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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Peer Pressure (07/05/04)

TITLE: Children are flowers and the World is Full of Weeds


“Hey you rotten @#@$#$&*, give that back.”

I heard these ugly words fly out of my beautiful nine year old daughter’s mouth as she yelled at her brother.

“Mom, did you hear what she called me,” he asked with raised eyebrows as he waited for my reaction.

“Come here,” I said in an angry, but calm voice.

Her hands immediately flung behind her backside to protect the padded area from the expected sting she believed would be coming any moment.

“Sit down,” I said as I tried to think before I acted.

She let her hands drop to her side and looked up at me in shock.

“You’re not going to spank me,” she asked confused.

“Why, do you think I should spank you?” I asked, curious to hear her response.

“Well, you usually spank me when I do something bad,” she responded.

She was right, but I had decided that she had become too old to spank and I needed to find another way of disciplining her.

“Did I hear you say that you did something bad? What was that something?”

She started tapping her feet on the floor alternating right to left and looking everywhere but at me.

“I said a bad word.”

“You said a bad word, that’s right. Why did you say a bad word? “I asked her.

“Because I was mad,” she said as she became more relaxed and stopped tapping her feet.

“If I were mad at you and called you a bad word would you think it was right?” I asked, totally winging it as I went along.

“No, that wouldn’t be nice,” she said.

“Where did you learn that bad word anyway?” I asked very interested to find the source and get rid of it.

“I heard Melissa say it to her sister. I heard Tara say it too and I heard it on the bus lots of times.”

“Do you like the way it sounds,” I asked her.

“Well, I don’t know,” she said. “It was the first thing that popped into my head.”

I stopped for a moment and closed my eyes and prayed.

God, please help me here. I’m not good at this, but I know I have to get a hold of these nasty weeds and pull them out before they destroy my beautiful flower. Every day I see more and more popping up. I know that the longer I let them sit, the deeper their roots will become. Please give me the right words to say to get rid of this one today.

I looked up and she was staring at me looking confused.

“What are you doing,” Mommy she asked.

“I’m praying.”

“What are you praying about?” she asked curiously.

“I am praying that God will help me to help you understand that it is wrong to say hurtful things and nasty words. Even though you may hear these words from others, you have to remember that it still isn’t right. When people say bad words it’s because they haven’t stopped to think of something else to say to better express themselves. I know you are a very smart girl and if you took a moment to think about what to say before you say it, you would think of something much better to say than a nasty old word that makes you look stupid and makes God unhappy.

She looked up at, stood up from her seat and walked over and hugged me.

“Thank you for not spanking me. I’m sorry, I will try to think next time and pray like you did.

I don’t know how much what I said sunk into her, but I believe that praying in front of her before I said what I did had more of an effect than anything!

Member Comments
Member Date
L.M. Lee07/09/04
great parenting moment...need to submit this to parenting magazines.

I think too often parents think they have to be perfect instead of real. Kids respect real.
Melanie Kerr 07/14/04
The "angry but calm" bit makes the difference. It is when we are not calm that we say the wrong things, or use physical force to get our way.
Lynne Gaunt07/14/04
I loked this, Wendy. I think I face that situation where I'm in over my head all the time. You're absolutely right that the message has more impact when our kids can see it at work in us. Good!
Dave Wagner07/14/04
This is a terrific submission. Being the father of a pair of girls, I wish I could say I always handle things like you did. Well done, thanks for posting this.
Joanne Malley07/15/04
Wendy -

Good story and great advice. Your article has set a wonderful example for parents to follow!
Gary Sims07/15/04
Wendy - great job...just think how few times we would end up handling a situation wrong or saying the wrong thing if we always stopped in the midst of what we were doing and prayed about it. I wish I had known about this aspect in my relationship with God earlier in my life...maybe then I would have fewer regrets for all those ill-conceived comments and times I lost of temper with my own children. Great article.
Marcell Billinghurst07/17/04
I enjoyed reading your story and testimony of how God led you in this situation. A very good example for all parents to follow in the way we deal with our children.
Well done. God bless you in your writing.