Parenting

Be Careful How You Speak To Your Children

Be careful how you speak to your children.

Your words, and the way you say them, will directly impact your kids in a positive or negative manner.

I admit, I’m not perfect and I’ve said plenty of words that haven’t always been nice. Words that have hurt my daughter’s feelings and have upset them. It’s easy to do. Especially when we get stressed or busy. Especially when our kids push our buttons.

At a concert this weekend, I was reminded of how easy it is to overreact and perhaps say something we might regret.

As I watched a mom scold her young daughter, just a few rows in front of me, I saw first hand the impact negative words can have on a child. Earlier in the concert, we had commented on how adorable the girls were. At intermission, we opted to remain in our seats but the mom and her kids left the room.

About five minutes before the show was about to resume, people starting walking back to their seats. The mom and her two daughters came back in and one of the daughters switched seats. Instead of sitting on the end of the row, just next to her sister, she wanted to sit in the middle seat. She wanted to sit next to her mom this time.

That’s when it happened. The mom turned to her daughter and reprimanded her. “I’m sorry,” we heard the little girl say over and over again.

My youngest daughter turned to me and we just looked at one another. We felt sorry for the little girl.

Our words have meaning.

The mom continued talking to the little girl who kept saying, “I said I was sorry.” We could tell she was trying to hold back tears and it was hard to watch. From our perspective, it seemed all she had done to get into trouble was move her seat. While we couldn’t hear the words that were being said, it was obvious the mom was very angry. Finally, as the lights dimmed, the child moved back to her original seat with a sad and defeated look on her face.

She might not remember the show, but I have a feeling she might remember how she got into trouble and how her mom spoke to her.

There’s a take away, for all of us, in this story.

When you talk to your children, watch what you say and how you say it.

As parents, our voices are the voices our kids will hear over and over again in their heads as they get older. Our words can either build them up, giving them confidence and making them feel good about themselves or they can do the opposite. Our words can tear them down, crushing their spirit and stealing their joy.

Seeing the little girl’s face was a good reminder to me.

Our words have meaning.

Think about this when you find yourself quick to snap at your kids or cranky about something that has happened.

Choose your words carefully.

Try to remember this when you’re tired, it’s late at night and the last thing you want to be doing is helping your kids with their homework. Remind yourself of this when your children get a bad grade on a test, don’t follow through with something you think should have been done or you get a phone call from school. Kids aren’t perfect. It’s our job to teach them and help them grow into the best version of themselves.

But, remember to teach them with kindness and compassion. Sometimes, the best thing to say is actually nothing at all.

Find meaning each day,

Dara

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