I wish I hadn’t said it. I don’t think I really meant to. It just kind of slipped out in a moment of intense frustration.
I had vowed to my husband that I wouldn’t be “one of those moms” who calls their kids terrible names or negatively labels them.
Especially the word brat. Who would say that kind of thing about their own child they gave life to?
That was before I had the blessing of a three and one year old (and a baby, but honestly, he’s the easy one right now.)
Well last week my kids were having a full-out brawl like has been our norm lately, and I hear my son start screaming at his sister:
“Get away from me brat! You’re just a brat child!”
Amayah’s eyes were big and wet, her heart was broken.
I felt sick. This was a mirror for me. Although I hadn’t said it quite like this, he knew this was the most deeply cutting thing he could say to her.
No one else in this house had ever said that word before except me.
And now it was spewing angrily from his mouth toward his sister.
If there is one thing I try to consistently practice in the failures of my parenting, it is to always apologize to my kids when I’m wrong.
I don’t want them to ever think that I believe I’m always right and I never make mistakes.
Crying, I held him while he was cooling down, and I said I am so sorry mommy said the word brat toward you guys. It’s a yucky word isn’t it? Did that make you feel sad? Well it’s making your sister sad too. Let’s both say that we won’t use that word that makes us feel sad and yucky.
He melted into me and said he wouldn’t say it again, and I felt a little better.
It’s always a reality check when you hear something come from a kid’s mouth. It sort of stops you in your tracks and makes you ask “where’d they get that from?”.
If it’s a sweet, cute or positive thing, I know I want to chalk it up to my great parenting skills.
And if it’s sad, hurtful, or degrading…well they probably got it from dad!
The power of our words is a lesson I will keep on learning until I die. The voice inside me keeps saying “speak life, speak life, speak life.”
“Brat” has now become one of those reminder words that my kids spirits are so sensitive to what I speak over them.
I want my voice to be the loudest encourager they hear.
Gentle words are a tree of life;
a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.