Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. Proverbs 15:4
Do you find yourself saying things that you immediately wish you could take back? Words that crushed your child, instead of helping them grow?
I know I did. Biting my tongue and filtering my words is a parenting skill I still work on, even with my kids grown. I’m guessing this is a habit that every parent needs to work on.
Perhaps these guidelines will help you as you choose your words:
- When the topic is one that you know from experience is a touchy one, take a few minutes to filter your words. As one person said, “Taste your words before you spit them out of your mouth.”
- Take time to listen before making a call. Hear your child out before deciding what action to take. Don’t rush to judgement. This is especially true when it comes to discipline. I’ll never forget the time my high school daughter got caught sneaking out with her friend. We found out the next morning and I was livid. However, we were on our way to her volleyball tournament and couldn’t really address the issue until later in the day, which in the end, was a good thing. I had time to calm down and think about it the best way to handle it.
- Swallow your pride and apologize. Easier to do with a 4-year-old than a 14-year-old, but just as important. Show your kids how to offer a sincere apology for something that should not have been said.
- Give the why behind the what. I recently heard a talk about millenials and that they are big on understanding the why behind the what. I’m guessing that has trickled down to younger kids too. “Because I’m the parent” may have worked for your folks, but explaining the why may help your kids better accept what you are saying.
How’s your parenting language? Remember that when you talk to your kids or around them, it’s like their brains are recording your words. Scary thought, but an important reminder that your words do matter.