I told you the other day how I may have judged parents a little too harshly when I was a Children’s Pastor. But when I did work with kids full time (organizing activities, ministry and teaching at churches, camps and special events), I was learning a lot about parenting. I have watched hundreds of parent-child interactions. I’ve watched the kids that physically crumble when their parents come to pick them up. I’ve seen boys stand a little taller when their dads pat them on the back. I’ve noticed girls smile brighter when their moms encourage them.
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. Have a family motto or cheer. 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.
OK, so maybe these ideas won’t guarantee your kids turn out right. But I can guarantee if you do these things with real true love and acceptance behind them, you’ll make a positive impact on your child’s life. The more you can affirm your child’s heart, their personality and their talents the more confident, settled and full your child’s heart will be. And the more they’ll want to be with you—because they’ll recognize the safe haven and acceptance in your home.
What do you to to affirm your children?
Don’t forget! Our week-long “Have a New Kid by Friday” series begins on Monday. Don’t forget to grab the book if you want to play along!
I think using positive words to encourage your children is one of the finest things in life. So, I’m linking this post to another encouraging & positive woman, Amy at Finer Things of Life and her Finer Things Friday carnival!