Before you even became a parent something had been given to you and you didn’t even realize it. In fact you were carrying it around for years completely unaware of what you had been carrying or how you even got it. Then when you finally had your first child it dawned on you what you had been carrying for all of those years. The reason you didn’t understand it is was because you never needed to use it until your first child was born into this world. Now you might not have articulated it exactly like I will but you will agree you carried this around for years waiting for this moment to put it to use.
You inherited a parenting toolbox filled with parenting tools passed down by the previous generation.
Depending upon the environment you grew up in either your toolbox was filled with a perfectly organized set of tools or your toolbox barely had anything in it. Every time you weren’t sure what to do as a parent you turned around and looked inside that toolbox hoping to find the right tool for the right moment with your child. Some of us turned around and looked for the right tools but they weren’t there. We couldn’t find it.
In our moment of desperation we did something we told ourselves we would never do, we parented our kid just like our parents tried to raise us. We wanted a new set of shiny parenting tools to use, but the only ones we could find in the moment were the broken, rusted out tools our parents use. Now we are frustrated as parents and failure feels like it’s just on the horizon.
Don’t lose all faith. There is hope. Even though you were handed a parenting toolbox with very few tools, your toolbox doesn’t have to stay bare. It can be refilled with new and pristine tools which will help you parent more effectively. Allow me the privilege of giving you a few tools when it come to the words we use with our children.
In case you missed it this is part 2 of a series on using our words wisely. One of the keys to raising our children to love the Lord and work through life’s challenges is we need to use our words wisely. Check out part 1 here:
Now that you have reread part 1, let’s add a few more tools to our toolbox. Not only do your words as a parent make a huge impact, but also the way you use your words and the type of words you use influence your children. Let’s look at 7 different tools we can add to our parenting toolbox.
- Say sorry– If you have been a parent for any length of time, then you have said something or done something you shouldn’t have said or done. It just happens. We are sinful people, but when we do mess up, there is a huge opportunity to teach a valuable lesson to our children. Don’t ever be afraid to tell your children you are sorry. Not only are you teaching them to apologize, but you are also giving them to opportunity to show forgiveness.
- I’m proud of you– Maybe you can remember the days when your kid used to always say “Watch me, Mommy!” “Watch me, Daddy!” Those were the days when you didn’t have to guess if your kid loved you or not. You knew because they always wanted to be with you. Inside of every teenager is still that same kid saying, “Watch me, Mommy!” “Watch me, Daddy!” Now they just add clause to the end of that the phrase “watch me.” Now they say “watch me, Mommy, just not too closely.” At every phase of your kids life they need you to pull them aside from the noise of the world and hear you say, “I’m proud of you.”
- I love you– This seems like it would be obvious, but for many parents their toolbox didn’t come with this tool. Their mom or dad never told them “I love you.” So they never say it either, but I can promise your kids want and need to hear those three simple words. It’s not just understood. It needs to be communicated repeatedly.
- Keep sarcasm to a minimum- Sarcasm works with you and your coworker or you and your friends. Sarcasm can bond a group of people together. When it comes to your kids though, sarcasm can often times have an incredibly negative affect. For some reason sarcasm feels more like truth when it comes from your parents, and regardless of the reasons why, we must be aware of this dynamic. Be aware that your sarcasm while intended to be funny might very well cause serious wounds in your child’s life.
- Encourage their strengths– Do you know what your children are good at? I don’t just mean talent wise. I mean what are your sons and daughters real strengths that God has given them. Notice their strengths and encourage them. It is never a bad decision to brag about your kid in front of your kid and to your kid. Saying things like, “Honey, you are so amazing at XYZ….” may not seem like a lot to a child in the moment, but they will cling onto those words when a harsh world tries to communicate a different reality.
- Pray with and for them– This was a blog post I did last week, and I can promise you that pray over time has a powerful affect on a child. Not only do you invite heaven to come be a part of earth, but you are inviting your child to go deeper in their faith.
- Ephesians 4:29– “ Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” If every parent in the world lived by this one verse 100% perfectly, societal problems would begin to fade into the background. Use your word to constantly build your children up. I know it’s hard. Children do dumb things. They say dumb things. Regardless of their actions we can always use our words to build up and encourage.
Share some other tools you have learned over the years by commenting below. Parenting takes a village, and I would love to hear your thoughts below.