Discipline Their Words

By various authors
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email
JackF/iStock/Thinkstock
Give kids tools that will help them discipline their tongue so they stop name-calling, gossiping, sassing and saying hurtful words.

Is your child talking back, giving sass or using his words to hurt others. Here are some ideas from other parents, who have had the same problems with their kids: 

A Solution for Sass

Our spunky 10-year-old daughter struggles with the tone of her voice when she’s frustrated. Instead of immediately disciplining her for her sassy voice, we ask her if she wants a “re-do.” If she accepts, she can try to repeat what she said in a calm, self-controlled voice. It allows her to hear the difference between a respectful and rude tone.

—Lisa Preuett

Curb Hurtful Remarks

My kids sometimes made cutting remarks or insulting observations that they dismissed as being humorous or “only words.” To illustrate the lasting effect of words, I had my children hammer several nails into a board while saying a common insult for each nail. Then I had them use the claw of the hammer to pull out half of the nails. I pointed out that, like our words, even if the nails were “taken back,” the damage to the board remained. Words not taken back (the embedded nails) also stayed. This illustration allowed my kids to see the harm their words could inflict and to think more carefully before speaking.

—Marybeth MItcham

Curbing Gossip

My daughters were talking with friends when I overheard several of the girls gossiping about classmates. My daughters weren’t making negative comments, but they weren’t attempting to stop them, either. I realized that my girls needed to learn appropriate ways to respond when conversation turns to gossip.

Later, I explained to my girls that our entertainment should not come at the expense of someone else’s reputation. I suggested three simple ways they could respond to gossip in the future:

Change the subject. Get the group talking about something else.

Defend the person. Say something like, “Oh, she’s always been kind to me,” or “Are you sure that’s true about her? She seems like a girl with a lot of character.”

Ask the gossiper to stop. Explain that you don’t want to be involved in speaking poorly about another person.

— Vanessa Peters

Curb Name-Calling

During a card game, my friend’s frustrated daughter called her brother a hurtful name. I expected my friend to simply correct her daughter, but instead, she brought the game to a halt and said, “You know the rule—three nice for one bad.”

The daughter slumped in her chair and sighed in exasperation, “But he deserved it. He’s not playing fair.”

Mom waited patiently until her daughter finally came up with three nice words to say about her brother.

Before the game resumed, my friend explained to her daughter, “Acting in anger never solves a problem. God wants us to act in love in all situations, even when your brother is being a pain.”

Soon the incident was forgotten and everyone was laughing again. I marveled at how my friend’s “three for one” rule helped restore harmony in her family.

—Jackie Castle

“Curb Hurtful Remarks” is copyrighted © 2016 by Marybeth Mitcham.“A Solution for Sass” is copyrighted © 2015 by Lisa Preuett. “Curbing Gossip” is copyrighted © 2013 by Vanessa Peters. “Curb Name-Calling” is copyrighted © 2012 by Jackie Castle. Used by permission. “Curb Hurtful Remarks” first appeared in the February/March 2016 issue of Thriving Family magazine. “A Solution for Sass” first appeared in the October/November 2015 issue of Thriving Family magazine.

Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

About the Author

various authors

This article is a compilation of articles written by various authors. The author names are found within the article.

You May Also Like

Thank you [field id="first_name"] for signing up to get the free downloads of the Marrying Well Guides. 

Click the image below to access your guide and learn about the counter-cultural, biblical concepts of intentionality, purity, community and Christian compatibility.

(For best results use IE 8 or higher, Firefox, Chrome or Safari)

To stay up-to-date with the latest from Boundless, sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter.


If you have any comments or questions about the information included in the Guide, please send them to [email protected]

Click here to return to Boundless

Focus on the Family

Thank you for submitting this form. You will hear from us soon. 

The Daily Citizen

The Daily Citizen from Focus on the Family exists to be your most trustworthy news source. Our team of analysts is devoted to giving you timely and relevant analysis of current events and cultural trends – all from a biblical worldview – so that you can be inspired and assured that the information you share with others comes from a reliable source.

Alive to Thrive is a biblical guide to preventing teen suicide. Anyone who interacts with teens can learn how to help prevent suicidal thinking through sound practical and clinical advice, and more importantly, biblical principles that will provide a young person with hope in Christ.

Bring Your Bible to School Day Logo Lockup with the Words Beneath

Every year on Bring Your Bible to School Day, students across the nation celebrate religious freedom and share God’s love with their friends. This event is designed to empower students to express their belief in the truth of God’s Word–and to do so in a respectful way that demonstrates the love of Christ.

Focus on the Family’s® Foster Care and Adoption program focuses on two main areas:

  • Wait No More events, which educate and empower families to help waiting kids in foster care

  • Post-placement resources for foster and adoptive families

Christian Counselors Network

Find Christian Counselors, Marriage & Family Therapists, Psychologists, Social Workers and Psychiatrists near you! Search by location, name or specialty to find professionals in Focus on the Family’s Christian Counselors Network who are eager to assist you.

Boundless is a Focus on the Family community for Christian young adults who want to pursue faith, relationships and adulthood with confidence and joy.

Through reviews, articles and discussions, Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live.

Have you been looking for a way to build your child’s faith in a fun and exciting way?
Adventures in Odyssey® audio dramas will do just that. Through original audio stories brought to life by actors who make you feel like part of the experience; these fictional, character-building dramas use storytelling to teach lasting truths.

Focus on the Family’s Hope Restored all-inclusive intensives offer marriage counseling for couples who are facing an extreme crisis in their marriage, and who may even feel they are headed for divorce.