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February 17, 2016

Hard Truths, Soft Tones

“A torn jacket is soon mended; but hard words bruise the heart of a child.”
— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

It doesn’t take hard words to teach our children right from wrong. Unfortunately, however, we sometimes equate being firm with our kids’ consequences with being harsh on them personally.

The next time you have an interaction with your child, pay attention to how you sound. How do you imagine your she hears you? If you can press pause before you talk to her in the heat of the moment, you can ask yourself a few vitally important questions:

-How do I like to be talked to?
-Does it inspire me when people berate or belittle me?
-Would I want to follow someone who barks at me, or someone who clearly wants the best for me?

The most influential people in the world are able to say hard truths in a soft way. Soft, but clear. Like this: “Hannah, I love you, and that’s why I need to tell you that you’ve lost screentime for the next 24 hours. You know not to bring the iPad into your room with the door closed, but you chose to do it anyway. I am not upset that you made that choice—it was yours to make. Ultimately, how you behave is up to you. But how I respond is up to me. So, tomorrow after school you can get access to screens again, if you choose, but not until then.”

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