Not swearing in front of my toddler

I swear like a pirate (or like a character in The Big Lebowski, if you’re not into that whole archaic cliche thing), but I don’t really want my toddler to pick it up from me. When he’s older, I’ll talk to him about appropriate contexts for using certain words. But for now, he’s just going to repeat what I say. I decided a week ago to use Beeminder to help limit my swearing.

I don’t have any way of doing this other than manual tracking, but I have been having good luck with the combination of IFTTT and Launch Center Pro on my iPhone.

  1. Set up an IFTTT recipe from Launch Center to Beeminder.
  2. Create a URL action in Launch Center Pro with the URL launch://ifttt/trigger?name={{Log swearing}}&value1=[list:What did I say?|my|favorite|profanities|here]

It’s helping so far, although I have a couple of times gotten into a recursive swear cycle, were I catch myself swearing and then swear because I have to log the swear.


How about:

  1. Give the toddler a button or other device from Getting physical aka physical buttons
  2. Tell the toddler to press the button whenever you use a swear word.
  3. Teach the toddler all swear words that exist so they’ll know which words count.

Flawless plan.


I can’t remember if we had to throttle the swearing much for that window when the kids were old enough to repeat things but not old enough to learn about appropriate contexts. I feel like that window is surprisingly small though. Kids are good at contextualized rules! We teach our kids that there’s a rule against saying taboo words, as we call them, in other places besides our house. At home, or when it’s just us chickens, it’s a free-for-all. [1]

Of course we’re also completely transparent about how the Santa Claus thing is literally an elaborate adult conspiracy to deceive children because the adults find it cute. So you maybe shouldn’t take parenting advice from me and @bee. Our kids seem to be turning out fine though!

[1] In theory. In practice, all of us but @bee are somewhat squeamish about the taboo.


I tried beeminding being nice to my kids using an abacus bracelet. I got -1 for every time I yelled at a kid and +1 for every time I found a way to resolve the problem without yelling. Beeminding it was a miserable failure, because the metric was too subjective, but it did make me more aware of how I was talking to them. The reason I bring this up is because I often would be swearing under my breath before losing my temper, so I bet if I had just beeminded swearing in front of them it would have worked better!

Of course, now my kids (mostly) understand that they shouldn’t repeat swear words in front of other people, so they hear me swearing in a lot more contexts than just “mom is mad at me” and it wouldn’t work very well as a stand-in for not yelling. There were quite a few embarrassingly hilarious swearing incidents before we got to that point, though. Despite all that, my kids seem to be turning out okay too!


I also did this, for the same reason. I have a goal called Swear Jar. I
just use the app, but I also log the sentence I swore in.

I used an ablet for a while to keep track of the swears, but my rate is now
so low I don’t use it for that.