Psalm 141:3 says, “Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.” We know to seek the Lord when we need to guard our own lips. Even then, we have a really hard time doing it. So how is it that you can know how to help your child guard their lips when it can still be difficult for us? We can do it and help ourselves while we are at it.
This post is part of the Building Virtues in Your Children Series
I remember one time when I was working outside the home. I was mortified to hear that my son told his caregiver, very casually, some very personal things about our homelife.
I was mortified. My heart sunk to the ground and I just thought, how many other people has he told this and other things too. I am an extremely private person, yet I had children who seemingly didn’t know how not to speak about our family business.
How do we get children to not loosely speak about private matters? It is tricky to teach them not to talk about certain private affairs, but still be able to speak to us freely if something bad happens to them.
Kids can guard their lips by practicing to T.H.I.N.K.
At first, they didn’t understand what was so wrong about telling others our business. I spent a lot of time talking to them about telling me if something was wrong or trying to get them to come to me whenever they needed help. NOW, I was telling them not to do the very thing I wanted them to do with me, tell.
I finally found and taught them the T.H.I.N.K method. It helps them to think before they speak. We all could use to do that a little more often, Amen?
The T.H.I.N.K method teaches that before they speak, kids can ask themselves a few questions first. It may not be perfect or foolproof, but it is a method to help their character as they grow. The questions are:
Is what I am about to say True?
Is what I am about to say Helpful?
Is what I am about to say Inspiring?
Is what I am about to say Necessary?
Is what I am about to say Kind?
Your kids can practice asking these questions before they speak to help filter out what isn’t true, what’s mean, bashing, unnecessary, or useless. To help your child guard their lips and to even help you try it as well, this method can help.
Here are some verses and resources for applying the T.H.I.N.K method on how to help your child guard their lips:
T = Is it true?
I wonder how kids lie so much. Sometimes they are super little white lies, but they are so annoying. They make you wonder why lying is a default reaction at times. Help your kids learn the importance of telling the truth with memorizing these verses and the activities below.
Psalm 51:6, “Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.”
Luke 6:45, “Fill my heart with your Word so that my tongue will speak your truth in my conversations.”
Proverbs 12:22, “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.”
Honesty for Kids: FREE Printables | Sunny Day Family
FREE Honesty Printable Pack for Kids | Proverbial Homemaker
Truth or Lies: How to Tell the Truth Activities | Mental Fills Counseling Tools
Study In Honesty – FREE No Prep Worksheet and Activity Book | Miniature Masterminds
H= is it helpful?
I knew a family whose children would never help when there was work to be done. People had to ask them to help. It was extremely frustrating when healthy young boys sat down, while we were all helping pick up debris from a cyclone that had passed our country a couple of years ago.
Helping others helps us take our eyes off ourselves. Helping others will guide us not to speak if what we are saying isn’t helpful to the hearer. Help your kids think about helping others and evaluating their speech with these Bible verses and resources.
Ephesians 4:29, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what helps build others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
Philippians 2:4, “Let each of you look not only to his interests but also to the interests of others.”
5 Ways to Encourage Your Children to Serve Others | Paradise Praises
Teaching Kids to Help | Great Useful Stuff
I = Is it inspiring?
Your child’s speech can either build up or tear down. When you see kids who inspire one another, confidence goes through the roof. I recently saw a video of a boy trying to break a block in his martial arts class. His coach and teammates were encouraging and cheering him on the whole time, even when he felt he could never do it. That just melts your heart. Help your child be a child who inspires instead of words that break others with these Bible verses and resources.
Proverbs 10:11a, “The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life.”
Ephesians 4:29, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up,”
Proverbs 12:18b, “The tongue of the wise brings healing.”
Proverbs 16:24, “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”
FREE Printable Speak Life Lunch Notes | Our Kingdom Culture
N = Is it necessary?
Getting your kids to think about when and what is necessary to talk about is a challenge. My son, bless his heart, can tell a mile a minute. I am not meaning to stop your children from talking at all. I love to hear my son talk and fully know that his days of talking to me will slowly come to an end as he gets older.
Discerning what comes out of their mouths should be something they can work on like blurting out private information, talking back, gossiping, or whining. Use these scriptures and resources to help you with teaching your kids what is necessary and what isn’t.
Proverbs 21:23, “Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.”
Proverbs 17:28, “Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.”
Proverbs 25:28, “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and let without walls.”
James 1:19-20, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
The Grumbles Game | Arabah Joy
My Mouth is a Volcano! Fun Activities for Interrupting | Triplets plus One
Before You Speak: Think – FREE Printables | Homeschool with Love
Think about it or say it? 472 task cards | Miss D’s Autism Homeroom
Think Before You Speak Printable Posters (FREE Download) | Teach Junkie
Drama Llama Gossip Craft & Presentation | The Counseling Teacher Brandy
Gossip Lesson For Kids & Teens | Christian Youth Bible Studies
FREE 3-Step Guide to Getting Rid Of Whining And Complaining | My Brave Guide
K = Is it kind?
If your child’s speech is kind, there is no room for them to be mean. You can practice praying for others with your kids. That would be the first step of showing kindness, even to those who we don’t want to pray for. Teach your kids how one kind word can change their day. Use these Bible verses and resources to practice kindness at home.
Ephesians 4: 32 “…And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.”
Teach Kids Kindness (Printable Pack) | Proverbial Homemaker
Teaching Kindness with a Free Activity | Pathway 2 Success
64+ Random Acts of Kindness Cards for Kids | Natural Beach Living
Guarding our own lips
Carrie and I knew we had lingering issues with guarding our lips. I would say we did pretty well with how we spoke to others more often than not. However, when it came to our loved ones, in our own homes, we knew we needed a change.
The Lord had been dealing with us for years about it, and we wanted to do something about it, so we did! We started the Keep Quiet Challenge, to hold our tongues no matter what. To take time just to practice what the Lord has been telling people for thousands of years.
We meditated on the scriptures and put them into practice, and it changed us into better women today. If you have an issue with guarding your lips at times, you are not alone. Your children can use an example to glean from, let that example be you.
Do words just fly out of your mouth when you open it? Maybe you are tired, stressed out, worried, or just irritated and you don’t mean to take it out on your family – but you do. When we lash out, even if unintentionally, it harms those we love.
It’s time to change, friend. Let us share with you practical steps to work through several different areas that may have taken root in your heart and live out through your lips.
Learn more about the Keep Quiet Challenge 12-Week Bible Study.
Here are a few more resources and Bible verses to equip you with how to help your child guard their lips to help you along the way.
FREE Printable: 7 Tips to Stop Shooting from The Lips | Karen Ehman
The Power of Words (Proverbs 18:21) | Ministry-to-Children
Proverbs 18:21. “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
Psalm 141:3, “Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.”
Hebrews 10:19–25, “Brothers and sisters . . . let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the day approaching.”
Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Jeannette is a wife, mother and homeschooling mom. She has been mightily, saved by grace and is grateful for God’s sovereignty throughout her life’s journey. She has a Bachelor in English Education and her MBA. Jeannette is bi-lingual and currently lives in the Tongan Islands of the South Pacific. She posts daily freebies for homeschoolers!
Series Navigation Previous: How to Help Your Child Understand When to Use Caution Next: How to Encourage Gratitude in Your Child