I have always profoundly believed that we parents form the foundation for the way our children view the world and themselves. Proverbs 18:21 says that the tongue has the power of life and death. When you speak to your children and about your children, what do you say?
The quote for today’s blog from Peggy O’Mara rings so true to me. The way we talk to our children does, in fact, become their inner voice. How else can children know how others view or describe them except by hearing it first from their parents.
From my own personal experiences growing up as a child, I know that what my parents said about me always resonated in my head. I was often described by them as being “shy”, “quiet”, and “smart”. Whenever I was introduced to an adult, my parents would use those three words to say something about me. I grew up with those words ringing in my head. Now, as a mother of two sons, I understand the power of any sort of “description” I speak of my sons. I have tried very hard to only speak positive words.
In my professional career as a judge who presided over many juvenile delinquent and juvenile offender cases, I heard the demeaning words that parents would often speak about their children to me in court, and usually, these juveniles were young men. As their parents told me derogatory things about them, the young men would just stand with their heads down, ashamed and not knowing what to do. But, I knew that their parents’ criticism and derogation did not just start then.
Are you speaking words of encouragement and hope to your children? Even in anger, we parents can lose control and say mean things. Once these words are said, though, it is hard to forget them. Develop the habit of pausing before you speak. This will allow you to gather your thoughts and control your tongue.
I encourage you to talk to your children with positive, supportive words. Help strengthen their inner voice so they develop faith in themselves and truly love who they are.