Your Words Matter
Our Back to School series concludes with a tip I have learned/ am learning the hard way! Learning to have words that are loving, kind and patient, while still instructing and training my kids has been a challenge. Some moms have that sweet tone of voice that runs off their tongue. Not me. I have had to work at balancing grace and discipline in most areas of my life, including parenting.
Today's Tip: Measure the impact of your words.
Easily said. But the facts are that any of us, when pushed, say things we would not otherwise say. As we parent and our kids test the boundaries, we should carefully consider our words, our tone and our demeanor. When these three things don't match, we can appear hypocritical, sarcastic and disrespectful.
The kids are watching and listening. How do I know? Because on more than one occasion I have heard my kids talking to each other, and they sounded just like me. I wish these times were fulfilling and satisfying, but more often than not it's in the middle of a sibling argument or when one of them is telling the other how the cow ate the cabbage! And to be honest, it's shameful.
Here's a few tips for learning to measure our words:
1. Say what needs to be said, but season it with grace. Sometimes things have to be said, addressed, corrected. But think of how God corrects us and model his correction and grace balance.
2. I like the 80/20 principle. Focus on the good 80% of the time. For every correction or discipline you administer, be sure that positive reinforcement is a part of your conversation. Sandwich the hard stuff around positive affirmations.
3. Allow your child to communicate their frustrations. Teach them coping skills for dealing with feelings and disappointments, so that as they grow in life they can use those skills in their relationships and jobs.
4. Be steady and consistent. Kids who are in a home where they aren't worried about mom or dad's mood swings or if they will fly off the handle, learn to respond with calmness and gentleness. They model the behaviors they see. Be the same person day in and day out. Be self-controlled so that your kids learn to be self-controlled.
I realize that all our efforts in the world are in vain without the help of the Lord. He has given us his instruction book and if we apply those lessons he has written, we honor him. That's it. Parenting is much more about our relationship with God than with our kids. Parenting has drawn me closer to the Lord in ways I never knew before.
We aren't promised our kids will all turn out perfectly, or even godly. But he admonished us to do the training and leave the rest to him. Parents, this is our call to model obedience to God just like we want our kids to obey us.
The days of yelling and screaming to get our kids attention are painful. God has a better way. Here are a few verses to read to get an idea of what God's way is:
Colossians 4:6- Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
James 3:2- For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.
Proverbs 29:17- Correct your son, and he will give you comfort; He will also delight your soul.
Proverbs 15:1- A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
James 1:19- Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.
I am with you. This parenting journey can be challenging. I have and will fail miserably. But God's grace is always there for the next moment. Let's make this a school year that, despite all the craziness in this world right now, magnifies the Lord in our homes and in the lives of our children as they grow.
Happy 2020 School Year!