Our Kids Are Listening

Words, one of the most powerful weapons we have as humans.  (Yes, I just said weapons, you didn’t misread it).

We all know that old saying, “sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me.”   While there is some truth to that and there is also a lot of untruth.

Words are powerful.

And God said, Let there be light.

The bible didn’t say that God made light, it says he commanded it with his voice.

Ok, I’m not going to start quoting a bunch of bible verses, but I just wanted to put it into perspective.

The truth is, what we say to our kids matters.  It matters what they think about themselves, it impacts their next decision, they think about what we said later, IT MATTERS.

Words are one of the most careless ways that people parent.  Parents often speak without thinking, especially if they are mad or stressed out.

We’ve all heard someone say something rude to their kids, but have we stepped back and heard ourselves and the words that we are choosing?

Some parents, out of genuine concern, say, “Be careful.  You are going to get hurt.”  While the parent has the best intention so that their kid doesn’t skin a knee as they ride their bike 20 miles-per-hour down the street, this phrase gets overused in situations where the kids aren’t really going to get hurt at all.  My very first blog posts was inspired by a mom telling her kid to stop climbing a 5 foot hill because it was too dangerous

While it might seem harmless, think about it this way, if you are always telling your child to be careful because they are going to get hurt, you are teaching them that danger lurks at every corner and that they cannot fend for themselves as they grow older.

Even when we think kids aren’t listening or paying attention to what we are saying, they actually are.  They are completely internalizing it.

Here’s proof, in case you need some.  😉

Every night when I empty my son’s lunch boxes (yes I pack their lunches every day here is an example, here is another example), one of my son’s water bottle is empty.  13.5 ounces of water drunk at lunchtime.

The other day the school flip-flopped the 3rd grade schedule for the day because of testing –  Iowa Basics in the morning and math in the afternoon.

As per usual, my son drank 13.5 ounces of water at lunch and ate the food I packed him which happened to include a cup of pineapple in juice.

As you can imagine, he had to go the bathroom that afternoon.  Really had to go.  He was in the middle of a math test and had to leave the room twice.  He had forgotten to go before recess ( his usual routine) so his bladder caught up with him.

When the end of the class period came, my son had not finished his test.  His teacher (who is awesome by the way) casually mentioned that next time he would be able to finish the test if he didn’t go the bathroom twice.

As my son relayed the story to me, I knew exactly what was going to happen the very next day.

Any guesses??????

If you guessed that he didn’t drink his water at lunch, BINGO!

As I unpacked his lunch bag, this is what I saw.

It’s hard to see, but his water bottle is over half full.

See the power of words????  Even words that are meant to help?

I don’t blame the teacher for saying to my son that he would have finished the test if he hadn’t gone the bathroom twice (I would have done the same thing), but what it reminded me of was to be mindful about what I say, knowing that words have more power than we think.

When my boys were little I was very careful with my word choices and how I phrased things.  The power of words was so forefront in my mind that my boys and I created a book called i love me! that is full of daily affirmations.

I created the i love me! book, because I knew it could be one of the simplest things that you can do to strengthen what your child tells himself or herself.  The phrases that run through our heads on a daily basis are our “self-talk” and it is this self talk that impacts our confidence.  If kids self talk is i am brave, i am creative, i am loved, they will connect to their potential, to their bravery and gain confidence in their abilities.

I believe in the power of words, I understand their importance, but sometimes I get in a hurry and speak before I think.   It happens to all of us.

Today before you speak to your kids, take a deep breath and be mindful of your word choices, not just for that moment, but think about how they might create ripples down the road.






P.S. As always, I love to hear your stories!  Share a time that a word (or words) were ingrained in your memory so much that it impacted your life (positively or negatively).

The more we share, the more the community grows and benefits.  And as they say, “It takes a village to raise a child.”

About The Author

Summer Brackhan

Mom, sociologist, teacher, author, musician, world traveler, parenting and health coach who believes healthy living incorporates body, mind and soul and that life is not about living in little boxes, but experiencing everything at its fullest.

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