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What do we do when timeouts are not effective?

My children are aged 6-10. The consistent use of bad Language including the F word is way out of control. Things like idiot, loser, retard - are just so unacceptable to me. I have tried punishment like time-out but it just doesn't work as they simply won't stay in a time-out. My patience level is over the top and I'm lost when it comes to the handling of bad language. My kids have a very good childhood, always doing nice things, a large family and good parents. Does anyone have any ideas?


2 Answers 2


The bigger issue, I think, is the won't stay in time-out. If you aren't holding the children to the time-out, then they aren't getting any punishment at all, and they are not learning anything about the rights and wrongs you are trying to teach them.

You are the authoritarian figure, so it's up to you to hold the children to the time-out so that they are using that time to learn what is right and wrong behavior. The children need to learn to respect that. Once you have that foundation, it becomes much easier to handle the cussing and other disobedient behavior.


I whole heartily agree with LarsTech. To add, where did the kids learn the language? Have you asked them following with a discussion (age appropriate, maybe don't do all the kids at once) about why the specific words are not acceptable.

As well, once you have an idea of where the words are being learned you may be able to do something about the source. Is if a friend? Speak to the parents. Is it TV? better monitor what is watched. Is it books they are reading? Why are they reading those books? Is it teachers or school? Speak up.

My kids only have migrated to words like stupid and hate (they are 8-2) and they know those words is not acceptable. They also know that poopy, fart, etc are bathroom words and we allow them to say they in the bathroom as much as they want. When they do use those words we send them to the bathroom and make them say it lots of times to get it out of their body. Often when they say they have it all out, we send them back to do more to be sure. This is funny but also seems to work.

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