As a child I remember hearing kids say, “ Sticks and stones may break my bones but your words will never hurt me.”
Does that bring back any childhood memories?
This phrase could not be further from the truth.
I believe words have immense power, so much so, that life and death are in the power of the tongue. When you think about it, words have the power to hurt and heal, to raise someone up or to bring them down. Words can be the difference between a good day and a bad day, they can be the difference between someone succeeding or failing.
Understanding the power of our words and the impact they make on someone’s life is very important especially, when raising children. Children are extremely vulnerable when they are young; they will believe anything they hear, whether it is good or bad, wrong or right.
This is why it is imperative to watch our words when disciplining a child. It is no secret that children know how to press our buttons. When they misbehave they tend to bring out emotions we never knew we had. Would you agree?
As a mother of 5, I would like to give you this one bit of advice. It applies to any situation, however, I would like to apply it now towards discipling your child. If you encounter a situation where you feel your emotions are stirring up, take a deep breath and count to 10. Walk away if you have to so you can collect yourself and then return to address the situation calmly. This small step will help prevent you from saying something you might regret. Your priority is to correct the negative behavior not to hurt the child's feelings.
Negative words spoken in anger to a child will affect their self esteem and at times, the ability to succeed. When a child is continuously told they are hopeless, stupid or good for nothing; they tend to believe it. Especially, when those words come from a parent, teacher or their peers. I work with students who have been affected by such negative behavior in school. It affects their success and self esteem to the extent that they do not believe they can succeed at anything. Some children are even afraid to try new things for, fear of failure. In my experience, clients who struggle with ADD/ADHD and Autism are more likely to be victims of verbal abuse and or bullying. However, I am grateful to God that I am able to help my clients forgive and move forward to succeed by encouraging them with positive words that counteract the negativity they've experienced.
As a parent, it is imperative to speak encouraging words into our children’s lives on a daily basis. We need to show them love with our words and our actions. For example, out of the blue I like to stop what I’m doing and look my own children in the eyes and say, “I love you!” It puts a smile on their faces. Also, if I see them being diligent and doing their homework or helping with groceries and chores, I make sure to say, “ Thank you! Thank you for your help, I really appreciate you” or “ I am so proud of you, I love the way you are being so responsible and hardworking.” When I acknowledge their efforts and praise them for it, I see them encouraged and they continue performing in a positive way.
I want to encourage you as a parent or guardian to speak life into your children on a daily basis. Show them your love with your words and your actions. Remember, your children are watching everything you do, so lead by example and watch your words for they have the power of life and death. Wishing you the best, Nancy Lira.