2 Words To Avoid With Your Kids (And Co-Workers)

Let’s start with a couple of questions below as we explore an idea about how we think and how we perceive ourselves as parents and leaders.

Which statement would you say is most true?

1. My kids never listen to me.
2. My kids always argue with me.
3. Sometimes I feel like my children aren’t listening to what I say.

Which statement would you say is most true?

1. I always rush.
2. I never stop and think through my options.
3. I occasionally move ahead faster than I should.

If you selected number 3 in each question, good for you. You are ALWAYS right and NEVER wrong! I’m kidding, of course but that’s what I want to talk about today, Extreme Language. Extreme Language (All or nothing words) can frame an unrealistic life experience for each of us and, at times, make us difficult to live with.

The two words I am talking about here are ALWAYS and NEVER.

For example, “My kids never listen to me” isn’t a true statement. Now, it may feel like they never listen to you but I’m sure on at least one occasion they did listen to what you said. What about this one, “My kids always argue with me!” Again, it may feel like your kids are in a constant state of debate with you but the reality is, they are not.

When we continue to use Extreme Language we end up painting ourselves into a corner at the very least and at the worst we begin to believe it.

The statement, "Sometimes I feel like my children aren’t listening to what I say,” is certainly accurate. The fact is that sometimes our children don’t listen to what we say and sometimes they flat out ignore it but they don’t ALWAYS ignore it neither do they NEVER listen.

It’s really about perspective, isn’t it? Maybe we feel like Alexander and have had a “Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.” We’ve all been there, all had that! After one of “those” days and once we get home the things our kids “usually” do become things they “ALWAYS” do and things they “sometimes” do become things they “NEVER” do.

This week let’s all practice a mindful form of communication by being aware of what we are saying and how it effects our perspective, outlook, and even our attitude towards our kids and even our co-workers.

1. Have you ever really listened to what you are saying?
2. Do you feel like you use “Extreme Language” on occasion?
3. How will you be mindful of that language this week?