July 17, 2014 at 12:28 AM ET
WHAT THE F#*K! Did I just hear what I thought I just heard? No... it couldn't have been THAT word?
The first time I heard my little one utter a profanity, it stopped me dead in my tracks. Our 2-year-old blasted an F-bomb while we were eating ice cream on a nice family stroll along the Hudson River. I literally dropped my cone. Now THE WORD in question was slightly muffled. We convinced ourselves she actually said "truck," however, we were surrounded by water so probably not. Our parental approach was to ignore her and continue walking. (Note: She hasn’t cussed since. She’s only 3. Fingers crossed!)
Now I know it's hard not to laugh when your toddler drops an expletive. But be careful, because your attitude can also implicate you as the potty mouth culprit. Monkey hear, monkey say. (Tip: DO NOT let your kid see you chuckle when they say a bad word. The reaction will encourage them to repeat THAT word over and over. Trust me.)
When Willie Geist and I were kids, we were threatened with the good ol' foul-mouth punishment of getting our mouths washed out with soap. Many of you have probably encountered the same threat. There's nothing worse than that icky soap aftertaste — in my case, Palmolive liquid soap — lingering in your mouth. That approach might have worked for our folks, but times have definitely changed.
So whether your child is 2 and learning how to speak, or a middle schooler picking up colorful words in the hallways, it's important to set children straight when on swearing. Kids will cuss till the end of time but hopefully Willie and I can help you clean up their mouths just a little!
Now Willie and I are parents just like you, and while we think we have some pretty good ideas, we certainly don’t have all the answers…WE WANT YOUR HELP!
Tell us what’s driving you nuts and making you lose sleep at night. Better yet, send us any tricks you might have up your parental sleeves. As we all know, being a parent is the toughest job in the world, but it’s totally worth the wild ride, especially when we get a little help from a friend!