Changing Your Parenting Phrases to Be Positive and Loving
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Have you ever opened your mouth and your mom’s voice came out? Or maybe you hear still hear your dad’s disappointment when you make a mistake. Our voices as parents become our kids’ inner voice. So how can we make sure that their inner voice is supportive, gentle, and loving? Replacing the things you find yourself saying on a daily basis with gentle parenting phrases will change the way you parent.
Figure Out Your Current Phrases
First, you’ll need to figure out what your current parenting phrases are. What are the things you find yourself saying a million times a day? Chances are a few phrases just popped into your head! If not, take a day or two to concentrate on what you say to your kids – I’ll bet a few things come up way more than once. Write your phrases down.
Think About Your Tone
What is your tone when you say these phrases? Most of the time, they’re said quickly and sharply, to correct a behavior that comes up a lot. How are you feeling when you say those phrases? Frustrated or annoyed that you have to say it again? Or maybe they just come out of your mouth, though your mind isn’t really checked into the situation. Write down the tone and emotions behind your phrases.
Come Up With a New Parenting Phrase
Here’s where we’ll figure out the phrase that you want your kids repeating to themselves. This stage will depend a bit on your parenting style (check out that post to figure out yours). The simple question is: when your kids are in a similar situation as adults, what do you want their first thought to be? Now, you may be thinking, God help me if my kids are still climbing on top of the couch when they’re adults!! Hopefully they won’t be! But what should they think when they really want to do something that they know might be dangerous? What do you want their inner voice to say in that moment? I know it might sound a bit dramatic to relate those things. But, as parents, we are raising adults. We want them to make good choices when the risks are low, so they know what to do when the risks are high. For more about this parenting school of thought, check out Love and Logic.
It’s really hard to change how we act, especially when we say these parenting phrases out of ease, habit, and reaction. Changing these phrases is going to take hard work, intention, and presence. When it’s time to use one of your new phrases, take a deep breath to calm down and fully focus on the situation. Look your child in the eye, then say your new phrase calmly. When I started doing this with Emma, I was shocked at how much more likely she was to listen the first time. That eye contact and presence is powerful! She could feel that I was serious, and I wasn’t going to get distracted before she followed through.
Give Yourself Grace
Of course, we’re not perfect. It takes time to change, and even then, we can find ourselves slipping back into our old habits quickly. Even with the best intentions, there is no perfect parent. Give yourself grace when you mess up! Don’t let that guilt sit for more than a second. It won’t do any good – instead, plan for what to do better next time. And we can always pray for God to fill in whatever shortcomings we have as parents.
What parenting phrases would you like to replace in your household? Tell me in the comments!
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