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My #1 Family (and Facebook) Rule: Use Nice Words


One of the most important rules in our family is pretty basic: use nice words.

Use Nice Words

When my oldest son was a toddler, it seemed as if “Use nice words” came out of my mouth every other sentence.

Whenever he demanded, instead of asked, for something, I replied with, “Use nice words.”

When he yelled at me because I couldn’t find a toy that he hadn’t played with in months, I reminded him to “Use nice words.”

When he screamed at his brother for messing up his Lego creation, I calmly asked him to, “Use nice words.”

Use nice words is a good rule and good reminder.  It applies to a multitude of sins, but also specifically and positively redirects the misbehavior.

And over the years, I’ve been able to cut down on the times I have to say, “Use nice words” throughout the day.  (Right now, the phrase has been replaced with, “We don’t throw things” thanks to little Hurricane Isaac.)

But lately, I feel like screaming USE NICE WORDS to a different audience.  Instead of reminding my two little boys, I feel like I need to remind the adults I interact with on facebook.

It doesn’t seem like I should have to teach adults of the same rule I’ve been working hard to drill into my kids, but I guess I do.  My facebook feed has been full of drama the past few days, which is my fault for sharing my opinions, I guess.  But I’m more than a little frustrated by the disrespectful comments that have appeared in response.

Tuesday, I posted an article from my friend, Sara, titled, “Guess What? GMOs are SAFE!” and as I expected, it stirred up some controversy.  The controversy is FINE with me, but one commenter started insulting the intelligence of another commenter.  And so, I reminded everyone to USE NICE WORDS.

Today, I shared an article (on my personal page) about vaccines. I must be a glutton for punishment.  I generally try to avoid controversial topics on facebook.  (But I’m also trying to avoid working on taxes, so maybe I subconsciously posted it to distract myself. Just goes to show how much I hate tax time.)

I didn’t share the article because I’m pro-vaccines (although I am.)  I shared the article because the author made a point that sounded a lot like a grown-up version of USE NICE WORDS. 

“Hating the Anti-vaxer isn’t going to solve the problem. Calling the Anti-vaxer an imbecile is also not going to solve the problem.”  (Full article here.)

Like I said, a grown up, issue specific translation of use nice words.

Here’s the deal, you guys…this world is full of controversy.  And I realize that sometimes people feel very strongly about these controversial issues. 

But it doesn’t matter if you’re pro-GMO or anti-GMO – use nice words.

It doesn’t matter if you’re pro-vaccines or anti-vax – use nice words.

It doesn’t matter how you feel about gay marriage, gun rights, Obamacare, or Monsanto – use nice words.


(By the way, this WILL be the new rule for all comments on my blog and on my facebook page.  If you don’t use nice words, you’ll get one reminder, and then you go to timeout.  Got it?)

Would you like to comment?

  1. Yay, good rule. I try to just keep my opinions to myself, doesn't always work, but i try, lol.

  2. I don't even know what a GMO is!

    I have 3 rules about things that keep me out of conflict: 1) Not every opinion you have needs to be expressed, 2) nobody is always right, 3) choose your battles. It applies in child rearing, marriage, politics, etc. "Use nice words" needs to be my fourth rule! Thanks! :)

  3. My cellphone screen has my 2015 reminder " do all things with love" as my new years resolution to "use nice words" and not be snarky. There are more adults acting like bullies and yet we have huge anti-bullying campaigns in schools. Lead by example!