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Better Then Washing Your Mouth Out With Soap

Back in the olden days (as my kids would say) some parents would wash their kids mouth out with soap when they swore.  I suppose it was symbolic of washing something that was filthy.  I’d really rather not wash my mouth with soap, so here are a few tricks I’ve learned that might help get rid of the swearing habit.

·        MAKE BELIEVE:  Road rage is definitely a temptation to swear!  Rude drivers, getting cut-off, rush hour, etc. All these situations can bring the best of us to the edge of losing control!  My favorite remedy for this is to imagine the other driver has diarrhea and is trying to get to the nearest bathroom before it’s too late.

If the rude driver is a woman, imagine that she is having a baby and desperately needs to get to the hospital.  I add this one, because I actually had to drive myself to the hospital when I was in labor.  I kept hoping a policeman would see my rushed driving and escort me to the hospital…where’s a policeman when you really need one…lol?

·         HUMOR: My brother is a Seminary teacher for High School students.  The Seminary building is right across the street from the High School.  During the day, students can get release time from school to attend a Seminary class.  He teaches 7 religion classes a day to students who have just come from the High School.

Quite often he is confronted with profanity.  One of the student’s favorites  is, ‘Holy ____’.  He just looks at them with an inquisitive face and asks, “What kind of religion is that?” or “Are you sure that is something you really want to spend your time worshipping?”  This puts the students at ease, releases some of their pent-up tension and opens the door for my brother to teach about profanity and how ridiculous most of the swear words really are!

·        DON’T ANSWER RUDENESS WITH RUDENESS:  Be polite, give them a blank stare, or just politely walk away.

·         APOLOGIZE: It can be difficult and is embarrassing, but an apology for swearing can mend the offence and make you more determined not to swear next time.

This is a list of helps I found in a youth magazine, called the New Era:

1. Make a pact with someone. Do you know someone else who wants to quit swearing, too? Then make a deal with each other. Promise one another you’ll try to stop swearing and then report to one another on your progress on a regular basis (daily or weekly)—whatever works best for you. Sharing your feelings with someone who has the same problem you do can be very useful. You can encourage and give each other fresh ideas that will help you both succeed!

2. Make goals and reward yourself. You can do this with your partner or by yourself. Instead of saying, “I’ll never swear again as long as I live,” set a series of short-range goals. Tell yourself, “I won’t swear during P.E. class today.” Set up a personal rewards system. If you don’t swear during class, treat yourself to something afterwards—a candy bar, a shake, a walk in the park with your dog. If you go for an entire week without swearing during P.E., treat yourself to something bigger—a movie, a long bike ride with a friend, dinner, whatever you choose! The point is to develop daily, weekly, and monthly goals and then reward yourself whenever you meet one of your goals.

3. Substitute. Think of words and phrases you can use instead of swear words. This is something you’ll want to consider beforehand so that you’ll be prepared when a situation in which you usually swear arises. You can substitute less offensive slang words, for example, or you can be original and come up with some new terms of your own! (I started using the word NUTS to replace swearing.  I didn’t swear all that often, but the few times I did, I felt like I needed to replace it.) Elder Boyd K. Packer has suggested memorizing the words to a favorite inspirational hymn and using those words to replace unworthy thoughts whenever they try to enter your mind (see Ensign, Jan. 1974, p. 28).

4. Visualize. It helps some people to “visualize” or see themselves changing their own behavior. Take a deep breath. Close your eyes. Imagine yourself playing sports or working on the car or doing any of the things that usually cause you to swear. Now see yourself refusing to swear. Focus on how terrific you feel about yourself at that moment. Enjoy how successful you are. You can do this exercise anytime, although many people find that doing it right before they fall asleep is particularly helpful.

Try any one or a combination of these techniques and see what happens. Remember to give yourself enough time to change your behavior. Understand that you will have days when you seem to make no progress at all. But don’t give up! And don’t forget the power of fasting and prayer. You want to change—and you will.  New Era magazine NOV. 1988 Q&A: QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Self-control is an effective quality that lifts anyone above the crowd; 

It can be hard not to pick up the habit of swearing if you are bombarded by vulgar language in movies, music, and from friends. Avoiding these words may mean changing who you spend time with, the music you listen to, and the movies you watch.

Following are some excellent comments I received from last week’s post Swearing and Profanity

Whenever you realize you are beginning to do something over and over, just realize it is on its way to becoming a habitSandra Wilkes

Beck Gambill  Great thoughts Becky! I so agree. I avoid blogs, magazines, tv, etc. that use foul language and promote base ideas. Which means I do a lot of avoiding! But I'm not poorer because of what I don't have in my life, I'm richer because of the space I've freed up to be fill with good. Sadly freedom is only freedom when exercised with responsibility and self-sacrifice, anything else is slavery. I thought of several verses as I read your thoughts. James 3 speaks strongly to how we use our mouths, verse 10 says, "blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!" Ephesians 5 is great too, verse 4 says, "Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God." Good gravy I wrote a post in your comments! Good topic, I look forward to reading more.

If you have found something that works for you, please share it in your comments!  Happy Monday!



  1. Great list of tips to break the swearing habit. I really like the idea of imagining the driver is in labor or has diarrhea! I bet that will help next time I feel my road rage coming on!

    I don't have a very bad problem with swearing, but boy my husband sure does! I wish I could get him to follow these tips lol.

    Visiting from Members to Remember!

  2. Maybe you can try the blank stare technique on your

  3. What a great post!
    I don't swear, or name call or anything, it's just me. I recently stopped nagging on my husband too (eh did I just admit to that?) I've tried something different, because HE swears at me, which I really don't like. So now, instead of confronting him, or pushing that button of his when all I want to do is jab, jab jab at the button...I go deadly silent. When he lets a swear slip during this moment it's like something snapped in him, like of all things I could have done silence was the answer all along..LOL You should see his face, he's just waiting for the attack, the war, the out burst. When it doesn't come that ends it right there!!!!! LOL So I've stopped his swearing, without him even working on his own bad habit...

    ha....just don't tell him that.. :)

  4. Way ta' go Melanie! Sometimes silence does speak louder then words! I hope everyone reads your comment!

  5. Certainly great! We do not swear much in our house. I'm a teacher, so it's pretty much out where I work. I had a class of college students that was bad a few years ago. We had to talk to them a few times. It just sounds tacky with tours (families) coming through. Also not everyone around wants to hear it.

    Thank you for visiting Planet of the Apels.

  6. ahhh becky...i wish i were a calmer person!

  7. I love your first suggestion, imagine they have diarrhea or are having a baby! It's true though, you never know what's going on in another person's life. Compassion and gentleness ALWAYS dispel anger. Great tips!

  8. My Dad use to smile and wave to those who were mean to him on the road. I would imagine they may have felt embarrassed about their swearing after that...maybe not, but it did cut the anger right away. I've remembered that all of my life and use it in other situations too.

    I like your idea of imagining they are in a serious give them the benefit of the doubt.

  9. Becky,

    Your blog is doing so great! You can tell how hard you work on it! Beautifully done my friend.


  10. BECK, I agree, never know whats going on with another person.

    GRANDMA HONEY...that is a good idea from your Dad!

    TINA, thanks, I do work hard at trying to keep my blog interesting.

  11. I am so bad about getting really angry when driving. I really like your idea of imagining them with tummy trouble. I will be using this!

  12. This is definitely an area I used to struggle with quite a bit (and still do sometimes). I came from a military family that definitely made "swearing like a sailor" a very accurate term. Naturally, I picked up on it in my youth and had to work hard to break the habit. I would always (and still do to this day) resort to humor. I would start to say a swear word and shift it quickly: "Fish sticks!" I would gradually develop on it and go for more fun: "Fish sticks with tartar sauce!" It always makes me feel better. :-)

  13. I like your solution TyKes Mom! Makes it a fun game instead of a drudge...

  14. Hey Becky Jane enjoyed this ...I work among people that use foul language allll day long and the "HOLY **** " word is used all the time and I ask them sometimes how did such become Holy? And then they look at me and giggle at their statement but the message is brought clear without a holier than thou attitude by me.
    Good Post ... enjoyed

  15. I found myself having way to much road rage and judgement as I drove tons, real estate appraiser. My new thing is to remind myself I don't know their situation and instead of cussing at them or yelling I say "God Bless You"! It works great while I have stumbled a few times it has really worked and when I start to get angry I literally remind myself I often don't know the other persons story. As I write this I do know I need to work on the cussing at home which I am aware of but like Tykes Mom I do often try and change the word if I catch myself.

  16. I love your blog! I am in awe of your family...I thought 2 was a challenge but now that they are 17 & 12 I'm feeling like something is missing and it's too late for me to have more of my own. (hysterectomy) I'm praying for the Lord's will...maybe we'll adopt!?
    This post was perfect! I struggle with my potty mouth! I actually caught myself the other day and blogged about it! Please check out my blog!
    In Christ,


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