It's not breaking news that some parents can be quite nasty to their children. Parenting includes the responsibility to verbally reprimand kids. Sometimes, something needs to be said. But how we as parents speak to our kids is important!
No parent is above making occasional snarky remarks to their kids. I've done it. You've done it. We all fall short. It's just that some parents develop a pattern for regularly criticizing their kids.
Constant criticism from parents can do a lot of long-term damage to a child's self-image and the confidence they need to become a functioning, responsible adult. A sharp remark or rebuke may feel good. It may even succeed in delivering your point -- in the short-term. But frankly, criticism is a lousy long-term parenting strategy, and it will never deliver the positive results you seek in your kids.
The bottom line is that when you make critical remarks to your kids, you don't win! You wound your kids and create relational distance between them and you. So here's an important key to successful communication and healthy relationships between you and your kids:
Don't say everything you think, and think before you speak.
Of course, this is easier said than done. Still, it's an entirely biblical principle! "Watch your words and hold your tongue; you'll save yourself a lot of grief." ---Proverbs 21:23 [MSG]
When your child triggers an emotion in you and you want to react with a verbal dagger...don't.
When your child injures your pride and you want to say something that will be a zinger comeback and put him or her in his or her place...don't.
When your child exhausts your patience and a strong verbal reaction will make you feel better...don't.
Words are always powerful. But misguided words hurt, and they hurt deeply. According to the Scripture, "The words of the reckless pierce like swords..." ---Proverbs 12:18a. Using reckless words is like stabbing another with a sword. In almost every instance, it's best to keep the sword in its scabbard.
A home filled with constant criticism is a breeding ground for rebellion and negativity. So when your child has pushed your buttons and your emotions are running hot, save the hurtful comment. Give yourself a timeout to cool off. Consider the issue that needs to be addressed. Think about what you need to say before you say it. Then, make an appropriate and constructive comment. For most of us, thinking before we speak is a learned skill, not a natural talent. So keep practicing, and along the line you'll find yourself thinking more and criticizing less.