Who Your Words Are Actually Hurting

One of my biggest fears is that I will fail as a parent — that I will lose my children, not to death, but to bad friends, drugs, drinking, some unknown evil that could come between us. Because of this fear I read a lot of books about family, parenting, relationships,etc.

I recently picked up The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families by Stephen R. Covey from the library. Last night before going to bed I read a great piece of advice that I keep thinking about:

“Always talk about others as if they were present”

My mind flashed to a co-worker I once had who might be described as “two-faced”. He would say nice things to whomever he was talking to, but as soon as they left the room he would begin criticizing them. I admit I began to wonder what he said about me when I left the room.

I had heard this idea about not talking bad about others behind their backs plenty of times, and had never given it much thought since I don’t naturally talk poorly about people—but this time it hit me hard. The book applies this lesson to families and lately I have expressed some things in front of my kids that they probably shouldn’t have heard.

I have had some trouble recently with a difficult individual, and since reading this I keep thinking about a few things I’ve said that I would of hated for this person to overhear. I may not agree with this person, but I definitely would never want to hurt them. I had also not considered how speaking negatively about another individual could affect my relationship with my children. My children observe and remember so much about what I say and do. I would feel horrible if they felt like they couldn’t trust me because when they weren’t in the room I may say negative or hurtful things about them as well.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families
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I’m going to work on “being loyal to those not present” at all times. I believe this will bring more peace to my relationships, to my home, and to my self.

One other little side note—
I don’t think it is all the tricks or techniques they teach in parenting books that make you a better parent, but the things you learn about yourself—the things you internalize—changing who you are on the inside, that make you a better parent and person.

And now my question for you:
How do you keep from saying bad things about people behind their back? Please share in the comments section below.

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