Do Your Words Build Up Your Child? Or Tear Him Down?

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via: Becky Harling Ministries

Several weeks ago, I was traveling through an airport and over heard harsh words being screamed at a small child. Stressed out parents, frustrated with poor behavior, were yelling at and calling their child names. My heart went out to the small child, maybe 3 or 4 years old. When I looked in her eyes I saw, hurt, fear and anger. My immediate thought was, “This child won’t want a relationship with you in a few years.”

I understand frustration in parenthood. Trust me. Raising four kids, I had my fair share of frustrating moments. There were many times when I had to apologize for speaking too harshly, or for losing my cool. The words of Proverbs 14:1 brought a lot of conviction to my parenting journey. Even now, that my children are adults, I return to these words often, “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” Wowza! Talk about conviction!

Every day, especially as parents, we speak thousands of words. Do your words build up your child, or tear him down? When he hears you talking about him, does he hear positivity or negativity? Does she receive messages that tell her she will be someone great in God’s kingdom or does she hear words that predict she will be a loser? Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying don’t discipline your child – Please, do discipline. But discipline with the goal of seeing Christ formed in your child. Use fewer words and make sure your words are nice. A good question to ask yourself is, “Would I feel embarrassed if someone over heard my words?” If you blow it – and you will at times – apologize and ask forgiveness! Keep the end goal in mind: an adult who has a relationship with God and you. An adult who is responsible, productive, and caring.

I want my words to speak life! I want to be known as an encourager not a criticizer. I want to take every opportunity I can to speak encouragement into the lives of my children, their spouses and my grandkids. I want them to know that I am cheering for them. I believe in them. I love them. And, that God is on their side. Today is a new day – it can be filled with encouraging words for those I love!

Hey, parents, I’d love to hear from you! Did you know that The 30 Day Praise Challenge for Parents is scheduled to release in September. As I prepare for that release, I’ love for you to be praying with me that God would use The 30 Day Praise Challenge For Parents to bring revival and encouragement to the hearts of millions of parents. If you are willing to join me by praying that God will use that book in the lives of many parents – would you email me at ?

I’d also love to know, looking back on your childhood, what words stand out most in your memory? They can be the words of a parent, friend, teacher or grandparent? And hey, remember if you’ve blown it recently with your words, it’s never too late to apologize and ask forgiveness. God is always gracious and hopefully your kids will be too!~


With these Morning Messages, I take you on guided tours to, as Bunyan described, the Celestial City. At times we linger at corners familiar and unseen. And explore the depths of our faith along the way.

The trail is long, but there’s no hurry. Though we do need to stock up on supplies for the way, and that’s where I need your help. If you enjoy these messages, please consider becoming a contributing member of this tour group. It will be very much appreciated.


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