“The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.” -Peggy O’Mara
As moms, I think we can all agree our kids pick up on things FAST! They watch our mannerisms and imitate us. They observe our activities and do their best to join in. And their ears are always open ready to hear our voice. What we say to them is so powerful that it starts to form the way our kids think about themselves and the way they see the world.
If we are yelling, they focus on the tone and volume of our voice more than they do the actual words. If we correct using negative phrases, the negativity is what stands out rather than the lesson we want them to learn! We must speak to our children in a positive way! For example, instead of saying:”Stop that crying right now!” You can say: “You look upset. Do you want to talk about it?”
Both phrases will often stop the crying, but the first phrase enforces the idea that the child’s sadness is not okay. The second response shows empathy and lets the child know you are on his/her team and are available when life feels sad. Before you know it, your kids won’t rely on your response because they will have naturally formed their own responses based on taught behaviors. Their brains will tell them that no one cares about them crying or it will say they can find someone they trust to help them problem-solve depending on the way parents responded from a young age.
So how can we as parents speak to our children in a way that sustains a positive inner voice?
Well, we can shift our responses to get the same result but be more respectful, just like the example above. We can also try to think long term instead of reacting on an impulse. Catch the words before they fall off the tongue, quickly dissect them, and then only let the words leave your mouth that are going to teach lessons or offer encouragement.
Parenting coach, Nicole Schwarz wrote a blog post about reactive versus responsive parenting. This post goes right along with helping your child develop a positive inner voice. Read through the examples below to understand alternative phrases to use with your children:
Let’s make sure we are speaking life into our children through positive affirmations, responses, and interactions.
Tell us in the comments how you have seen your responses impact your child’s inner voice.