Before I start this, I want to say with 100% truth that THIS is NOT an area that I excel in. The first bible verse I ever memorized (when I came to Christ as an adult of 24), was Ephesians 4:29. I can be sarcastic and quick tongued. Those aren’t good things. So, please, don’t think that I am sharing from an ivory tower. I’m not. I’d say more from a low position of trench warfare…
With all that said, I feel like I have to share a technique that has made a HUGE (gigantic, tremendous, monumental) difference in how I communicate with my kids.
I use terms of endearment.
“Sweetheart”, “Superkid”, “Buddy”, “Wonderkid”, etc…
Why does it matter?
Because I cannot yell or be short tongued with someone I just called “Sweetheart”. I can’t. I doubt anyone could. Using a name – there is still room for snark.
“Nancy, get back in here and finish up your chores.” Tone. Snark. Irritation. Short-ness.
But, “Hey, Superkid, please come back and finish up with your chores.” has a totally different tone. It’s more cheerful. It’s softer.
I grew up in Boston (you know, the Fried Clams part of the title), and I dont’ ever remember my mom calling me anything other than my name. No pet names. No softness. No sweetness. She was, and is, a Yankee through and through. So maybe it’s the South that has worn off on me. Maybe it’s the Lord answering countless prayers over my language and tone and ability to communicate love to the people around me. Maybe in His infinite wisdom He used both.
Either way, I am very grateful. The tone is normally nice around here.
So please, if you struggle with frustration, or anger, or sharp words – try using terms of endearment. It’s a lesson that God has taught me that’s been a huge blessing to me and my family.