I don't swear very often.
Before I was pregnant, my husband and I worked in an office in which it was fairly normal to hear swear words. A lot of them. When I got pregnant, we made a concerted effort to stop swearing so that our child's first word wouldn't be something we'd regret later. Now we work in mostly swear-free offices, and my husband and I rarely swear. So it becomes really obvious when our son brings a new word into the house.
Like, for example, the other day when he said "What the frick is this doing over here?"
(Yes, he really did say "frick.")
"What does 'frick' mean?" I asked him.
"I don't know," he said.
"OK. Well, most people only use words when they know what they mean. Is that one that you've heard your friends say at school?"
"Yes," he said.
"OK. Well, you can say it as long as you can define what it means."
And while that hasn't completely eliminated the word, I have noticed that it has mostly stopped.
There is an idea that children need their swear words, too. (Warning: There are a lot of swear words on that link.) I can agree with that as it helps them process their emotions. But, I want my son to use the words that he feels he needs to use and not just copy what his friends are saying. And that is my job - to make sure that he has the words he needs to express his emotions so that he doesn't dissolve into calling someone a poopyhead or ask where the frick his bookbag is.
I know that he will eventually learn all the swear words that are out there. But I want to give him some alternative ways to express himself before he goes straight for the curse.
Do you let your child get away with swear words? Tell me why or why not in the comments.