- T (True)
- H (Helpful)
- I (Inspiring)
- N (Necessary)
- K (Kind)
True - if not, we most definitely should not be saying it. Sometimes words come out of our mouths without filtering through our brains first. Everyone makes mistakes; everyone gets annoyed/upset/angry from time to time. If you say something hurtful and/or untrue, apologize immediately and make it right.
Helpful - is this something that is going to benefit them, or are we just spouting off or reacting? Are they in a position or at an age level to hear and receive? If yes, proceed. If not, stop. There's no point in wasting everyone's time or worse, being unhelpful.
Inspiring - are our words or actions likely to inspire and motivate? Sometimes we inspire by withholding rewards just as much as when we deliver them. Sometimes we inspire through punishment, though it's usually better if we can positively reinforce a behaviour.
Necessary - this is pretty straightforward. If what we are saying or doing isn't necessary, why spend the time and effort? There are no doubt more important things we could be doing to build into the lives of our children. Lots of things are good, but not all things are necessary (or helpful or inspiring). For example, we can keep our children busy with many activities. These activities may all be good in and of themselves, but they aren't all necessary and can, in fact, put a burden on our children and ourselves. It is good to have free time for play and for creating memories.
Kind - this is another straightforward one. We all know right away if we are being kind or mean. Kindness is always the best choice. Acting on feelings and emotions can backfire because they are reactionary.
So, try to breathe or pause or count to ten before you speak or act, especially in challenging or trying situations. Think about whether your response is going to be helpful, inspiring, necessary or kind. This is all part of being an intentional parent. And remember, children learn by example. Make sure yours is the best it can be.
If you missed part one of this series, go here.
If you missed part two, go here.
If you missed party three, here.