What we say to our children becomes their inner voice.
Every morning, we start again. We get a chance to shape our children’s lives. The words we say to our children become their inner voice.
The words that parents and guardians say to their children can have a major impact on them, whether positive or negative. Therefore, it is crucial that we are mindful of this when we speak to our children.
I know that situations can sometimes get heated especially when one has a child exhibiting somewhat challenging behaviours coupled with the pressures of everyday life. However, this is the blueprint to solve all misunderstandings with children.
Think about the times you have called your child and they pretended they didn’t hear you or your child says they had a shower when you asked them and in reality, they only had a quick wipe with a flannel. When your child continues to do the very thing you’ve asked them to stop doing for a couple of times, your first reaction may be ugh!..... I can not be telling you the same thing over and over again.
Last year, my wife and I started trying something different. We decided to confront the wrong actions and not our kids. Instead of reacting with anger, we reacted with empathy. We try to avoid yelling at them but instead, we find that we are able to reprimand them with sincere empathy.
It is important to realise that it may take time for parents to adapt to this approach because let’s face it, in our day, our parents' approach was more hard-line than nowadays and most likely our parenting lifestyles are modelled after them.
My wife suggested that we should deliberately keep in our minds the fact that we are blessed by the creator to have each other. In this way, we are learning to appreciate each other and to say words that build one another and show respect. We are in turn more patient with each other and forgive one another more easily.
Words have long-lasting effects on our children, those words can either build them or break their self-esteem.
Reasons the words we say to children matter to them:-
⁃ Words are like seeds and when apple seeds are sown, the expected harvest is apples.
⁃ Words are building blocks and have a vital role in shaping who our children become as adults.
⁃ What parents, teachers, guardians and other people with influence over our children say has more significance.
⁃ Words are used to create a worldview. For example, if children usually hear their parents portray an individual as a threat, they will automatically approach or interact with that person as a threat to them by avoiding them, being harsh to them etc. In other words, they are programmed to have a certain worldview.
⁃ The words our children have heard from us, they will also use in their communication; so let’s be mindful to leave a good legacy when it comes to building children up.
⁃ Words are great at expressing approval or disapproval. Our children look up to us. Our approval or disapproval means a lot to them. As the saying goes, it all starts at home.
Lastly, the things we say to children are imprinted and stored in their hearts. When they are grown, these words are played back in their minds.
My name is Jeff Mutenga. Join me on my journey as I navigate through the life of parenting. When I became a parent the world I knew forever changed from work and university to trips to the park, school runs, tantrums and sleepless nights.
My mission here is to make parenting easy-er.
To enjoy those highs, and to more easily navigate the lows since if we’re going to be on this roller coaster, we might as well have as much fun as we can while we’re on the ride.