Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29
Now a teenager, my son is following his job description to a “T.” He pushes the boundaries, and pushes, until he breaks me. Between that, my raised expectations now that he’s older, and hormones (his and mine), I seem to be yelling at him a whole lot more than ever before. There are days when the tension in my house is pretty thick.
Unknowingly, he gave me a knife to cut it with the other day.
We were talking about a friend of his from school. He said his friend truly believes his parents hate him. I could have cried for this boy.
I then asked him if he felt that way about my husband and me. He responded, “No. I know you love me. But sometimes I feel like you’re out to get me.” Stunned, I had to take a moment to stifle the need to defend myself. This conversation wasn’t about me; it was about him. So I asked him to explain.
He went on to say that he feels like we pick at him, constantly. I took a minute to absorb that to see if it were true. I had to admit to him that he was right, but he wasn’t telling the whole story.
Now that I’m giving him more independence, he’s faltering more. Consequently, I have to correct him more. I definitely see how he feels picked at.
But what he failed to mention is I also compliment him on all the things he does right. I went on to remind him of the couple of compliments I had given him just that day. His response was, “Oh yeah. I forgot about those.”
Why is it we all dwell on the negative comments more than the compliments? Sadly enough, we do. I need to find a way to offset that.
I can’t control my son’s thought process or his emotions. But I can control what I say. I’ve already established that my love is unconditional. I think he knows that and truly believes it.
Now the message I need to convey is that I believe he’s a good person, no matter what. There is a difference. The first provides a foundation full of trust. The second provides inspiration to overcome bad choices and try harder the next time.
So the new lifeline I’ll be tossing him when he’s floating around in his sea of mistakes is: “I really do think you’re amazing, no matter what.” They’ll be the final words I say to him when an issue has been resolved and we’re having our apology hug. My hope is that because they’ll be the last words I say, they’ll echo the loudest in his mind, and in his heart.
Questions for Reflection:
* Am I having to constantly reprimand one of my kids lately?
* Is there a phrase I can say to him/her to offset the reprimand?