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Being careful with our words

September 26, 2014

Here’s a life changing idea…

In his book, Between Parent and Child, Dr. Haim Ginott says,
Parents need a special way of relating and talking with their children. How would any of us feel if a surgeon came into the operating room and before the anesthesiologist put us under, said,” I really don’t have much training in surgery but I love my patients and use common sense”? We would probably panic and run for our lives.”

In other words…

As parents we often think that because we love our children and have common sense that will be enough. But in reality just like surgeons and other professionals, parents desperately need to learn those special skills to ensure their child’s mental, physical and emotional development. They need these skills to be able to cope with the daily demands of parenting and child rearing.

As a surgeon is very careful with his incisions and how deep he cuts, parents need to be made aware of the importance of their words and how deeply they can affect a growing child. “Because words are like knives. They can inflict, if not physical, many painful emotional wounds.”

Here’s how you can use this idea to have a better life…

A useful way to start improving communication with children is to watch how you respond. Take a moment before automatically blurting out some form of ridicule; consciously think “What is my child really trying to say? Are my words going to be helpful or harmful?, Maybe they do not know better at this stage in their life, Have I explained this to my child?” All of these questions help parents to evaluate and use their words as guidance, not knives. Try responding to your child as a guest using words that are “protective of feelings, not critical of behavior.”

To find out more…

about parenting, check out The Parenting Journey or See the World Through My Eyes programs at, follow us at or contact your local county Extension agent. You may also enjoy reading Between parent and Child.

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