If your child answers you with respect and kind words with each response, then this post is not for you.
But I am sure many of us are still reading because prudent speech is something that all children–and adults–have to learn and remind themselves daily of its importance.
Maybe you can relate to this scenario:
You ask your child to _______. What you would like from your child is a response that is respectful and joyfully obedient. After all, you work hard to provide for, love, and help your child.
But instead your child moves into whiny mode, an all-out tantrum, or, for the less dramatic child, maybe an eye roll or sigh.
These responses are all signs of disrespect to you, the person in authority over them. They are not the respectful, joyful behaviors you were hoping for, and you are left wondering how you can teach your child to move away from eye-rolling whines and into mannerly obedience.
I believe every parent, teacher, or childcare worker would say teaching respect for authority is something that needs to happen in the home.
Personally, I parent better when I have a plan in place ahead of time of how I am going to handle a behavior, especially when it comes to teaching prudent speech. Otherwise, I find myself responding to their disrespect with poor speech on my part, and it’s my job to set an example to them in speech that honors God!
To help you help yourself and your child, I am sharing with you the plan that I use in my home. The graphic below shows you Scriptures that talk about the importance of respectful speech:
Feel free to print and share!
Here’s the link to print: Respectful responses
Here’s how to use the chart:
You will need a clothespin for each child. If you have more than one child, you can assign colors or simply write the child’s name on a wooden clothespin. You may want a clothespin for yourself too–families are good for holding each other accountable.
Start by placing your child’s clothespin on green each morning. Even if the day before was filled with horrible responses, ALWAYS start on green because, like the verse on green says, the Lord’s mercies are new every morning. It feels good to have a fresh start and begin the morning on a positive note.
When you hear your children answer or respond with respect, tell them to move their clothespins up (the clothespins will move up or down on the side of the chart). You can read the verse with them and explain its meaning to them; this step is especially important when you begin using the chart so that you can make sure your child understands the Scripture.
When your children respond negatively or with a disrespectful attitude, have them move the clip down. Explain this Scripture as well. You may also want to have them copy one of the Scriptures to help them learn the verse.
The goal of the exercise is to end each day with a clothespin clipped above the green verse, but the greater goal is to disciple and teach your children what the Bible says with regard to their speech and responses.