Do your words harm or heal your child? As parents, we have the best of intentions for our kids. Sometimes we don’t fully recognize the influence our words have to block our children from moving forward and becoming the strong, resilient children that they so need to become. Let us allow these phrases to serve as a reminder of just how powerful our words are and the importance of truly thinking through the long-lasting implications of the words we choose.
“I told you so.”
Saying “I told you so” to your child will make him feel like you were hoping that he would inevitably fail and that you would be right. This is not the mindset that we want to be raising our children with. Yes, as parents we want to shelter our babies and save them from the world discouraging them from making their own choices, and yes, making their own mistakes will keep them stagnant and block the flow of fresh experiences into their lives. More importantly, it will rob our child of the ability to be resilient by rising above poor judgment calls and less than desirable outcomes, on their own terms.
“I’ll do that for you.”
So often we baby our children and insist on doing things for them that they ought to and are more than capable of doing for themselves. This is a parent’s natural instinct. I personally struggle with taking a step back all the time. As long as it is safe for them to do so, grant your children the space they needs to learn, grow and evolve. This requires consciously holding yourself back at times when you want to step in. She can pour her own milk, clean her own room and resolve her own friendship disputes. Show your child that you have confidence in their actions and encourage each of them to flex their own independence muscles.
“You’re a quitter.”
Please refrain from calling your child a quitter. The child who is curious and always looking for new opportunities and adventures will show up for life with a very strong sense of self and a strong connection to what brings her joy. The few times that I heard these words as a young girl really stuck with me. Although I’ve worked through the limitations that this title imposed, it is a constant effort to remind myself that I’m a multi-passionate woman with many interests, not a quitter.
Calling your child a quitter blocks their flow of creativity and disconnects them from exploring passions. Instead, nurture their desire to learn in their own way and at their own pace and applaud them for having the confidence and willingness to spread their wings and explore their own unique possibilities.
“You should be more like…”
By comparing your child to others, you are inviting them to always compare themselves to everyone who crosses their path. That constant state of self-scrutiny will keep your child striving for a reality that is not his own and will instill an unrealistic marker for them to live up to. The last thing you want to do is to rob your child of his very essence. Instead encourage them to always be better than they were the day before. That is the only form of comparison that will promote true growth.
When and if your child compares herself to others, teach her to use those feelings as a source of inspiration; show her that the talent or intelligence that she notices in another person is only a reflection of her own light and all of the things that are also possible for her.
Melody is a women’s life and wellness coach dedicated to bringing girls’ empowerment to communities on a global scale. For more information, visit www.lifeevolutionscoaching.com and www.GiRLiFEempowerment.com.