Do Your Words Build Up Your Child? Or Tear Him Down?

with 8 Comments

Several weeks ago, I was traveling through an airport and over heard harsh words being screamed at a small child. Stressed out parents, frustrated with poor behavior, were yelling at and calling their child names. My heart went out to the small child, maybe 3 or 4 years old.  When I looked in her eyes I saw, hurt, fear and anger.  My immediate thought was, “This child won’t want a relationship with you in a few years.”

I understand frustration in parenthood. Trust me. Raising four kids, I had my fair share of frustrating moments. There were many times when I had to apologize for speaking too harshly, or for losing my cool.  The words of Proverbs 14:1 brought a lot of conviction to my parenting journey. Even now, that my children are adults, I return to these words often, “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.”  Wowza! Talk about conviction!

Every day, especially as parents, we speak thousands of words. Do your words build up your child, or tear him down? When he hears you talking about him, does he hear positivity or negativity? Does she receive messages that tell her she will be someone great in God’s kingdom or does she hear words that predict she will be a loser? Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying don’t discipline your child – Please, do discipline. But discipline with the goal of seeing Christ formed in your child. Use fewer words and make sure your words are nice. A good question to ask yourself is, “Would I feel embarrassed if someone over heard my words?”  If you blow it – and you will at times – apologize and ask forgiveness!  Keep the end goal in mind: an adult who has a relationship with God and you. An adult who is responsible, productive, and caring.

I want my words to speak life!  I want to be known as an encourager not a criticizer. I want to take every opportunity I can to speak encouragement into the lives of my children, their spouses and my grandkids. I want them to know that I am cheering for them. I believe in them. I love them. And, that God is on their side. Today is a new day – it can be filled with encouraging words for those I love!

Hey, parents, I’d love to hear from you!   Did you know that The 30 Day Praise Challenge for Parents is scheduled to release in September.   As I prepare for that release, I’ love for you to be praying with me that God would use The 30 Day Praise Challenge For Parents to bring revival and encouragement to the hearts of millions of parents.  If you are willing to join me by praying that God will use that book in the lives of many parents – would you email me at becky@beckyharling.com ?

I’d also love to know, looking back on your childhood, what words stand out most in your memory? They can be the words of a parent, friend, teacher or grandparent?  And hey, remember if you’ve blown it recently with your words, it’s never too late to apologize and ask forgiveness.  God is always gracious and hopefully your kids will be too!~

Leave a comment. I’ll be choosing one comment and giving away a gift card!  Don’t miss out…..you need to leave a comment!

8 Responses

  1. Jessica
    | Reply

    The words that made the biggest difference in my life were told to me when I was a teen, “Jessica, God smiles when He looks at you.” This painted a completely different picture of God then what I had ever heard. Despite this, it took a decade to come to the understanding that God isn’t like my father.

    • Nikki Shipley
      | Reply

      As our children were growing up, we used encouraging words and didn’t verbally abuse our children. I am embarrassed that as adult children, I still try to encourage but find myself retaliating in response to their verbal abuse.

  2. Emily Helmick
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    Thanks Becky! This really hit home for me. I have to guard my tongue more!

  3. Marian Green
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    Wonderful reminder, Becky. Just last night I found myself over a child’s bed with the need to apologize for words spoken. We had a wonderful talk. The gravity of letting Christ be visible in my words and actions weighs upon me everyday! Slowly, He’s winning through me.

  4. Mary Cipriani-Price
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    So good Becky! Actually we need this from the day we are born until the day we die. I have often encouraged other parents with Ephesians 4:29 Only say what is uplifting to build each other up according to their needs. Now if I could only follow it vs. state the facts I see in my kids and husband! Oh Lord please help me! 🙂

  5. Melanie Moritzky
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    Becky, as a person who was brought down by words regularly as a child and then even during my marriage I have always been careful to speak to my children intentionally about what words can do to others. I have not always kept my temper, and I have apologized to my children when I did. I would hear negativity from parents toward their children all the time at my old apartment and prayed for people there on a regular basis. The problem is when you do that to your child they will in turn do it to others and perpetuate the negative cycle. I can’t wait to see your praise challenge for parents launch, it will be amazing!

  6. Barb Baker
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    This is a powerful message and one I am so mindful of due to the verbal messages that I received as a child. I have chosen to view the harsh words that I received as false statements and focus on God’s opinion of me.

  7. Ginger Lemberger
    | Reply

    Encouraging words to live by and great reminder that we are not only the “hands and feet” but also the words we speak! In all things no matter how frustrating we need to emulate Jesus!

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