Have you ever said something to your kids and then thought “Wow! I sound just like my mom/dad!”
Sometimes it’s positive words or phrases, like “I love you to the moon and back.” Or “I love you a bushel, a peck, and a hug around the neck.” Those are great words to repeat to our kids that have special meaning to us from childhood.
But sometimes we also repeat negative scripts and phrases we heard our parents say when we were kids—even if we vowed we wouldn’t ever say them. Because they’re ingrained in our memory, sometimes they come out when we’re in the heat of the moment or we’re just plain frustrated with our child(ren). Inevitably, regret sets in.
The great news is that we can learn to rewrite these old scripts! We can intentionally take those phrases we memorized in childhood and can change them around for our own children. We can give our kids different memories of our words. It’s never too late to begin!
Here are a few examples, along with a rewrite of how we can still get our point across, but in a more intentional, loving way:
Old Script: “If you don’t stop crying, I’m going to give you something to cry about.”
Rewrite: “Let’s try to calm down and not get so worked up about something small. How are you feeling right now? How can I help?”
Old Script: “If you don’t listen to me and _______ happens, I don’t want to hear you complaining.”
Rewrite: “Here’s my advice . . . You can make the decision and you’ll be the one who will have to face potential consequences.”
Old Script: “What’s wrong with you? Why would you do that?”
Rewrite: “That wasn’t a good choice. Let’s talk about why you did that.”
Old Script: “Do as I say, not as I do.”
Rewrite: “Grown-ups aren’t perfect and I’m working on changing my old habits, but that’s why I really want you to obey and make a better choice.”
What’s old and familiar often comes to the forefront of our minds, but God tells us that our minds can be renewed in Him. Romans 12:2 NIV reminds us, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing, and perfect will.”
It’s important for us to renew our minds with God’s truth so we can be the parents He wants us to be. We won’t be perfect, of course. We’ll make mistakes along the way, but with God’s help, we can rewrite old scripts and improve the next generation.