I recently had an AHA moment about keeping my word with my child that made me realize I had some work to do! I needed to figure out how to do what I say I’m going to do with my children.
I’ve always taken pride in the fact that I keep my word. If I don’t, it’s a total accident or Brain Fog moment because come H or high water I will do what I say I’m going to do. Don’t I?
Not too long ago, I realized that when my kids ask me to do something and I say I’m going to do it, it’s taking a while before I get to it.
There’s an inferred, “Now. She’s going to do it now!” And I’m not holding to it.
Here’s what I know from working with kids. If we want to impact our children and be a model for them, we must realize that the impact relates to the influence, and our kids base how much they allow themselves to be influenced on trust, and they directly relate all of it to our actions and sometimes what comes out of our mouths.
It is said that our word is our most valuable possession. This raises my sense of urgency for doing what I say. For sticking to my word. I will not stop saying I will do things. I just need to be more intentional about what I say I will do.
Examples of How Parents Don’t Keep Their Word
So here’s how it plays out at our house.
- Mom, will you get me some milk? Yes. Mom, will you get me some milk? Yes. Mom, you said you would get me some milk.
- I tell the kids, “Ya’ll have 5 more minutes to watch and then we’re going to play.” Alexa, set the timer for 5 minutes. The 5-minute timer goes off. Alexa, OFF! I keep blogging. They keep watching. 10 minutes later, me, “OK the timer went off. Let’s go play.” I’m met with total resistance.
- We’re upstairs playing. Are ya’ll hungry? I’ll go make lunch. I go downstairs. I check my phone. Then, I use the restroom. Next, I switch the clothes from washer to dryer (I have to fold those first.) 30 minutes later I start on lunch. Mom, I’m hungry! starts from upstairs.
- Just let me finish this last thing and I’ll be there. 3 things later. MooooM, I’m waiting….
- Or how about when I say there’s going to be a consequence for a certain behavior, but don’t carry through.
And scenarios like this play out daily over here. I am inadvertently teaching my boys that I am not a woman of my word.
What Message Does This Send Your Child?
Sadly, I send my kids a message that:
- They’re not a priority.
- I am not a woman of integrity.
- My word can’t always be trusted.
- I care more about my To-Do list than them.
- I am a self-centered mom.
This hit me like a ton of bricks because I put a lot of effort into making sure I do what I say I’m going to do. So, I thought I did. Turns out! I need to put more effort into keeping my word. And possibly get tested for ADD. Is it just me?
How To Do What I Say I’m Going To Do With My Child
Here’s how I’ve worked to change this behavior:
- I made a promise to myself that when I say I will do something, I do it right then.
- If I think to set the timer for 5 minutes, I set it for 10 or 15, and when it goes off, that’s it.
- I make lunch first. Then, I do the other stuff.
- I’m trying to be more specific in my responses. I will get you some milk when I finish unloading the dishwasher.
- I PRAY for myself!
You get the picture. You just have to make a plan for how you will do better and do your darndest to stick to the plan. The other thing is, Forgive yourself. Do better next time. Guilt doesn’t serve you or your family. When we know better, we do better.
Long story short, figure out when and why you’re not keeping your word, make a plan to combat the habit, put the plan into action. Even when you mess up, stick to the plan.
21 Days to become a habit. 90 days to become a lifestyle. You Got This!!
Related Article: Children Will Never Forget How You Make Them Feel
Motivation: Giving and doing less for your child is far better than making unfulfilled promises.
Why It’s Important To Do What I Say I’m Going To Do With Your Child
- Build trust
- When you really need your children to take you seriously, they won’t.
- Our children do what we do.
- Our word is a part of our integrity.
- When you don’t keep your word, you erode your credibility.
Call to Action
In What Is Your Word Worth? Charles Wesley Naylor says, “Too many times parents make promises they do not expect ever to fulfill, just to be rid of the children’s asking. Children soon learn the value of such promises, and they learn the value of your character. Do not lie to your children; do not make promises to them unless you mean them. If you make promises to your child and you are not able to keep them, value your word enough and their respect enough to explain to them the reason.”
Ecclesiastes 5:5 “It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it (NIV).”
Proverbs 25:14 “A person who promises a gift but doesn’t give it is like clouds and wind that bring no rain (NIV).”
Whether big or small to us, our word is the world in our children’s ears! Please join me in being intentional in keeping your word.
We’re all human. We get sidetracked. Being intentional helps us be a little better each day. The good news. Over time, a bunch of a little better each day will equal a lot better.
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Make it a great day or not, the choice is yours! Remember to have fun, laugh and give God the glory! I love you! SS