I swear like a trucker. I don't know why, but I like to drop the f-bomb, the s-bomb, the m-f-bomb, and anything else you can think of on a pretty regular basis. By regular, I mean daily. My partner in crime, Nate, is no stranger to the curse words, either, although he is significantly better than me about not using them so often. Either way, this, obviously, doesn't exactly create the best auditory environment for kids, especially those that are learning how to speak. So, once our first kid reached that age, I tampered down, as best as I could, the swearing, but have not been able to give it up entirely.
So I put some thought into this, and somewhere along the way, I had an epiphany: Just because I stop (I use the word "stop" loosely) swearing in front of my kids, that doesn't mean the rest of the world will, too. The kids are still going to hear it, and they're still going to repeat it, like the time Connor, at the ripe old age of 2, told Nate, "you're fucking hurting me" when Nate was helping him put on his shirt.
Once I realized this critical point, the solution was pretty clear to me. It's really very simple: Teach your kids that there are "adult" or "big people" words, and then there are "kid" words. They don't get to say the "big people" words until they are big. If they say the "big people" words, they get in trouble. When, in the process of them learning this rule, they hear a swear word, remind them that that's a big person word and they don't get to say it. So far, it has worked very well with our kids, and I know we're not that lucky; it's just a good tactic. Kids just get it, for some reason. We still have to tell ours not to jump on the couch 95 times a day, but they know not to say a "big person" word.
And I don't have to cringe, or even notice anymore, when others swear in front of my kids!
In closing, a funny story (to me, at least): When Ethan was barely 4, if not younger, we were in the car and I had my iPod on shuffle. A rap song that has "motherfucker" rapped about every five words came on, and while I changed it pretty quickly, Ethan got an earful. He put his hand over his mouth and started giggling. I asked him what he was laughing at, and he said, "that song." I just rolled my eyes. A few minutes later I pulled into the driveway and was getting Ethan out of the car when he started giggling again and, in a way that suggested he thought he was going to be getting away with something really big, announced "Mom, I'm going to say that word in my bed!"
Knock yourself out, kid.