Studies show that in the average home, ten negative comments are made for every positive one. Also, it takes four positive comments to counteract one negative comment. With that ratio, it's easy to understand why so many children are discouraged and suffer from a poor self-image these days.
We can't always see the destructive potential of our words, but let's imagine the following scenario. Your child gets up in the morning and dresses in a shingled outfit much like the Jolly Green Giant on the vegetable commercials. The only difference is the outfit is made of Post-It notes. Every time you question his worth, criticize, make him feel guilty, incapable, insufficient, or unattractive, the hurtful words are scribbled across a slip of yellow paper and it flutters to the ground. Perhaps when you see the paper begin to fall, you realize the effect of your hurtful words and try to stick the paper back on with a positive word. However, it won't stick. The child goes off to school and hears more discouraging words and more shingles fall to the ground. Finally, at the end of the day, the child comes home, exposed, naked and insecure - and rightly so.
As a mom, we can cover our kids with positive words so that when the negative ones cause a post-it note to fall, they won't even know it's missing. But it takes a lot of work.
Paul wrote to the Colossians: "Fathers, do not provoke or irritate or fret your children - do not be hard on them or harass them; lest they become discouraged andsullen and morose and feel inferior and frustrated; do no break their spirit" (Colossians 3:21AMP). Can I add something to Paul's exhortation? Mothers, don't you do it either.
It is a terrible thing to be a part of a family when the only things that are noticed are mistakes. The pain from constant criticism and correction can become a chronic source of insecurity long after the child has become an adult. It is our job, our "homework," to instruct our children, but when we are continually pointing out their faults and failures, they tend to simply stop trying.
We must always remember that children are children and they will act like children. Children are not miniature adults. I remember when my husband was in dental school at the ripe old age of twenty-three. It was his first time treating a four-year-old little girl, and was unprepared for the crocodile tears that escaped her eyes.
"You'll be fine," he assured her. "You be a big girl now."Then she looked up at him with big blue eyes that melted his heart. "But I'm not a big girl," she said. "I'm just a little girl."
That's what we must always remember. No matter how frustrated or angry we become...kids are kids and they will act like kids.
As you go through your day, look for the chance to catch your children doing something right, and shower them with praise. And if you don't have children or if your children have already left the nest, try catching a friend, your husband, or a co-worker in the act of doing something praise-worthy and shower them with praise!
Dear Heavenly Father,Thank You for children. I pray that I will use my words to encourage a child today - whether it is my child or someone else's child. Most of all, thank You for encouraging me, Your child, by the many ways You show me You love me each day. In Jesus' Name,Amen.
Here's a partial list of some words kids long to hear Take a look at the list and speak at least three of these affirmations to a child today!
· Great job!· I'm glad you're my son/daughter.· I love spending time with you.· I'll never forget the day you were born. You were such an incredible gift from God...and you still are.· I like you!· I love the way you fixed your hair!· That shirt looks great on you!· You played that song beautifully!· You are a great friend!· You'll make a wonderful wife/husband some day!· Thanks for cleaning your room. You did a great job.
Have some more cheers? How about sharing them.We can all remember someone who encouraged us as a child. Wouldn't it be wonderful to be remembered as an encourager?
Become your child's chief cheerleader!