I have taught kids for decades. I never cease to be horrified when a parent talks to me, a child in tow, and says the most inappropriate things right in front of that child!
It is as if, from the parent’s perspective, the child has no ears- or intelligence.
Example: Last week was our closing Drama Camp. Once again, I had a parent say aloud to me (with the child NEXT to us), “Kathleen, I just don’t know how you do it! How you get my child to perform on stage! She is so shy when I want her to speak. I just can’t get her to say anything, not for grandparents or anyone. She just never does what I ask her to do. How do you do it?”
Well, for starters, I don’t let children know they have an option to obey me – as this parent just did. She gave her child permission not to obey her or have any respect for her authority!
Parents, please hear me loud and clear. The number ONE most important thing to teach your children is RESPECT. Respect for you and other authority figures. This will help them as they grow up, but most importantly, help them learn to respect God.
Kids HEAR everything we say. They are smart enough at two years old to understand when we tell someone- in front of them- “Oh she won’t eat any vegetables.” The child suddenly realizes her power over mom to refuse vegetables.
I see this over and over again.
Another parent, last week, said (in front of her child), “We are never on time; because, my child just can’t get her act together in the morning, and she makes me late for everything.”
She will continue this behavior from now on, too. Parents have so much power in their words. Every child hears most EVERYTHING they say.
Please, please be careful what you say in front of your children. I have observed hundreds of examples. I have heard parents talk degradingly about their children’s sizes, or bad habits or bad grades – in front of the children. It breaks my heart.
You have the ability to build up your children, or destroy them, with one sentence. Please weigh the words your children will hear from you!!
Proverbs 31 talks about a woman who does it right:
“When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say, and she always says it kindly. She keeps an eye on everyone in her household, and keeps them all busy and productive. Her children respect and bless her; her husband joins in with words of praise.”