Several weeks ago, I wrote about how much weight words carry. As a mother, it is important to me that I model that same behavior and teach my kids that words really do matter. That the words they speak actually affect people – good or bad.
I struggle with my temper. It is not something I control very well and that has rubbed off on my children. In fact, it is embarrassing to admit, but I’m about being truthful and honest here…so there you have it. I am a yeller, but that doesn’t mean I want to stay that way. I am praying and changing daily and I know God is faithful, so with His help I will overcome.
But the bigger struggle is to reverse the damage I have done to and in my children with my own words and attitude. Talk about humbling. I can’t tell them to quit yelling when I model that very behavior. However, we are working on it. We have taken several steps to reduce the yelling, hateful attitudes and word flinging in our house.
We have several Bible studies that deal
3 Ways to Teach Kids Words Matter
- Be an Example. Our children learn habits from us – both good and bad. So it is important that we model the behavior we want to see in our children. No matter how careful we are to “hide” our actions, our children see and hear all. I believe that children are God’s way of getting our attention. I can recall several times when my children said words we deem “inappropriate” only to figure out they heard them from me. That, of course, prompted a conversation about how we don’t use that word and that “Mommy will do better not to use it either.” Seriously…humbling. Being an example isn’t easy, but it is necessary.
- Use God’s Word. After talking with my children about why this word or that word isn’t a good choice, they often still have questions. That’s when we turn to God’s Word. Ephesians 4:29 says, “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.” (ESV) We talk about how, just because we think something, doesn’t mean we always need to speak it. I tell my kids it’s called filtering.
- Put it in to Practice. Filtering takes time and practice. We never get it right all the time, but we can work on getting it right most of the time. And learn that when we don’t get it right, we need to apologize and ask for forgiveness. Controlling our tongue and thoughts can only happen when we seek help from the Holy Spirit and put it in to practice.
How you implement this in your family will vary. You might use a 3-strike rule, a reward system or something else that works for your children. We have a rewards chart that seems to work well for our younger children. With our oldest, however, we dig in to God’s Word and study together. We started working with him to have a personal Quiet Time about a year ago. We miss a day here and there, but we are teaching him that a personal Bible Quiet Time must be a priority as a Christian. If you’re struggling to teach your kids about having their own quiet time, we started with this study from Not Consumed.