Parents cringe when they hear this type of speech out of the mouths of children. The tongue is one of the most powerful parts of the body (James 3) and the Bible provides guidelines for our speech. So the importance of bridling our tongues and making our speech acceptable to God is very important for children to learn early in life.
Here are 5 points to discuss with your children about using hurtful words:
1) Words hurt (Proverbs 18:8) and influence the way we feel about ourselves. Discuss the impact of hurtful words on others.
2) Ask what it feels like to be on the receiving end of such insults. This is how you help a child develop empathy.
3) Treat others as you would want to be treated yourself. Ask, would you like to hear those words said to you?
4) Even though others hurt with words, we, as Christians, are not to retaliate (Proverbs 15:1; 1 Peter 3:9-10). God’s way is not to hurt others back. It’s tempting and easy, but we want to be obedient to God’s Word.
5) Think before you speak (Proverbs 29:10). Words spoken in haste can’t be taken back and can damage relationships. If you do speak an unkind word, be the first to apologize and ask for forgiveness.
Finally, discuss the words of Ephesians 4:29, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the heavens.” Explain what this means and how we apply these words when we are upset or angry.