Model Good BehaviorYour child's peers do influence his behavior, but despite what you may think, you're still the most important influence in his life. If your goal is to keep your tween from cursing, you'll have to be careful about the words you choose to use when you're angry or upset. Curbing your own cursing may be difficult, but if you do, your tween will notice and will likely follow your good example.
If you do let an expletive slip every now and then, don't beat yourself up about it. If your tween heard, acknowledge your slip-up and apologize for using bad language to express yourself.
Acknowledge RealityThere's no way to shield your child from the realities of growing up. Chances are your son or daughter has heard quite a few curse words on the bus, at school, or around the neighborhood. Acknowledge to your tween that you know he's hearing these words, and ask him if he has any questions about what they mean. Take the time to explain why these words are offensive and shouldn't be repeated out of respect for other people. Explain that many people find cursing very uncomfortable to hear, and that it's rude to create an environment that makes so many people feel uneasy.
Also, point out how people look to others when they curse. Tweens need to understand that cursing in public may send others the wrong message about them, one that they may not want to send.
Be Clear About Your ExpectationsIf you don't want your child to curse, say so. Be very clear about your expectations. For example, you could say, "I know you hear bad language at school and on the bus, but I expect you to behave better than your peers and to find more appropriate words to use when you're angry or trying to make a point."
Tweens are tempted to curse or talk back in front of their friends in order to look cool and gain acceptance. But you can tell your child that the other children probably won't even notice that he's choosing not to use bad language. Other parents and adults, however, will notice. And will think highly of him for not cursing.
Give your child pointers on how to avoid using foul language. He could, for example, imagine that his grandmother or little brother are present as a way to avoid bad behavior. Or, he could try to impress his peers by using sophisticated (but appropriate) words that they may not understand.