Ever heard the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me?”
It is what’s said to bullies on the playground to show them they did not hurt you…but the reality is words DO hurt our feelings, emotions, soul, and heart. Words penetrate our mind and effect our thinking.
And this is especially true with our children.
Your words are a superpower!
They can change attitudes, behavior, beliefs, perspectives, ideas, lies, choices, plans, and direction.
We are literally holding a weapon that can be used to protect our family and to fight the enemy or that can be used to hurt our kids.
When we understand the power of our words, we will choose what we say out loud more carefully.
We can change the course of our children by what we say to them.
God created the world WITH HIS WORDS. He set the example that our words are powerful.
James 3:9 – “The tongue is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.”
Proverbs 18:21 – “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it eat its fruits.”
Matthew 12:36-37 – “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Ephesians 4:29 – “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
Colossians 4:6 – “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”
How do we hurt our kids with our words? Here are a few examples:
Excessive correction – Be careful with your correction. Many parents rely on criticism and negative language believing that it will make their children responsible.
Comparisons – Parents also use frequent comparisons with siblings, sarcasm, and threats in their conversations.
How are we hurting our kids with our words?
Negative words work in the short-term, but the damage they cause in the long-term can effect our children’s self-esteem, their identity, and their relationship with God, with you, and with others.
Parents need to know to be careful what they say to their children because they may agree with you.
We must ask the question, “Is this how I wish my child to experience him- or herself?”
Some examples of when our words hurt and we don’t even know it:
(Suzanne:) One time my dad said that a friend’s little girl was just so cute with all her curls (and my hair was straight as a board.) In my little girl mind, I interpreted that as, “Dad liked her curls better than my straight hair.”
When Macy was a little girl, she had the softest finest hair. When she would wake up, she’d have a giant mass of tangles all in her hair. I called it a little rat’s nest, not thinking anything of it. I found out years later how much it hurt her feelings when I said it.
When Kenzie was little, she would say, “I love you mom,” and I would sometimes respond with “Uh huh.” Not because I didn’t love her back, but because she said it all the time and I often wasn’t paying attention to her little voice. (Remember, she was our 4th girl, and I had mastered the ability to tune them out.)
(Don:) I am a coach and a teacher. When the kids started playing basketball and baseball, I coached their teams and wanted to work with them to be their best. Every time I worked with them, after every game, I wanted to tell them how they could improve. But with the best intentions, I was crushing their spirits because they interpreted my coaching as they could never be good enough for dad. It made them not want to try at sports and not want to be around their dad. As I learned the power of my words, I started to criticize less and inspire more to accomplish my goals – to help them get better.
On the flip side, our words are also super powerful in building up our kids and giving them confidence in life.
Remember the world is constantly telling them they are not enough. They are not fast enough, smart enough, pretty enough. They need to hear encouragement from you to counteract what the world is telling them!
The reality is, words are like sticks and stones being thrown at someone – and they DO hurt.
Watch your kid’s countenance change, and “get addicted” to speaking encouraging words to them.