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Thoughtful Parenting: How to Wield Your Power Well

Thoughtful Parenting: How to Wield Your Power Well

I made a stark realization this month that left me very humbled. It came to my attention through a combination of a dear friend and the Holy Spirit that what I write may affect my children at some point, if not now.

I hate to say it, but that was brand new information to me. My justification all this time has been simple: my kids don’t read what I write. 

But someday, they may. And though I do not aim to hurt the people in my life who have hurt me, I had to admit that in my quest to reach out to hurting women and in my aim to be as authentic as I can be, I sometimes write things that – though true – could wound.

This led me to the decision to change my professional name, hopefully adding a protective barrier between me and my former spouse, and between me and my sweet children. And though it was a difficult decision, it feels right for me and for us.

But what does this have to do with you as you are slogging through your mommy days, sweet one?

It re-occurred to me how profound of an influence we have over our children with our words. You have the ability to help shape the perception your children have of their father, whether happily married or devastatingly divorced.

You wield much power. And my question to you today is this: are you wielding it well or are you wielding it carelessly?

Are you thoughtless – even if unintentionally - when in moments of frustration with your husband? Do your children hear what you say under your breath about him? Do your children witness arguments? Do your children hear you venting on the phone with a friend?

Or, are you thoughtful about this? Do you build up your husband to your kids? Do you build up your husband in front of your kids? Do you point out to them what a good dad he is? Do you shield them from disagreements that are going off the tracks?

Even if you’re divorced, you still carry much weight and you still can take steps to minimize the negative your children see and hear, and – even if it feels like vinegar in your mouth – you can think of at least one or two kind things to say about their father to them that will help their relationship in the long run.

Our words matter. Our influence is deep. Our children are watching and listening and soaking every little thing in.

What are you saying? 

Elisabeth Klein is the author of Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage and Unraveling: Hanging Onto Faith Through the End of a Christian Marriage, speaks several times a month to women's groups, and is a member of Redbud Writers' Guild. She focuses her attention on women who are in hurting marriages or find themselves divorcing. She lives with her children in Illinois. Visit her online at or on facebook.

Publication date: April 24, 2014