“You forget everything.”

“You are so irresponsible!”

“Why are you always ruining things?”

Harsh words that hit home. Especially when they are about your child and are coming from you, the parent.

I would never say those words to my kids, you may be saying to yourself.

I want to remind you that in a moment of frustration, it is easier than you think to find those words coming out of your mouth.

I have heard it on several occasions. Often from very responsible parents who were very frustrated with their child’s behavior and were having a venting moment.

Understandable? Perhaps.

Acceptable? No.

The Power of Your Words

We all need a reminder from time to time of the incredible power of a parent’s words. Your words are filled with power simply because they come from you.

That power can work both positively and negatively. Here’s how it works.

Your words show your kids who YOU think they are. They give your kids a glimpse into your brain to see the picture that you have of them. Because you are their parent, this picture has great weight and it influences how your kids see themselves. The way your kids see themselves will influence their behavior and choices. Over time, their behavior and choices will shape their future.

That is why this is a big deal.

When your child displays challenging behavior, steer clear of using words that describe your child’s character in a negative way. Instead, use words that describe his/her behavior.

Do this:

"You lied to me about _____."

"You forgot to bring your homework home."

"You did not turn off the video game when I asked."

Not this:

"You are a liar!"

"You are so irresponsible!"

"You never listen!"

Help Your Kids Turn the Corner

Most importantly, let your words communicate that even though your child has made a certain negative choice and may even need to experience a negative consequence, you have confidence that he/she can learn a good lesson from the experience.

Your kids need parents who can see more in them than they see in themselves. They need a parent who can look past the dirt (and there may be plenty of it) and see the gold nugget that is inside.

Because if you can see it, your kids will see it too.

2 comments (Add your own)

1. Jenn wrote:
Thank you for creating this blog. I'm currently reading your Parent Survival Guide and was thrilled to find this site. You give really wonderful advice, and I hope you continue to update this.

Mon, October 7, 2013 @ 8:23 PM

2. Todd wrote:
Thanks Jenn, I hope you enjoy the book and I'll keep it coming! I wish you the best with your kids! Todd

Tue, April 1, 2014 @ 2:26 PM

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