The Power of Words (PBTR Part 8) – ETB #122

How many times have you said something and then wished you hadn’t said those words? Have you reacted to something your child did without thinking and you snapped at them in the process? The power of your words can be a tool or a weapon.

The Power of Words - ETB #122

This is the eighth episode in a series on my book, Parenting Beyond the Rules. Last week we talked about learning to listen and this week I want to pivot to monitoring your mouth. The power of words can be used to build up or tear down. Neutrality isn’t really an option. And, the power of words doesn’t end with your kids. This applies to your spouse, friends, and coworkers too.

Top of Mind

Living from top of mind to straight out of the mouth is not a healthy way to live. Just because you have a thought doesn’t necessarily mean that it needs to be expressed. You need a filter for your mouth! This means guarding what you say and being gracious.

Tone of Voice

It’s not always what we say that is the problem. It is how you say something that can make all the difference in the world. Pause and think about the person who will be hearing you before you speak. How will they hear what you have to say? This gives you time to rephrase what you have to say with the right words and tone.

Breathe Life

Getting your kids to talk to you can take great effort, especially if there’s a wall between the two of you. They might fear that you will make fun of or mock them. There may be a trust issue. I’m sure that’s not your intention to tear them down, but sometimes your words come across with the exact opposite force of your intent. Picture breathing life into your child. With all of the criticizing voices out there today, you want your child to know that you are for them when they hear your voice. Some kids are more sensitive than others. What you say to one child may bounce right off of them, while another child can be crushed by the same words.

Children Speak Like Children

When they are young, your children will speak like children. As your children grow, foolishness is replaced by wisdom. They gain knowledge and maturity. This really starts to happen around the teen years, but it’s a slow process. Affirm your child when you see this growth in their words and actions. This shows your child that they are a valuable part of your family and they belong.

How to Use the Power of Words

How can you start communicating well with your kids?

First, don’t speak from a place of anger. It’s hard to undo the damage that you cause with your words. Allow yourself time to settle before teaching, rebuking, or having that tough conversation.

Second, be free from distractions. Put the phones down! Look into each other’s eyes while you’re talking.

Next, don’t be accusatory. There’s probably another side to the story that you don’t know. Give up the fact-finding missions and interrogations. Your goal should be to get to the why of what happened or of what is going on with your child.

Finally, focus on what your child needs from the conversation.

Tender-Hearted vs Strong-Minded Kids

Your strong-minded kids are likely to be our future leaders. They need guidance. They want to be understood. Your more passive tender-hearted kids need more gentleness. In either case, you’re not going to handle things right with them all of the time. Be quick to admit when you’ve messed up and ask them for forgiveness.

This path of clear communication and using the power of words wisely doesn’t end when your kids turn 18. Hopefully, by the time you have adult children, you will have had lots of practice in monitoring your mouth and can be quick to ask for forgiveness when your words come out in a way that you don’t intend. The goal is to resolve conflict and create rich relationships with your kids that last a lifetime.

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The Power of Words (PBTR Part 8) - ETB #122