Our words are powerful, and we must be careful about how we use that power. The Bible teaches us a very contrasting panorama; with our tongue, we can praise God, but with that same tongue, we can curse and harm others. Our words have the potential to give life to someone's hope or faith, or they can destroy dreams, hopes, and faith. We can leave bruises and scars on others because of words we say in anger or frustration. Those scars and bruises can last a lifetime and become an obstacle for a person to reach their full potential.
Children and teens may not know how powerful their words can be and may not be aware of the effects their words can have on themselves and others. As parents, we must teach them how powerful their words are and be careful of each word that comes out of our mouths because, as the Bible says. 'Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.' We must ask ourselves, do my words hurt or heal? Especially when we are around our children or our teens. They are sponges and copy everything we do. We also have to be careful of the words we say to them. We can be causing a lot of damage if the only words we say to them are words like, you are a moron, are you stupid, you are a brat, you are incorrigible, among other negative remarks. Instead, we need to encourage and lift them. We need to speak life instead of destruction. We also need to teach them the importance of taming their tongues. How do we teach our children and teens the power of words?
1. Give them a good example.- We need to be an example for our children and teens and help them understand that our words are powerful and that we are the ones that decide if we will use our words to destroy or to encourage. We also need to make them accountable. We set a great example when we speak up and correct our children or teens when we see them being hurtful or mean with their words. Teach them to breathe and take a moment before speaking whenever they feel angry or frustrated. This practice will help them choose their words wisely.
2. Allow them to correct their words and show they are sorry. Grace is everything. If God has grace towards us, why not show your children and teens a little grace? Let them know they were hurtful and help them understand why. You must let them know that they need to ask for forgiveness and say they are sorry whenever they hurt someone with their words. Also, give them examples of how to express their feelings without hurting others.
3. Practice the way they should answer with them. You can make them practice controlling their words by teaching them to stop to think before speaking and redirecting their conversations. You can also highlight the power of positive words by using them with them. Teach them compliments and appreciative words they can use with their peers.
4. Teach them to put themselves in others' shoes before speaking or answering. We must teach them to put themselves in the other person's shoes. You can also teach them to think first if what they will say is something they'll like to hear themselves. Empathy will help them think about the other person's feelings before saying something that can hurt them.
5. Make them aware of the consequences of their words. Explain to children and teens that words have consequences, and once spoken, they cannot be taken back. Help them comprehend that hurtful words can have an endless impact on someone's self-esteem and relationships.
6. Teach them about Respectful Disagreement. Let them know that it is okay to have different views and opinions, but they need to be respectful of how they express their disagreements.
As you can see, teaching children and teens about the power of their words not only helps them in their relationships; it plays a vital role in their emotional and social growth by helping them become accountable for their choices, more empathetic, and compassionate individuals.