This isn’t something that others haven’t already exhausted the discussion on. Having three small children (3 boys – 6, 4, 1) it is imperative to recognize the power of our words and what they communicate to others, especially our kids.
There are two ways which words have great power when it comes to our children come to my mind.
The first is when we use words that can really cut and hurt them. Like when we flippantly criticize their work or efforts. Using words which demean or put down our children stick with them. Worthless, useless, nothing, stupid. These words all have lasting effects on our kids. Sometimes we don’t even mean to do it. It may be that we are just too preoccupied to pay attention to what they are trying to communicate to us that we in effect blow them off telling them they don’t matter. Obviously, removing the negative down-talking from the dialogue we have with our children is essential. But equally essential, is to put your own preoccupations on hold and give your child some attention when they need it. Being a parent is about caring for your child’s needs, not your needs anymore.
The second way is by making a promise and then not keeping it. This often gets done when we are trying bribe them to behave. We want good behavior so we promise something they would want with no intention of following through. Children are like spongy elephants. They absorb everything and they never forget it. If you promise something, you have to make good on your word.
This isn’t the authority on parenting, but it may be a good place to start.
Watch what you say, little ears are listening.