As a new mom, many years ago, I was in the grocery store with my eldest daughter, who was then around 11 months old. She was kind of squirrely that day and was trying to get out of her safety belt in the shopping cart. I said to her, “Hannah, no, you need to stay sitting down. You need to obey. Say, ‘OK Momma.'” To which she raised her little arms and said, “Tay, Momma” and sat back down.
I responded, “Thank you, Hannah, for obeying Momma! You did a good job!”
This older woman (of course I was much younger then – today I wouldn’t consider her older! :D) actually came over from a few aisles away to speak to me. She told me what a joy it was to hear me speak to my daughter. She said how often she hears parents yell at their children and berate them for simply being children. She said she had never heard a parent thank their child for obeying and it was so refreshing!
We seldom think about how we talk to our children. We generally say the first thing that comes into our heads. I’ve not always had such gracious speech with my children, I’m ashamed to admit. There have been many times when I’ve spoken in the flesh – and the fleshly response of irritation or anger.
Learning to speak with grace and love to our children really MUST be learned! We need to practice it. I am the Queen of making a list of the things I SHOULD say!! When I find myself saying things that just should not be said, the Holy Spirit gets a hold of my heart. Then I realize I need to PRACTICE saying the right thing. I’ll say to my child, “I’m sorry. That was a bad thing to say. Will you forgive me? But let me say that the RIGHT way.” And I’ll recite (actually recite) what I memorized as the CORRECT response. (I’ve done this for years with my husband as well)
Every time I take a Do Over, I train my speech patterns. I never wanted to be a mom who spent all her time apologizing and repeating the same thing over and over. I wanted to be a mom who CHANGED and GREW, who learned how to speak the words and heart of Jesus to my children.
Let’s examine our speech to our children today. Is your speech to your children gracious or harsh? Do you walk in the flesh or the Spirit as you speak to your children? How can YOU learn to be more gracious in your speech to your children today?
The Better Mom, Sharing In His Beauty, Monday Musings, Domestically Divine, Time Warp Wife, Gratituesday, Encouraging One Another, Women Living Well, Winsome Wednesday, Raising Homemakers, Wise Woman Builds Her House, Marital Oneness, Big Family Friday, Heart 4 Home, Finding Him Friday
Thank you for this gentle reminder. I am currently out of breath pregnant with my fifth baby & I find myself saying things to the other 4 in a tone that embarrass me! I need to remember that it is a choice to be gentle & gracious!
Blair, I sooo understand the struggle! The constant daily reminders from the Spirit to guard our tongues is so precious, aren’t they? Thanks for coming by, sweetie, and I pray the Lord abundantly blesses you today.
thank you for this reminder! It is so hard to remember to speak graciously and respectfully to our children, especially when they’re pushing our buttons incessantly. I try to remember that if I require they show me respect, I need to first show them respect.
Amen, Jean, amen! Praying that the Lord moves your buttons so the children can’t push them as easily! 😉 And that all of your speech today is life-giving to your children!
What a precious story!!! that is so incredibly sweet, and I LOVE that some one came and talked to you about it. That is so rare!!! It has been amazing to me that people are quicker to criticize than compliment a young mama. :/
Such good advice about “practising” what you want to be saying to your kiddos. I found myself being to harsh with my little guy a few months ago, and realized because he started imitating me! He was too young to understand an apology, but I definitely changed the way I spoke to him, and he changed the way he imitates me! 🙂
such a learning process, but I’m so glad to be able to get the advice and wisdom from mamas who have already been there!
thanks for sharing!!!
Paula, thank you for your sweet and kind words! Isn’t it SCARY how closely our children imitate us? I always found myself getting bugged with my children’s character flaws until the Lord showed me that He had given them to me AS A MIRROR to reflect my OWN character flaws. OUCH!!!
So many times I’ve had to go to my children and ask for their forgiveness for TEACHING them to sin in an area by my example. Talk about humbling!!
As soon as our children can do the sign for “sorry” (around 7 months), we start teaching and practicing apologizing. It is such a unifying thing in our relationships!!
Thanks for the visit today!
It’s my practice, too, Kate, to say “Thank you” to my children, esp. when they assist me, and say “sorry” and sincerely ask for forgiveness when I have been harsh, or spoken with irritation or impatience. It is my daily prayer to be able to exemplify a gentle and kind way of communicating to my children, and oh, how I really need to earnestly pray for it, and for them, too!
Thank you for your email.
Amen, Rina, amen!! But it sure stretches us, doesn’t it, this walking like Jesus? 😉
This is the type of conversations we have with our children as well 🙂 I completely agree, people talk to their children in ways that they would never speak to another person. I’m always amazed at the people who consistently blow off their children and simply talk at them. Sometimes I just want to say, “they are PEOPLE.” lol. Not that we don’t snap at them, but I really try to make a conscious effort to converse with them rather than talking at them. Blessings to you and your family!
Thanks, Crystal. I know what you mean about seeing folks speaking to their children with such disrespect. And we wonder why the generation of children are growing up without respect for anyone or anything. Breaks my heart!
Thank you for reminding me how important it was to receive similar words of encouragement from a stranger. When I see moms “doing it right,” I need to step out of my comfort zone and give encouragement freely, too.
Beth you are so right! How often do we praise moms who are with their children? We are quick to criticize but slow to praise. Great encouragement to all of us, thanks for sharing it!!
You really encouraged me Kate!
Thanks for writing this post! I’m visiting from heavenly homemakers. 🙂
Tabitha, praise the Lord! Thanks so much for visiting. Hope to see you again.
oops! this is my first time linking up and i put my name instead of my blog post name.
i love your post. i think it’s so important to be respectful to your children and to apologize to them! i love that you are reminding and encouraging others to do the same.
HAHA!! No problem, Kristen! Thanks so much for coming by this week! Hoping to get to know you.
What a sweet story and great example to set. I’m definitely still not perfect at it – especially if I have several grandkids. But God has also taught me to say “I’m sorry” when I blow it. Not my favorite thing to do, and yet, as He reminds me, another good example to set for our children and grandchildren. Thanks for these sweet words of encouragement.
Kaye, you are always an encouragement with your comments. Thanks so much.
Thank you for this! I have managed to get in the practice of apologizing when I’m not respectful to my child, but I hadn’t thought about adding in practicing saying what I meant the right way afterwards. I love that. I’d love to retrain both my tongue and my daughter’s.
Tara, it has been one of the BEST practices of my married and parenting life! Humbling, yes, but great for “training in righteousness”. Thanks for sharing.
What a great post. Yes, we need to let kids be kids and TEACH them patiently. Amen. Great post.
So true and important Kate. Some children only hear belittling and swear words and that is how they respond too. Children learn from their parents.
You said it, Wendy! Children are like little mirrors reflecting back OUR character into their own young lives. And our words have a powerful effect on their lives. Thanks for sharing!