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Girl with finger over mouth - stop talking

Sometimes people forget to think before they speak. I have done it and I am sure you’ve done it too. We’ve all said something that hurt another person even if was not intentional but the words slipped out.  Children are no different.

Sometimes they say the wrong thing because they are not thinking about what they are saying or they may not even understand what they’re saying. They may have overheard a word or phrase before and so just repeat it. There is nothing parents can do about what our children say to friends at school when we’re not there. So, how can parents help children to learn to think before speaking?

Tips to Encouage Thinking Before Speaking

  • Explain phrases that we hear our children use at home and they clearly don’t understand.  Explain exactly what it means and why they shouldn’t use that phrase again.
  •  Does your child understand what they are saying? If they do, get them to think about how they would feel if somebody said the same to them?
  • Encourage tact – be sensitive to others problems and don’t talk about issues that might upset them. Help them understand how to be tactful and why it’s important.

If your child is on the receiving end of one of these ‘throw away’ comments or something is said carelessly to them, teach them to try not to get upset, especially if it is out of character for that person. Maybe they were joking but missed the mark or just not thinking before speaking!  However if the other child is constantly insulting your child then maybe they are not the friend for them.

We have no control over what others say to us. But we have plenty of control over what we say to them and how we react to what others say to us. Help your children to choose their words carefully and not repeat things they don’t like or understand themselves.

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