My kids are taught, from their first swear, that there are “grown-up words”, just like there are grown up drinks and grown up movies. I don’t curb how I speak around them*; while I don’t swear like a sailor, I’m not above the odd curse. If they hear it, they hear it. If they use it, they’re reminded it’s a grown-up word. A week or so ago, the little guy I babysit said one, and my daughter (3) just leaned over conspiratorially and stage whispered, “That’s a grown-up word.”
When my son was about 10, we had a discussion about whether or not “suck” was a swear. We eventually put it, along with his hole-ridden sweats and red flame bandana, in the “Okay at home, but not at Grandma’s” category, and never had a problem with the distinction.
About 12 or so, he started dropping f-bombs to test my reaction. I laughed at him, told him to watch his [expletives deleted] mouth around people who might actually [expletives deleted] and [expletives] his [expletive]. He was a bit stunned; apparently, I *can *swear like a sailor, I just don’t. He was pwned, and he knew it, and ever since he’s confined his swearing to his peer group, as God intended.
*I do try to curb my language around other people’s kids, but I don’t get too freaked out if I slip. I find the “OH! I’m so SORRY! I forgot your KID WAS HERE!” most people do to be more annoying and more attention grabbing than the actual swear.