On Sunday, my 8 year old (soon to be 9) playing on the computer says "WHAT THE HELL".
Ahhh, the sound of HELL coming from the lips of an 8 year old. It's like country music to my ears...
When I was 8 (now I know I'm old), if I said hell I thought I would go there. I was taught not to say bad words. But hell is not a bad word. It's a word that is not appropriate for an 8 year old, at least for my 8 year old. In fact, A**, S***, and all the other "curse" words are not bad words at all. They are words that some people find offensive and others use all the time.
So I have taught my kids from the time they were old enough to understand, that there are no bad words. There are words they are not old enough to say yet. I started with DARN. They had to be 7 to say darn. What? Really? Yes, because Darn leads to Damn and I don't want them saying that until they are 16 or older.
The problem with telling kids "that is a bad word" is that when other people use those words, they assume those people are bad for saying bad words.
We need to stop teaching kids that curse words are bad words and teach them that when they are old enough, they can choose to use them or not.
One final note, I think I learned this lesson when I sent my 10 year old niece a card about 8 years ago. The inside of the card had the word crap in it. She was so offended and couldn't believe I would use crap that her mother didn't know what to do. Now of course she is 18 and couldn't give a s***.