Did you know our tongues have the power of life and death? With our words we can tear down our children OR lift them up! It was a lot easier to control my tongue when my daughter was a little baby. But now that I have two kids and they have their own wills and own desires, it’s harder for me to keep my words calm, encouraging and constructive.
In the last few months I’ve heard people talking about how false praise can be detrimental to our kids. And at one level I agree. We don’t want to tell our kids they can do anything…when they can’t! BUT, I don’t want to swing the pendulum the other way and not encourage our kids with our words.
We’ve all heard the stories of broken children that are told, “You’ll never amount to anything!” or “I wish you were never born!” No one would argue that these harsh words can destroy a child’s self-esteem so much that it makes a huge and lasting effect on them. We know adults who look back on their childhood and remain bitter because of the negative words spoken over them.
What if we took the same idea and turned it around? What if we used our words to so positively impact our kids it resulted in abnormally AMAZING adults? What if as our kids grew they were productive, confident and stable because of the POSITIVE words spoken over them?
Words have the power of life and death. Here are some ways to purposefully speak life into your child’s heart:
1. Accentuate the Positive. Instead of saying, “You’ll fall if you hop on one foot!” say, “Good job, sweet girl! You’re hopping on one foot!” Look for the bright side and say it!
2. Shout It Out. Tell the grocery clerk about your child’s straight A’s. Make sure you tell your husband over dinner how your daughter was obedient that day. When you introduce your child to someone highlight their special skill, “This is my son, he’s an awesome artist.”
3. Get Crazy. Make posters with your child’s name to hold up during their sports games. Come up with funny encouraging names for your kids: I know a grandmother who calls her grandkids “Sir Isaac the Amazing” and “Lady Ella the Exceptional”. Make kids embarrassed of how well you speak of them!
4. Write It Down. Tape an “I love you” note to your son’s bathroom mirror. Write an honest-to-goodness love letter and save it for a day when they need some encouragement. Start a journal that chronicles the achievements, cute things and funny events of their life–then read it together, give it as a gift or save it for their wedding day.
5. Lead Them. My daughter has a hard time talking to new people. So, when they say, “Oh, she’s shy.” We say, “Oh, no! She’s very brave! Right, sweetie?” When she hears ME saying who she really is, it helps her believe it and act on it, too.
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold, in settings of silver.
Proverbs 25:11 NKJV
What do you to to affirm your children?