You probably don’t need to be told that your kids are listening to more than you realize. They’re sponges. They absorb what they’re exposed to, good and bad. That’s why it’s important to watch your words. When little ears are around, they’re going to hear what you say. So make sure you say words of value. Not only do we need to teach our children how to speak kindly to and about others, but we need to model it as well. We know that gossiping is harmful on many levels. But what about gossiping within the walls of your own home?
There’s a time and place for talking about others to your spouse. However, it shouldn’t be done in front of your kids unless you’re saying something positive. Tearing people down in front of kids teaches them that it’s OK to speak that way about others. In reality, it’s not. Here are some tips to watch your words within your home.
1. Are your kids in the room?
Before saying anything about someone else, check to see if your children are in the room with you. Even if you’re saying something under your breath, glance around the room. It’s amazing what those little ears can hear. Besides, we can’t expect our kids to speak kindly about others when we can’t do it ourselves.
2. Are you building up or tearing down?
Sometimes, there are reasons to complain or vent to your spouse about someone else. But if your goal is to tear a person down, that’s never OK. If your goal is to voice your frustrations so you don’t explode at an inappropriate time or place, that’s acceptable. In fact, your spouse can serve as a sounding board as you tell him about what happened. Examine the spirit of your venting and complaining.
3. Say a prayer.
Instead of talking about someone else, say a silent prayer for him or her. Prayer has the power to change your heart and perspective. Rarely does discussing the problems you have with someone make you feel better. It usually leaves you more frustrated and upset. But imagine how you’d feel if you prayed for that person instead of complaining.
4. Apologize to your kids.
We all try our best around our kids, but sometimes we mess up. If you slip and say something in front of your children that you shouldn’t have said, apologize. Our kids need to see us being real and honest, which includes watching us make and fix mistakes. An apology to your child can speak volumes. Plus, it teaches them how and when to apologize to others.
Make a pact with your spouse not to let unkind words into your home. You’ll slip up and make mistakes, but being intentional about the words you say within your own home is a huge blessing to pass along to your children.
Can you think of any other tips to help you watch your words around your kids?