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Words Matter

Words matter. It’s an ongoing topic that my husband and I apply to many areas of life. Recently I’ve been thinking about how it applies so strongly to how I speak in front of my daughter, especially the older she gets.

In babyhood, I began to discuss all aspects of the new reality--keeping alive the small being that often accompanied me everywhere--with almost anyone who would listen. It became commonplace to vent to other parents about the lack of sleep, the terrors of teething, and other trials. As my child grew, I became aware of her understanding my language and how her little ears were always listening (unless I was calling her to leave the park). So I tried to choose only words that I wanted her to believe about herself. I knew she would digest and believe what she heard me saying. We are creating our children’s self-view point.

Now my daughter is seven-years-old and as the parent who is home with her, we are often together. I am becoming aware of a different angle of this issue. When I share the unguarded remark about a bedtime battle or quip about how hard it was to get out the door that morning (which is never my fault, of course), it’s meant to gain camaraderie and commiseration from other parents, but what does she feel? Does she overhear me brag about her as often as I complain? How will this affect our relationship? As I followed this new line of thinking I realized I often disclose her private flaws to our close group of friends in a way I would never lay bare my spouse. When she has revealed things about me in a similar way I’ve not always felt comfortable, even with our friends we’ve known for years. I am used to choosing how I reveal myself to others, how I present my flaws and my strengths. I want to give her that choice as much as I can. She is not a babe-in-arms anymore and this is her community as well. Her privacy will become more important as she gets older and I want to prove myself trustworthy with it. Guess I’ll just have to save all that venting for my spouse!

-Grace Haiman

Grace is a homeschooling mom who's philosophy is based on sharing genuine interests and passions and allowing each family member to pursue self-directed education. Grace and her husband, Aaron, both love to share their experiences, thoughts, and ideas about homeschooling with their friends, family, homeschool community, and the rest of the world.

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