There’s a verse in the Bible that states, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”
This proverb encapsulates what we already know to be true: words hold a lot of weight. What we say—and how we say it—can have an enormous effect on those around us.
At the Conscious Parenting Revolution, one of our core teachings is effective and compassionate communication. We repair family relationships by teaching parents and children methods and tools for listening with love and speaking from the heart.
Our conscious parenting vocabulary revolves around supportive communication. The goal of this approach is to build others up and never tear them down no matter what situation you find yourself in—calm or stressful, charged or joyful.
If you often find yourself at a loss for words when communicating with your children, here is some basic conscious parenting language to use for effective, life-giving communication.
Compassionate Communication: A Primer on Conscious Parenting Language
Situation: You’re caught in an argument or a tense circumstance
CPR Language: Instead of “You always” or “You never,” say “It seems/feels.”
When you find yourself at what could be the start of a heated argument with your child, take a moment to step back and reframe what you’re about to say.
Instead of the usual accusatory, “You never clean your room,” try something less aggressive like, “It seems that you’re having a hard time keeping your room tidy.”
Words like “never” and “always” put your child in defensive mode, which could result in them shutting you out. Rephrase your words so your kid feels encouraged to open up and tell you the true root of the problem.
Situation: A celebratory occasion, such as your child receiving high grades at school
CPR Language: Instead of, “You’re so smart,” say, “Congratulations! I admire how hard you worked on that!”
One of the communication methods we teach is using acknowledgement instead of praise.
Praising a child for their intelligence or outward appearance teaches them to measure their self-worth based on superficial traits and external factors.
Acknowledgement, on the other hand, allows a child to connect to their own sense of accomplishment. It helps them become self-aware of their competencies and tap into how they feel about themselves.
Situation: Your child exhibited bad behavior
CPR Language: Instead of, “As punishment you’ll…,” say, “Can you tell me what made you act/react in this way?”
Simply punishing bad behavior never addresses the root of the problem. Rather than resorting to punishment, ask your child why they acted a certain way.
Was there a misunderstanding? Did they feel unheard, unseen, hungry, sad, or some other negative emotion? Once your child explains what caused their behavior, work on finding a solution together.
Situation: Describing your kid’s behavior
CPR Language: Instead of, “You’re a mess,” say, “You made a mess.”
There’s a big difference between telling your child their behavior was irresponsible and making them feel like they are irresponsible.
Your words have a major impact on your children! So use non-blameful descriptions of their behavior and avoid labeling them in a negative way that can undermine their self-confidence or self-love.
Situation: You lost your temper/lashed out/made a mistake
CPR Language: “I’m sorry.”
Traditional parenting says that parents should never apologize to their children. But our kids are human, too, and they deserve an apology when we’re in the wrong.
Saying the words, “I’m sorry,” lets your kid know that their parent is, in fact, human. It also sets you both on a path of mending and healing.
Words have the power to bring comfort and devastation, joy and pain. Let’s do our best to communicate with our children with the love and compassion they deserve.
Love and Blessings,
P.S. Want a chance to practice your new Conscious Parenting vocabulary? Join our private Facebook group to connect with like-minded parents around the world. Every Tuesday at noon pacific time we have Tuesday Tips for parents run live in that Facebook group and you can ask your individual questions.