Did You Hear About….?

….How gossiping has a negative effect on children?

It is true that gossiping fulfills fundamental needs like feeling a connection with others, providing entertainment, or helping us to feel better about ourselves. But ultimately gossip is harmful to our relationships, to ourselves, and to other people.

Here’s what children learn from adults when we gossip:

  1. It is okay to be unkind and unthoughtful– although gossiping is only words, those words are hurtful and self-serving. Years ago, my 7-year-old came home from school sad about what she heard someone say about her. She wisely reported that words hurt worse than rocks.
  2. How to interact and treat others –When our interactions with others lack integrity, our relationships suffer. Talking negatively about others shows them what they can expect when they are not there.
  3. We can’t be trusted to keep a secret – When we talk about others we are showing that we don’t care about another’s privacy. Others will ultimately be guarded around us because we can’t be trusted.

3 ways to teach your children to be impeccable with their word by:

  1. Be aware of your thoughts and feelings toward others – Notice that gossiping provides a false momentary pleasure and when you have left the situation it will cut out some joy from your life.
  2. Be willing to be uncomfortable – It can be hard to not share in the talk about another person. We might be at a loss for what are we going to talk about instead. If gossiping has become a habit, it might take some time to be comfortable with not saying anything.
  3. Find new ways to connect – Instead of connecting with others by discussing the problems or misfortunes of another, be more genuine, and your relationships will flourish.
  4. Talk about others as if they are present – when you do talk about another person, do so as if that person were standing right there. It will keep your words uplifting.

We can replace gossip with positive, helpful conversations, so that our children learn to do the same. The result is a joyous life of integrity.

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