Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit–You choose!
Every day, you will speak at least 7,000 words (some people a whole lot more!). How many of the words that you spoke yesterday made a positive difference to the people around you? To your child? To your child’s coach or teammates?
How many served little or no purpose at all?
How many were downright poisonous?
Words will either harm or build someone up. They will either destroy or they will give life. As parents, your words are especially powerful. They truly have the power to shape your child’s soul. Be thoughtful about how you use them.
Words That are Destructive for Your Child
If you want to be life-giving with your words as you talk to your child about sports, stay away from these types of speech:
Sarcasm. Some sarcasm is purely joking, but sarcasm can also be very destructive and cruel.
Vagueness. Lack of clarity can lead to misunderstandings and unmet expectations, which leads to conflict.
Threats. They can use your children to resent you and are basically bullying words.
Character attacks–Demeaning remarks against your child will chip away at their self-esteem.
Invalidations. These are remarks made that are dismissive of your child, such as “You just don’t get it,” “You don’t know what you’re talking about,” “You’re not even worth listening too.”
Hostile challenges. These are sarcastic questions or statements that don’t really care about the answer. Examples: You actually believe what you’re saying? Where’d you come up with that dumb idea?
Preaching. When parents are angry, they may resort to lecturing and quoting authorities to make their point. Preaching is not an effective tactic for parents, or for any other relationship. Examples: For a child who claims to be an athlete, you ought to work harder than you do.
Words That Give Life to Your Child:
Nurture relationships with these types of communication:
A sense of humor. Stop taking yourself so seriously!
Admit mistakes and apologize.
Actively listen and ask questions that show you are really tracking with them.
Express sincere praise openly. Try giving someone you love a shout-out to someone else when your loved one is in earshot and can accidentally “overhear.”
Attack the problem, not the person. When problems arise take time to understand the problem and the person and seek to problem-solve, rather than blame.
Don’t jump to conclusions. Wait until you know the whole story before you draw conclusions. Stay open-minded, get the facts.
Keep your word. The best way to show people they’re important to you is to follow through on your commitments.
Say thanks. Everyone wants to be appreciated. Don’t wait for perfection; appreciate and enjoy your family for who they are.
Don’t waste your 7,000+ words on things that destroy. Parents, if you choose the positive path, you will raise humans that feel secure and loved and you will make the youth sports experience more fun for everyone!
Janis Meredith is a family coach who wants to help all parents raise champions. You can find out more at rcfamilies.com.