doesn't have the power to be hurtful or shocking, but it is rude and disrespectful. If you're like Lindsay H. and build your bad word list around a respect factor, this word definitely qualifies.


3. Hate

Hate is a powerful word, and one that kids often use without really knowing the deep emotion it conveys. Many moms have banned the word "hate" and are teaching their little ones to replace it with more accurate, descriptive phrases.

4. Butt

Not all moms agree that "butt" is a naughty word. In fact, Angie C. prefers her kids use it as an alternative to the more unpleasant words that can be used to describe that particular anatomical part. Allie R., on the other hand, put the word on her naughty list when her 3-year-old daughter started calling everyone a "butt crack."

5. Idiot/Jerk/Loser

Christa sums up the reason these words are on her naughty list by saying she just doesn't put up with name-calling of any kind. Jessica H. admits she doesn't want her kids using the word "idiot," but she's still working on banishing it from her own vocabulary.

6. Oh My God!/Jesus Christ

I remember trying to explain to my kids when they were little that it wasn't just the words that weren't appropriate, but the intent behind their usage. Angie K. did a much better job than I did, telling her kids they can only use the Lord's name in a "reverent way."

7. Slurs or Mean Slang

It can be difficult to explain to little kids why words like "fag" or the "n" word are inappropriate when kids are just repeating something they've heard. As Malinda S. explains, sometimes words are used flippantly without us realizing their hurtful nature. But hurtful they are, and so on the list they go. Malinda says as her children get older, she'll make sure they understand the connotation of the words.

8. Retard(ed)

This is a great word to add to the naughty list right on the heels of Spread the Word to End the Word day, a day that asks people to replace the r-word with another r-word: respect. Moms agree that calling someone or something "retard" or "retarded" as an insult is just not cool.

9. Shut Up

This phrase is near the top of the naughty word list. It's a phrase that, to me, tells someone that what they have to say is of no importance at all. Kathryn L. asks her 3-year-old to say "hush" instead, and Traci says she's OK with "be quiet."

10. Stupid

I didn't think this word was too bad until I heard my 3-year-old repeat it. Then I realized that mom Nancy was right when she said it's not that bad unless it's being used to express anger. There are much more productive words your children can learn to express their frustration.

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Join The Conversation
Roxann14389686 Roxann14389686 4 years
Awesome but u forgot CAN'T
AmyVelis AmyVelis 4 years
I got one more, 'ugly'...I don't know where she got this from because I don't really use this word, but my daughter waswashing my hands in the bathroom at the store when a lady came out of one of the stalls and my daughter looks at me and says, "mommy that lady's ugly." I was mortified!! I went straight to her spanked her and told her no, that that was a bad thing to say and to appoligize. She refused because she didn't see what was wrong withthat sesaid. I appoligized to the woman repeatedly and scolded my daughter. She is only 3 and is using this ugly language.
PatOsborne30215 PatOsborne30215 4 years
I agree with Kari with the word "fart". I know it's a silly word but sometimes kids go to far with it and then things get out of control fast. I don't know anybody else who is uncomfortable with this word, and I'm very happy to see Kari post about it.
VanessaBailey95503 VanessaBailey95503 4 years
I have used these and a few more for the last 20+ years with my nieces and my son. I have a 19 year old boy that I have never had to worry about drugs, drinking or problems with. He is respectful and polite and teaches the same thing to neighborhood children that come around. Great that they are putting this information out to the "16 and Pregnant" generation!
Trina3919182 Trina3919182 4 years
It's so cool I already use 7/10 rules! And I can totally understand the other 3!! It's kinda hard though when ur significant other had a 14 yr old tht curses EVERY chance he gets! I just try my hardest to instill them in MY daughters :/
MelanieCusumano MelanieCusumano 4 years
My husband is NEVER careful with the words he says, even around my daughter. So when she started repeating those words when she was 2, I wasn't sure whether to ignore it or talk to her about it. After the second time saying the "F" word, I decided it was time for a talk. Luckily that one talk sunk in and she has never said any of those words since (now she's 4). However, recently one of her friends started going to preschool and she has started saying "Poopy [my daughter's name]", which I'm sure she must have picked up at preschool. In turn, my daughter started saying "OH POOP!" randomly around the house. My response to that was "If you feel the need to repeat [your friend], then you will not be allowed to play with her anymore", and she has not said it since.
RuthieBarrett RuthieBarrett 4 years
Something important to keep in mind is that words are words, feelings are feelings, and it is the negative emotion that I think I lot of parents are reacting to, rather than the words themselves. (Darn? Really?) It is a reality that part of our range of feelings and communications is negative. We need to be sure that, as we teach children not to use certain words, we address those negatives appropriately. For example, if a child says, "I hate him!" it is much more important to help the child identify the appropriate emotion and target of that emotion. It is important to be calm and helpful, so the child can learn to identify and handle powerful negative feelings. How very (ahem) stupid/harmful it is, to simply say -- "Don't say 'hate'!" For example, a better thing to say would be, "Hate is a very strong and uncomfortable feeling. It is very close to anger. Do you think you really hate him, or do you think you are feeling very mad right now?" From there, have a non-judging but guiding conversation. Words only have the power we give them, but who is "we"? Depending on our kids' schools and other places of interaction, we have to teach them how to talk in the "right" way. But I put "right" in quotes because that varies from community to community. At one of my kids' schools, for instance, the "s" words (stupid or sh*t) were punishable, but the word crap was freely expressed by kids and teachers there. I found that odd, personally, having been raised that crap was a "bad word." Elsewhere, I heard a very charming and lovely young mom, a physician and fellow attender of Little Gym, teaching her son to call something dirty "caca." Again, I was taught this was a "bad word," growing up. On the other hand, I read that some people want to ban words like bum, butt, darn, and so forth, and I personally find that extreme. It is true that words only have the power that we give them, but the the "we" that our children are among have the power to judge and even punish them, so in reality, we have to teach our children to use acceptable language in the world. But I caution parents not to confuse true "badness" with words. Words can be used to hurt others, whether the are "bad words" or not. Emotions are felt, whether we allow them to be spoken of or not. Teaching children that certain words or emotions are bad is not helpful and can even be quite harmful. It is a lot more nuanced and complicated than the words. We need to focus on teaching what is important and helping children to negotiate their feelings and social interactions without punishing them for having feelings and needing to express them. Even the "f" word is not, in itself, evil. Using it to hurt someone is bad. Having an angry or hating feeling is not evil. Not understanding how to deal with that feeling may lead to hurting someone, and again, that is bad. Expressing a legitimate feeling, even a very negative one, in an appropriate way is an important skill to teach children. Such as, "I feel very angry when you do that because..."
wendyroff wendyroff 4 years
Really? Banned words? Why not burn some books while we're @ it? You need to watch that George Carlin special about the dirty little words. Because honestly, YOU give the words their power. This is why moms have always bothered me. "Let's bubble wrap the world so my kid won't get hurt." the world is tough, some of us don't make it, but creating pathetic rules is not going to do anything but make those "bad words" even more powerful. So take a break, do some meditation and stop coming up with new things to get upset over.
sadenis sadenis 4 years
On our list, in addition to the ones here: bum (use bottom instead, the actual body part); darn (he is saying rats like in Charlie Brown, nuts, or shucks; poop and words like poop-head, and dirty as a derogatory descriptor. He has taken to laughing when something unfortunate happens to someone in a board game or real life (almost 6 years old but developmentally more like 4ish), and we are encouraging him to use words like "that's too bad". Sarah
LucetteLapointe LucetteLapointe 4 years
Most of those words are hurtful or denote greed. But there are other ways of conveying those messages. For example, the word "liar" is not allowed in Parliament but the politicians still have creative ways of getting the meaning of the word across without actually using the word - untruthful, misrepresenting the facts, fiction etc. Be sure that one is not just substituting phrases for the most hurtful words. Speaking of children - they soon learn which words are powerful - defined as those which shock or upset adults - they may not know what they mean but they know that using them makes them feel powerful. Then there are the sibling issues. The youngest was just learning how to talk and he pointed to his older sibling and kept saying budt budt - I thought that he was trying to say "brother" but it turns out that he was trying to say "butthead". It was not a word that I have ever used or even thought of using so I wondered where he got it from.
MandaTheys MandaTheys 4 years're...
MandaTheys MandaTheys 4 years
Almost all of it is about context, and that is something I am always working on with my 10 year old. We also banned the phrase "That's so gay" or "your so gay" for the same reasons most of the words are on the list, because of its connotation and ability to be hurtful to others.
alexisbeebe alexisbeebe 4 years
I agree with just about every one, except "jerk". when searching for a word to describe how my son (then 11) was treating my daughter (then 9), I couldn't come up with anything that they both understood. "condescending" and "superior" and "arrogant" were a bit too complex, so my husband and I settled on "jerk". it wasn't as offensive as some words and we have expanded the meaning many times as their understanding has evolved.
Debra14349902 Debra14349902 4 years
This list is absolutely on target. It is a list that many adults need to see as well. Sometimes adults speak a little too freely around the little ones not realizing that they are absorbing every and I mean every word we say. Where do you think they heard that slip of crap or shit, not from their 4 yr old friend. So lets pay attention to our own language.
JuliaCole83684 JuliaCole83684 4 years
Penny, or their siblings to them. I totally agree with you.
JuliaCole83684 JuliaCole83684 4 years
How do we share these on Facebook?
SashaDeel SashaDeel 4 years
All 10 words are on our NO-NO list!!! Also included, 'fat' & 'kill'. I'm not a fan of the children telling one another, 'I'm gonna KILL you!' I don't really care if they are 'playing'.
PennyKrainin PennyKrainin 4 years
I think it is interesting that the word "fat" is notably absent from this list. Please don't accept your kids calling themselves or others "fat".
Kari14342851 Kari14342851 4 years
What about "fart"? Does anyone else not allow this?? I don't. My mother didn't either. Many people disagree with me, but I think of it as "the other F word." (No where near as bad, but just sounds tacky.
veronicaredfield veronicaredfield 4 years
I feel the same way as Amy except if it is used to hurt someone's feelings or used to call someone names at that point I agree that butt should be put on the naughty list of words.
DawnSmith55663 DawnSmith55663 4 years
I agree with most except for butt. I have never allowed the word hate in any context. We re-word the statemet to say love to live without. My kids are a little older now (12, 16) but one of the biggest No No words in our house years ago and today has always been Can't. Instead we say we still need help. To me there is nothing worse than the defeated sound of a child saying they can't do something.
DesireeJaquett DesireeJaquett 4 years
I also have to agree with Danielle can't not stand when my daughter back talks with so or when I try to tell her to do something and she responds with any kind of smarty response back.
DesireeJaquett DesireeJaquett 4 years
There is a a few word I can't stand the word hate in any context . I also can't stand shut up it really kills me when I'm at work and a customer will tell their kids to shut up . I just want to tell them off . I don't tell my kids to shut up and I don't allow them to say them. I also don't allow my kids to call anyone dumb or idiot.
Danielle14333840 Danielle14333840 4 years
I also have banned "Duh" because it is used to make someone else feel stupid and "so" because when you say so to someone after they have told you something you are basically telling them that what they have said is not not important.
AmyWhite12165 AmyWhite12165 4 years
I don't have a problem with "butt" but the rest is for sure a NO NO
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