3 Things To Stop Saying To Your Kids This School Year
The hustle of a new school year can cause frustration for moms. Today, I welcome The Better Mom contributor, Amber Lia, to share how to rescript some common things we say to our children to model the love of God. -XO, Ruth
The minute I start thinking about the new school year, I’m both excited and overwhelmed. Our summer days have been filled with swimming, reading, and sleeping in. As much as I love routine and watching my kids mature and learn when fall rolls around, I brace myself for the inevitable challenges. My boys aren’t the only ones who have maturing to do. As their mom, I long to have a fresh start too.
Too often, I find myself saying things to my kids that I wish I had kept to myself. The hustle and bustle of school preparations, making lunches, organizing school supplies, finding a new rhythm, laboring over homework, and managing our lives adds a lot of pressure. A new school year can introduce new triggers toward frustration. I long to speak lovingly and kindly, even when I feel the stress coming on, but that’s not always the case. And sometimes, that leads to saying things that don’t do my kids hearts’ any good.
Can you relate? Have you found yourself saying things to your kids that you wish you hadn’t? Ephesians 4:29 reminds us, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” If you are convicted by that verse, join the club!
Talking with other moms, I have found that I’m not the only one. These three common questions/statements are ones we could all rescript so that we are modeling the love of God toward our students:
1. "You are old enough to have this figured out. Just get it done. It’s not that hard!”
Our kids' struggles often seem small, but to them, they are very real. We can find ourselves becoming impatient, frustrated by their slow progress, or inability to grasp a concept. And yet, God call us to be patient, long-suffering, and compassionate. Serving our children sometimes means saying this instead: “I see this is challenging for you right now. How can I help you?”. Parenting continually offers us the chance to model kindness, and resist the temptation to be curt with our children. Taking a deep breath and breathing life into them is a win-win situation.
2. “Hurry up!”
Whether it’s getting out the door or an attempt to clear the homework off the table for dinnertime, many of us resort to yelling at our kids, telling them to work or move quickly. The Bible encourages us to build one another up, instead of speaking rudely. God reminds us, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;” (I Corinthians 13:4-5, ESV). Instead, we could say something like this: “Jessica, if you need more time to work, that’s okay. Let’s go set up a quiet work space for you in the bedroom.”. Or, “Luke, we keep running late to school. Let’s work on this together. Do you think that keeping your shoes by the door might help you get going a little more quickly?” These are just a couple of ideas, but planning what we will say ahead of time will help us model Christ-like character in the heat of the moment.
3. “If you spent as much energy trying to do it as you spend complaining about it, you’d be done already.”
I know. The complaining can wear us down. Instead of lecturing our kids in these tense moments, something like this may be more helpful and compassionate: “Son, sometimes, we have to do hard things. I know you’d rather be doing something else, but when you work without complaining, as God asks us to do, then we will get through it more quickly. And, you will please the Lord. I’m proud of you for being willing to do hard things with a joyful spirit.”
These “Parenting Scripts” can make all the difference in the tone and atmosphere of our homes. When we become consistent in our kindness, we will have a great impact on the hearts of our children. Losing our cool, being quick to anger, and saying things we regret doesn’t do anybody any good.
As the school year ramps up, let’s not just check off the school supply list and think we are ready. Are there other things you say that you know you need to stop saying to your children? Let’s invite the Holy Spirit to search our hearts and help us to be ready to speak to our kids with grace and love.
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