|

When a child inadvertently swears due to pronunciation

A question from a super reader:

My just turned 4 year old son started (about 3 months ago) to say /sh/ instead of the /s/ sound. Saying “**it” instead of “sit” – UGH!

At first I thought it was just annoying….but now I realize it’s a terrible habit that he can’t stop.

When I’ve showed him in the mirror the difference between the sounds and how our tongue makes them – he tries really hard to keep his tongue in his mouth but still puts his tongue to his top row of teeth.

How else can I coach him to speak correctly?
I don’t want him to have a lisp or another speech problem that kids will terrorize him about…

Sorry, I had to laugh at your example. So the big question is, does he do this for all /s/ sounds, or only a few? Also, does he pucker his lips like he is telling someone to be quiet? If he does it for all /s/ sounds and he is not puckering his lips, then he may have a lateral lisp.

Have him try these:

“She took a shower near the bush.”
“She sells sea shells by the seashore.”

here are a few made up words to try:
sish
shas
sishy

A lateral lisp should definitely be addressed by a Speech Pathologist as he probably won’t “outgrow” it.

A /sh/ for /s/ substitution, on the other hand, can be worked on in front of a mirror. Have your child practice “s” words with you and watch each other’s lips. Make sure there is no lip rounding. Try smiling and making /s/ sounds.

Practice some minimal pairs making sure they sound very different and the child can hear and say the differences:

See/she
Sip/ship
Sue/shoe
Sigh/shy
Seep/sheep
Seek/sheik

To see a great movie clip of the sound differences go here, then click on “fricatives”. Compare the /s, z/ with the row below that /sh, dg/.

And, in the privacy of your home, make sure he practices and masters: sit/**it !! 😉

Similar Posts

12 Comments

  1. This could very well be extremely helpful in the near future . . . EXTREMELY.

    I can just imagine . . . he way J “talks”–he’s so loud, that any error in pronunciation is sure to have my head spinning (and crowds gasping).

    Storing it in the vault . . .

  2. Great ideas! Although, I think I’d be thrilled if my boy swore at this point. At least it would be a word.

  3. I’m with Laski. I’ve stored this in my vault too. Heck, I’ll be re-reading your entire blog again before I know it!

  4. My brother used to say F*@k for truck. And trucks were his favorite.
    Yipes!
    😉

  5. Or she could be taught to say chair until her motor mouth catches up with her brain. Barbara

  6. Thanks Barbara! That is one of my most frequent typos….

  7. I love the example (my oldest used f*** for truck like another commenter mentioned!) and your response is fantastic. GREAT ideas for the future!

  8. Our speech pathologist said my 4 year old daughter has a lateral lisp but told me not to worry about it. Is there an age when I should start to worry? She has lots of trouble pronouncing ‘s’ in any part of a word (as in she can’t say it properly at all and substitues ‘b’ or ‘d’ instead. We all try not to laugh when she asks for ‘id keem on a dick’ – ice cream on a stick.)

Leave a Reply to Kathryn Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.