Words and mothers. Mothers and words.
There are some words moms should never say … and there are some words moms should always say.
Words hold such life-altering power and yet often moms like me carelessly speak with little consideration for long term impact.
Few mothers would throw a child’s entire wardrobe in the trash and yet that is what I have done to my child’s self-esteem when I have spoken in anger or in outrage.
Not many mothers would destroy a year’s supply of vitamins in response to a moment of childish forgetfulness yet that is what I have done to his or her future emotional health when my words have not fit the crime.
As a mother of 5 grown children, I have learned a lot about words over the years. I have learned what to say .. and more importantly … what not to say.
I would like to leave a deposit of “Never and Always” in the lives of all of my precious mom friends today. You are the ones who are raising the next generation of dynamic people who will make an impact on the world. These people will be a reflection of the words spoken into their lives when they were in their formative years. Speak well, my friends. Speak well.
HERE ARE THE WORDS THAT I BELIEVE YOU SHOULD NEVER SAY…
AND THEN THE WORDS THAT I BELIEVE YOU SHOULD ALWAYS SAY.
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Never say, “You drive me crazy!”
Remind yourself who is the parent and who is the child. Never accuse your child of having a negative influence or power in your life. Children are a blessing … a rare and valuable gift … from heaven’s bounty into your life. Take responsibility for your own emotional turmoil and never blame it on your child.
There will be days when parenting pushes you to the brink of emotional stability but it is not the child who owns the power in the situation. It is you, the mom, who owns the power to choose, to determine and to guide. It is you, the mom, who owns the power to rely on God for emotional strength and lucidity.
Always say, “If God gave me a catalogue of all the little boys (girls) in the world, yours is the face I would have chosen.”
Acceptance, genuine approval and heartfelt love are among the three greatest gifts a parent can give to a child. It is more important that your children hear you declare words of affirmation and unconditional love than it is that you take them to Disney World, send them to private school, or buy them designer clothes.
In the Bible, God says that He is delighted with us and that He literally sings over us! If God responds that way to us, as His children, I think that it is time that as parents we began to act and talk like God.
“As for the saints who are in the earth, they are the majestic ones in whom is all My delight.” – Psalm 16:3
“The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” – Zephaniah 3:17
Never say, “I love you but I don’t like you very much right now.”
As parents, regardless of how our child is acting, we must affirm our wholehearted acceptance of their personhood and value. It’s one thing not to like what they are choosing to do … it’s another thing altogether to verbalize the lie that you don’t like “them” in that moment. In every moment of life, whether they are obedient or disobedient … charming or frustrating … sweet or acting obnoxious … as a mother you must affirm the value that you have placed on who they are as human beings.
Always say, “You are the greatest gift I have ever been given.”
Children are great observers of people and situations; children hear what is not spoken and often don’t hear what is actually verbally rehearsed. As your child sees you give your heart, time and attention to things and people other than him, your little one will begin to wonder where he or she lands on your list of priorities.
Let’s face it … there are things that a mother needs to do that are going to often divert her attention away from the little lives under her care. That is why it is imperative that often you remind your children of their value to you.
“Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.” – Luke 12:7
Never say, “I don’t want to be with you!”
To a child, being with mom and dad is the greatest gift imaginable. Love is spelled T-I-M-E to the little ones under your feet. Treasure every single moment you are given with your child regardless of how they are acting. Know that in these difficult moments of disobedience and embarrassment that you are called to disciple them to healthy behavior. Change your emotional reaction to your child’s behavior with an unbreakable resolve that you will love them, train them and value them regardless of of how they act or speak.
Always say, “You have been created by God for greatness at this moment in history. You are a Daniel, a David, an Esther, a Ruth, a Peter, a Mary. You have the fingerprint of God on your soul!”
Declare greatness and purpose over your children with the words that you speak. When your children feel like a failure, let them know that their feelings do not tell the truth but that the Word of God is the source of all truth.
Dream big dreams with your children in every age and every stage of life. Never belittle their desire to be an astronaut, play the piano at Carnegie Hall or discover the cure for cancer. Why not your child?!
Pray that God will lead your little man and your miniature lady into the grandness of His plan and design for their lives!
“For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord: plans for welfare and not for calamity; to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11
“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.” – Psalm 139:13 & 14
Never say, “I wish that I had never had you!”
Have any of you ever used these words? I hope not … but the reason that I have included them in my list is that I have heard many frustrated mothers in public places say these words, or words similar to them, in violent anger. I have often wondered, if a mom says things like this in public, what does she say in private? Destructive words such as these penetrate deeply into a child’s heart and do significant damage that may never be repaired.
Always say, “You are a good girl (boy)!”
One of my children was a very active, mischievous, independent 2 year old. Every day when he woke up, I would tell him while he was still in his crib, “You are mama’s good boy!” When we were out with other parents and children, rather than rehearse all that he had done wrong that day, I would always say so that he could hear me, “He is such a good little boy.” When I was tucking him in at night, I would always remind him, “You are growing into such a good boy.”
If he was naughty, I disciplined him and talked to him about his behavior. However, my daily and constant declaration over him was, “You are good.” Heaven has placed the power of creation in our words and I was determined to raise a good boy. And you know what? He is a good man today because I declared over him the possibility and potential of goodness.
Our children will become whom they believe themselves to be. Your words lay the foundation for the men and women they will grow into tomorrow.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” – Proverbs 18:21
“For as a man thinks within himself, so is he.” – Proverbs 23:7
Never say, “Wait till your father gets home!”
The arrival of daddy at the front door after a long day at work should not be dreaded but should be highly and enthusiastically anticipated. Discipline should never wait until daddy gets home but should be taken care of swiftly and effectively at the time of infraction. Daddy’s arrival at home should be the highlight of the day for everyone including mom, the children and the dad himself! If there is an event or a behavior that dad needs to be made aware of, it should happen after dinner hour in a private and safe setting.
Always say, “I love you because you are mine. There is nothing you could ever do to make me love you any less. There is nothing you could ever do to make me love you any more. I love you because you are mine.”
Don’t make the mistake of merely “thinking” about how much you love your children but verbalize it on a daily and hourly basis. Saying it once a day is good but it is not enough. Assure them of your love time after time after time. Hour after hour after hour.
Look in their little eyes and tell them “I love you” when they are fresh from heaven and you are holding them in your arms for the very first time.
Kneel beside them when they are toddlers, hold their little faces in your hands and tell them, “I love you today and I love you forever.”
When they go off to school every morning, the last words they should hear as they dash off to catch the bus are, “Don’t ever forget that I love you more than words can say!”
And when they are difficult teenagers with minds of their own and try to ignore your involvement in their lives, say, “I love you and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.”
Write “I love you” in lipstick in the bathroom mirror when they are learning to read.
Place notes beside their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in their lunch boxes that remind them, “I love you all day today!”
Hide notes under their pillows … inside their tennis shoes … and in their jacket pockets that say, “You are my treasure and I love you!”
Your perpetual and auditory proclamation of love will help your child navigate treacherous waters and horrific storms. Declared love over a young person’s life fights demons of fear, self-destruction and doubt. The love that you decree over your little ones is the fertilizer of the soul that will produce healthy young men and women who have the emotional and spiritual tools to change the world!
“Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them.” – Mark 10: 14 & 16
MOPS International is giving away a free one year membership! ($23.95 value) MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) is an incredible group that connects moms all over the world to a community of women, in their own neighborhoods, who meet together to laugh, cry and embrace the journey of motherhood. We will announce the winner on October 2, 2013 on our facebook page, so be sure to “Like” the Carol McLeod, Bible Teacher and Author page!
If you would like to enter to win this membership (you can give it to a sister/friend/daughter/etc) just send us your name & email address in the form below. We would love to hear from you in the comment section! Let us know your ideas for a future blog post! (not required for MOPS membership give-away)