Take Back Your Words

By Jackie Saulmon Ramirez | August 23, 2012

Have you ever said something to your child and immediately wish you could take those words back? We’ve all walked in those shoes unless you or your children are saints. Saying you are sorry afterward is only going to make you feel better because unlike in a courtroom, your child can’t disregard what you said.

If you are anything like me (short tempered) or any average, run-of-the-mill parent and you are prone to making negative remarks to your children you might want to think about this. Every word we say communicates. Every eye-roll and grunt (ut oh, huummph,) is speaking volumes.

Stop your words before they leave your lips and prevent your next parenting train wreck. Back off, step into the next room, empty a waste basket or clean a couple of door knobs. Anything but spewing damaging words— don’t stop till you cool off.

Identify your mood. Are you angry or upset? What are you thinking? If you are upset or angry the goal is most likely to let off steam. There is no harm in waiting and delaying communication. If you are calm then your goal is to communicate.

Think about what you want to achieve. You want to teach, enlist their help, entice or invite, inspire, etc. but with kindness.

Choose your words carefully. You are a supreme being in their eyes. Let your words be a gift, or an invitation. Which would you have wanted to hear from your own parents when you were their age?

Which would you rather hear?

“You left the basement light on again— it costs me a fortune!”
“Thank you for leaving the basement light on but it saves energy to turn it off.”

“You forgot to let the dog out and it pooped in the den.”
“Accidents happen, come on and I’ll show you how to clean it up. Put the dog leash by the door knob to help you remember.”

“Go do your homework!”
“Take this granola bar to have while you do homework.”

“No you can’t have friends over.”
“Today is not a good day for your visitors, how about tomorrow?”

Anger does not have to be present for us to trip over our good intentions:

“Get over here and watch me cook this so you won’t starve when you leave home.”
“I want you to help make this so you can learn an old family recipe.”

Just for fun, try thinking of three different sentences for each communication this week, then pick the best. You could also use this exercise with the children so they can hone their own communication skills.

Copyright © 2014 Jackie Saulmon Ramirez. All Rights Reserved.

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About Jackie Saulmon Ramirez

Jackie has volunteered for more than twenty years for children and family issues. Currently she writes for parents in the "Reminder" and "Parent Rap" Facebook page. If you are interested in receiving the "Reminder," send her a message.
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