Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit–You choose!
Every day, you will speak at least 7,000 words (some people a whole lot more!). Those words are your imprint on the world. They dictate how people perceive you – and largely define you.
How many of the words that you spoke yesterday made a positive difference to the people around you?
How many served little or no purpose at all?
How many were downright poisonous?
As the above Proverb explains, words are either poison or fruit. They will either harm or they will build up. They will either destroy or they will give life. As parents, your words are especially powerful. They truly have the power to shape your child’s soul. Be thoughtful about how you use them.
Words That are Destructive for Your Child
If you want to be life-giving with your words, stay away from these types of speech:
- Sarcasm. Some sarcasm is purely joking, but sarcasm can also be very destructive and cruel.
- Vagueness. Lack of clarity can lead to misunderstandings and unmet expectations, which leads to conflict.
- Threats. They can use your children to resent you and are basically bullying words.
- Character attacks–Demeaning remarks against your child will chip away at their self-esteem.
- Invalidations. These are remarks made that are dismissive of your child or spouse, such as You just don’t get it, You don’t know what you’re talking about, You’re not even worth listening too.
- Hostile challenges. These are sarcastic questions or statements that don’t really care about the answer. Examples: You actually believe what you’re saying? Where’d you come up with that dumb idea?
- Preaching. When parents are angry, they may resort to lecturing and quoting authorities to make their point. Preaching is not an effective tactic for parents, or for any other relationship. Examples: For a child who claims to be trustworthy, you ought to know better than to do what you’ve done. A person with any compassion would never do that to me.
Words That Give Life to Your Child
Nurture relationships with these types of communication:
- A sense of humor. Stop taking yourself so seriously!
- Admit mistakes and apologize.
- Actively listen and ask questions that show you are really tracking with them.
- Express sincere praise to their face.
- Try giving someone you love a shout-out to someone else when your loved one is in earshot and can accidentally “overhear.”
- Attack the problem, not the person. When problems arise take time to understand the problem and the person and seek to problem-solve, rather than blame.
- Don’t jump to conclusions. Wait until you know the whole story before you draw conclusions. Stay open-minded, get the facts.
- Keep your word. The best way to show people they’re important to you is to follow through on your commitments.
- Say thanks. Everyone wants to be appreciated. Don’t wait for perfection; appreciate and enjoy your family for who they are.
Don’t waste your 7,000+ words on things that destroy. Parents, if you choose the positive path, you will raise humans that feel secure and loved.
Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble. Yehuda Berg