Words spoken harshly or hastily can still affect us years after the incident. Did a parent or teacher ever make a negative remark to you that you can still remember? “You are stupid!” “You’re ugly.” “You’ll never amount to anything.”
In a rash moment of anger or frustration we, as parents, can say something that will impact and change our child’s self-esteem and life forever.
Several weeks ago, Matey and I were going over his spelling words for his visual and auditory processing exercises. My frustration level was rising due to Matey’s inability to remember what we had just gone over. Matey suddenly stopped and said, “Please don’t get angry and say something horrible to me.” This made me stop and have a serious think about what I was communicating to him. I was reacting out of shame. At the previous appointment, Matey had completely forgotten all the work we had done and the behavioural optometrist had asked us not to come back if he couldn’t do it the next appointment as it was a waste of time and money.
There is so much power in our words. We can take precautions when we are frustrated and angry to not speak, to take a few minutes time out, but there may be a time when we say something hurtful or life impacting in a negative way.
What can we do:
1. Apologise. Not just say sorry but accept full responsibility.
2. Realise that it takes a lot more times of saying the positive for them to then believe it.
3. Lead our kids through a prayer to break all agreement with the lies. An example of a prayer for this is to get your child to pray after you, “I break all agreements with lies and negative thoughts, both known and unknown. I also break all agreements with assumptions that have come about through believing the lies. Please forgive me God for partnering with the lie.” Then ask, “God, what would you like to give me, show me or tell me in exchange for the lie?” Then wait for God to show or tell them the truth.
I tend to find that the times I say stuff that should never be said are the times when I am tired or under pressure. Thus, I have an obligation to my kids to be on the ‘ball’ more & not put myself, knowingly, in situations where I could say stuff that will impact them negatively.
What have you personally found that has helped with your kids? I would love to hear.