Do you experience your child asking you to do something a million times, and you have said, “YES,” every time? I recently had an AHA moment about keeping my word with my child that made me realize I had some work to do! Now, I’m going to show you the habits I implemented so you too can keep your word with your child.
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.
But wait. Do 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.
When they ask for something and I say I’ll do 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 You Don’t Keep Your Word With Your Child
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, kids get a message that:
- They’re not a priority.
- You are not a woman of integrity.
- Your word can’t always be trusted.
- You care more about your To-Do list than them.
- You are 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?
Why It’s Important To Keep Your Word 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.
Related Article: 4 Simple But Effective Ways for Connecting With Your Child
Habit 1: Promise yourself that when you say you’re going to do something, you do it right then.
Habit 2: If you think you need 5 minutes, set the timer for 10 or 15. When the timer goes off, that’s it. Stick to your word.
Habit 3: Make sure the kids are fed and watered. Then do the other stuff.
Habit 4: Be specific in your responses. I will get you some milk when I finish unloading the dishwasher.
Habit 5: Pray for yourself and these habits. Use mantras: I stick to my word. I do what I say I’m going to do.
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 you know better, you do better. You keep your word with your child.
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.
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.
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 you, your word is the world in your child’s ears! Please join me in being intentional to keep your word with your child.
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.
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