Words are the most important tool for a parent.
Your words can soothe, reassure, excite, inspire and lift.
Alternatively, they can provoke, challenge and excite.
The words you use to do these things are like gold.
Your kids need to hear more of them.
(Your kids also need to hear some home truths as well from time to time but that’s for another article!!! Speaking the truth, with love, is important.)
By far, the most important words are the words that kids tell themselves. It’s just as easy to talk themselves up as talk themselves down.
That’s why I always pick kids up when they put themselves down. Suicide put-downs (self-put downs) can easily become self-fulfilling prophecies.
“I’m stupid!” either becomes an excuse or a story.
Sometimes kids put themselves down (I’m hopeless. I’m stupid, Maths isn’t my strong point) to lower the expectations of those around them.
If others don’t expect too much then I don’t have to try and I won’t let anyone down is their thinking. It works most of the time. We feel sorry for kids and let them off the hook!
Sometimes a child’s self-deprecating remarks become the story that a child tells him or herself and it becomes true.
“I’m no good at maths” becomes the story that stays for life. It stops them from trying or attempting new things.
Sometimes kids’ conditions become their overarching story...........for others. If a child has a disability it becomes a factor in their story, but it’s not their entire story. Kids determine their own story.
The words that you repeatedly use when you are around kids can become part of their story too. So watch the labels that you attach to kids as they can become part of the story they tell themselves.
Kids will hear bad things about themselves from their peers and their siblings. These comments need to be counterbalanced by words from adults that elevate, affirm and lift.
We are in a better decision to choose the words they hear than their peers or siblings so choose well and wisely.
Here are your take-aways:
1. Choose carefully the words that you’d like kids to hear more and start using them. Try two or three to start with.
2. Don’t accept the story that many kids routinely tell themselves. Challenge their ‘I can’t’ story and help them replace it with something along the lines of ‘If I work hard and apply myself I can do it’.
3. Introduce self-talk to kids so they can learn to write a better story for themselves. This happens over time.
It may only be words..................... but words make up the stories that kids live by. That gives words incredible power.
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