Five Ways to Create an Emotionally Safe Home by Lori Wildenberg

The day after returning to Denver from the Philippines, I made my way down to Colorado Springs to attend a two-day conference. Jet lag was getting the best of me.

The cucumber and orange slices beckoned my weary self as they floated in the clear container of water. I grabbed a chocolate chip cookie from the refreshment table and then pulled the silver spigot toward me to fill my thermos in preparation for my hour and a half drive back home. I reasoned, “The water plus the caffeine from the chocolate would keep me alert.”

“Am I taking too long filling my water bottle?” I wondered. A beautifully put together woman, with perfectly manicured red nails and lips to match saddled up alongside me. I smiled, letting her know I saw her. Apparently that smile was an invitation to talk.

“Oh honey,” her voice dripped with southern charm.

“Don’t you wish you could take those cucumber slices and put them on the bags under your eyes?”

I released the spigot, dropped my smile, crinkled my puffy eyes, and stepped away from the table. I felt unbalanced and blindsided. Her gentle tone didn’t match her nasty comment. I had no words.

Her unkind comment physically separated us. This interaction was a good reminder that I can also wield unkind words.  I have said things that temporarily emotionally separate my children from me.

Whether unkindness comes in a southern drawl or a direct hit, the results are the same. Unkindness divides and constructs relational walls. Because I want a relationship with my kids that lasts a lifetime, I am choosing to dispose of these verbal weapons:

  1. Sarcasm: Instead I’ll say what I mean. I will be clear and direct with concerns.
  2. Historical remarks: I will remember my child’s challenges so prevention and training can take place but I will avoid the bad moment replay.
  3. Shaming comments: Woulda, shoulda, coulda. I will silence my, ”I told you so.”
  4. Always and never statements: If I want to get to the solution side of the issue, I must avoid these words. If spoken, the conversation becomes a fact checking session rather than a problem solving moment.
  5. Broadcasting humiliation: I must avoid disrespecting my kids by complaining about their struggles.

I want to provide an emotionally safe environment for my children. My home can be a place where kindness reigns, even when I’m jetlagged.

Kindness is respect clothed in love.

Love is kind.
1 Corinthians 13:4b

Parenting is Lori Wildenberg’s passion. She speaks nationally and has authored four, soon to be five, books. Those books include, Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home and Raising Little Kids with BIG Love. Lori is the co-founder of 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting, a ministry for moms and dads. Her easily applicable, relevant, relatable, and cutting edge material is presented with warmth, humor, and transparency. She admits she is not the perfect mom and openly shares stories of parent fails and successes.  Lori, a licensed parent and family educator, loves to coach parents to be the parents their kids need. The Wildenberg family resides in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. A perfect day in Lori’s world is a hike with her husband, five kids (four plus a daughter-in-love), and the family labradoodle, Murphy.  You can find out more about Lori at

The Life of a Single Mom is a global nonprofit committed to seeing no single mom walk alone. Having served more than 71,000 single mothers each year, the goal of the organization is establish support groups for single mothers in communities around the world. To date, we have worked with more than 1,500 churches & community groups to start or improve a single mom’s group. Our programs focus on empowering single moms to grow spiritually, emotionally, physically, financially, and parentally. For more information, visit


2018-03-05T11:38:13+00:00March 5th, 2018|Lori Wildenberg|1 Comment

One Comment

  1. Rincondeldo March 8, 2018 at 12:57 am - Reply

    Yes, God is good all of the time. But the point of the article was to say: if we only say “God is good when something good is happening in our lives, where does that leave the rest of us when terrible things are happening? How am I to reconcile that God is good when my 2-year-old gets a cancer diagnosis? Lori”s answer: God is good because he is walking this cancer road with us. God is good because he held on to me when I felt like I couldn”t hold on to him. God is good because he hates cancer, too, and is with us through this storm. When I only hear people claiming that God is good in the good times, it certainly leads me to question whether he”s good in the bad times; I spent a full year trying to sort through this exact scenario. Lori”s answer (THANK YOU, LORI), I believe, encourages all of us to proclaim that God is good all the timemaybe we just need to rethink how we proclaim it.

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