When I found out I was pregnant with my son, I started curbing my swearing. Admittedly, it had gotten a little out of hand as I was working for a company that had a stress-inducing, boy's club environment, and f-bombs were dropped by multiple people in every meeting.
Several years and a different company later, my coworkers laugh when I say things like "drat" out loud, because almost none of them have ever heard me swear.
Of course, my son doesn't live in a vacuum. I know that one day he will swear in front of me, and I will take the best possible approach and ignore it (if he is little) or talk it through with him (if he is old enough to understand empathy). Research suggests those seem to be the best reactions. My entire hope is that he not pick up any swear words from me.
While I am waiting for him to shout his first expletive (probably in a public place), there are lots of phrases he utters that he has picked up from other people. The most noticeable of these being, "Oh my God!"
Since we are not a religious family, I know that he doesn't know what he is saying. And I can tell he picked it up at school because of the context he uses it in. Generally, I just ignore it, but about a month ago, I wondered if I should give him a substitute phrase to admit his surprise and wonderment that wouldn't offend any overly religious person who may overhear him.
Enter the dinosaurs.
During the month of Dino-vember, I had my son hunt for dinosaurs every morning. And when he found them I would declare, "What in the world?" Presto, change-o, 30 days later, my son is now using this phrase with about as much frequency as, "Oh my God!"
And this little experiment makes me really happy that the worst he'll hear from me is "drat." Because, like all children, he is listening to what his parents say.
Feel up to sharing your child's first swear word? Let me know all about it in the comments.