“A torn jacket is soon mended; but hard words bruise the heart of a child.” (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)
Sadly, parents often equate being firm with our kids with being harsh. But harsh words are never required to teach someone right from wrong.
The next time a “teachable moment” arises, pay attention to how you sound from your child’s perspective. Do you like the way your kid hears you? Would you respond well to your tone?
If you can summon the strength and courage in the heat of the moment to create a pause before you speak, you can ask yourself some vitally important questions. How would you like to be spoken to? Does it encourage or inspire you when people berate or belittle you? Do you want to follow someone who barks at you and seems annoyed with your very presence?
The most influential people in the world are able to say hard things in a soft way. Harsh words may help you control your children (for a little while), but control isn’t really what you want most. The best path to what you want most is to learn how to influence (softly).