When my husband and I were in pre-marital counselling, there were a few words we were advised to avoid. Now as a parent, I have not only found myself trying to follow those words of advice, but adding a few of my own to the list. Not words that are wrong in and of themselves, but words that can harm our relationships; “bad words”.
When we get into arguments, we tend to react emotionally. If we set up parameters of what is acceptable to say and what isn’t, we can reduce the amount of damage done. Here are some of the words our family tries to avoid:
- Never– Using this word will make the other person defensive. Odd are, it’s not even a true statement. Try using words like “hardly” or “often”.
- Always-Same principle, no one always does anything.
- That Makes No Sense-A better choice of words would be, “I don’t understand” or “this does not make sense to me.”
- I Told You So- It would be best to remain quite when being right. The other person knows they were wrong, there is no need to throw it in their face.
- It Doesn’t Matter- It may not matter to you, but it matters to them. Trying to see things from their perspective doesn’t mean you agree, but that you are trying to understand.
- You’re Not Listening– This can come across as casting blame on the other person, which can lead to further arguments. Instead try saying, “Let me try this another way” or “Let me make sure you are understanding”.
- Whatever– This may come across as not caring about the other person. This is another one that should be avoided when having an important discussion.
- It’s Your Fault- Blame is a horrible way to keep the lines of communication open. Instead, focus on how the problem can be resolved.
- Everybody Else– It doesn’t matter what everybody else says or does. All your decisions should be made based on Biblical principles and with the other person in mind.
- Yeah, right- This little sarcastic comment can end an open discussion immediately. Sarcasm, period, is a bad idea when trying to resolve issues. It only makes the other person defensive and closed off. Sarcasm should be avoided at all costs when trying to work through difficulties.
- I Hate You– This is a huge one for us. If any of our children use this in an argument with their siblings, correction immediately takes place.
- You’re Mean- As this is an emotional statement, meant to hurt someone, and not an objective observation, this one also gets vetoed. Instead, we try to have our children pinpoint the specific action that was disliked and make sure that it isn’t repeated.
- Name Calling- The list is endless so I won’t go into all of them, but words like stupid, dumb, and the like are not allowed in our home. Instead, they are encouraged to focus on the action done and how to address it, not on putting the other person down.
- Shut-Up- This is another one we avoid at all costs; it is rude and unnecessary. Simply asking someone to please stop is enough. If they don’t listen, then consequences are set in place.
I am sure the list could go on and on, but these are the main areas that we try to avoid. Through choosing our words wisely and trying to put the other person first, we will build our relationships and unify our family.
In Ecclesiastes 5:2 we read, “Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought… therefore let your words be few.”
What are some “bad words” that your family tries to avoid?