My husband swears somewhat frequently (maybe he doesn’t necessarily think so but the rest of the family does). He inadvertently peppers his everyday conversation with off-color language, and will come out with an expletive if he is cut off in the car, he drops something, etc. I rarely if ever swear and have through the years consistently shushed him when he swears in front of our kids. He doesn’t even know he’s doing it. The good news is that from what I can tell, my kids don’t swear – I haven’t caught them using this language when talking with their friends or thinking it’s cool in any way. (I was telling this story to a friend recently and he said his father – who was extremely well spoken – said people who chose to swear were “lazy.” So true.)
I think it might be a similar situation to my friends who forbid their kids from watching TV. When the kids come to my house where there are no real TV limits, (I love TV and my kids do too – if it seems like it’s been on too long, I turn it off and send my kids outside – I never get any complaints) the forbidden-TV kids are complete zombies if the television is on. They are literally in a trance, transfixed by Good Luck Charlie. Just like TV, my kids are so used to the swearing, it has lost its cache. No real excitement there.
My kids are old enough now (8, 10 and 12) that they even call my husband on it on it when he swears and a few weeks ago they made him a swear jar. They decided he needs to put a dollar in it every time he slips. I was no part of this whatsoever and couldn’t believe a) they came up with it, and b) my husband went along with it. He said it has helped him to be more cognizant of his language in front of the kids and has gotten better. He will put a few dollars in the jar on Sundays before he watches football – we have $12 dollars so far and I told the kids once we get a substantial amount of cash, we can go out for pizza or ice cream. But who knows, their swear jar has been so effective in curbing their father’s %^&$%&, we might not ever get there!