Parents, it is Important to Keep your Word when you Speak to your Child



Distraction Stops us from Keeping our Word

Years ago when I was revisiting this idea I discussed keeping our word with our kids.  I asked them what is it that stops them from doing what they said they would do. Their answer was very clear – distractions. Their heart responses to life aren’t really any different from ours as parents – we are all people, learning to do the right thing at the right time.  So I think they were right, I really do believe it is distractions that stop us from keeping our word too.

For parents this means:

  • We have too much going on at any one time so we are distracted
  • (and/or) Our priorities get out of whack and we focus on the wrong thing at the wrong time, making us distracted.


If you struggle with this here are 3 things to think about:

-1- Look at your training goals for your children – are they specific? Remember you can’t train everything today! You can’t deal with all the things in one day. Choose one major issue for each of your children, and if that is too many to deal with choose one issue at a time.  

If you try and work on all the issues you will be distracted, you will say things and not follow through, you will make empty threats and not keep your word so look at the immediate training goals you have for your children.

-2- Look at your days – do you actually have time to train your children? Do you have time to get alongside of them and show them how to live, do you have time to be there to correct and guide their choices? 

If your days are too busy I encourage you to learn to say “no” so you can focus on your priorities – which is the heart of your children. 

One way to look at our days is to keep a time log where every hour you check in with yourself and you write a list of what you have dealt with in the last hour.  Doesn’t have to be down to the last dot – just generally, what comes to mind, what have you dealt with in the last hour.  Do that for a week or two then you can look over your notes and see where the distractions are coming from and where you are focusing on things that aren’t your priorities.

-3- Teach yourself not to say anything to your children unless you are standing still and looking them in their eyes. If you have a bad case of “not keeping your word” then I also suggest you hold their hands or have some physical contact before you speak. Doing these things will slow you down, and make you aware of what you are saying to your children – be it an instruction, a correction, or just a conversation. When you are more aware of your words you are more likely to keep them!


Our Words Have Consequences

“A man is only as good as his word” may be an old-fashioned statement that we don’t hear anymore – but that is a shame.  When our word can be trusted we build respect which builds relationship which will lead to influence. If we want to influence our children’s lives, we need to have relationship with them.  Our relationship will only be built on respect and trust. So it is important to keep our word – no matter how little or seemingly insignificant the situations we are in might seem – our words matter.

We all know what it is like for a friend or even our spouse – to say something to us, and not follow through and do what they said they would.  We know the heart-hurt that happens when a friend says something when they are distracted and you know they are not really with you even though they say the right words.  Our kids feel that too.  

He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.
Prov 13:3

This verse speaks directly to the parent who is distracted and does not keep their word.  Their relationship with their child will come undone.

A child will quickly feel like you don’t have time for them, like they are not important, like you don’t really care, like they are an inconvenience, that you are not on their side, that you are not listening and you don’t know who they are.  Just going through that list you can feel the heartache in a child whose parent doesn’t keep their word.  So let our yes be yes, and our no be no.




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