What you say repeatedly, and how they view themselves, can turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy!
When was the last time you heard a parent describe their toddler/child (outloud) as being “shy” or “timid” or “wild and uncontrollable”, etc. All toddlers and young children can have bouts of being “shy” for instance, or act crazy on occasion, but watch what you start saying about them and be careful it doesn’t become a “habitual” description. Believe it or not, just as negative “self-talk” can cause us difficulties and barriers in our own lives, describing a child over and over in a particular way….can actually lead them to “becoming” that way….whether it’s a good or bad personality trait! Because what you believe you are…..YOU ARE!
I learned all about this from a lot of self-help material over the past few years! And it really does make sense. Think about it….take for instance a one year old toddler. The first few times he/she reacts to someone in a “shy” manner, the parents (who often think it’s cute to have their child’s head buried in their shoulder) will say, “Oh, don’t be so shy!” or “He’s such a shy baby”! As the child gets older, and continues to hear this description of themselves and associates their behavior with the word, they begin to believe the words that are spoken so often and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy….they often actually DO become shy as older children and adults. Why wouldn’t they? Those first few years are the most molding years of their life!
That’s just one example! I know from personal experience how easy it is to “label” a child! My son was such a goofball when he was very young (always making people laugh) and I started responding to every little funny action with, “You are soooo silly!” I can’t even tell you how many times I said that to him over the course of 3 or 4 years! Is it any wonder, he ended up being the class clown when he started school!? We’ll never know for sure…..but I definitely accept some responsibility for this!
And if you have a child who seems to be overly wound-up, grumpy, impatient or emotional, you might consider the information found in one of my earlier blog posts! (And “Yes….even if they are a teen”! There CAN be peace in your home during those rough, hormonal years!!)
So….realizing now the power your own words can have on your child….what words and phrases will you choose to help influence their future? Perhaps things like….”You are so loving”, “You are so strong”, “You are so ambitious”, “You are so friendly”, “You have such determination to get things done!”, “You are so considerate of other people” or maybe “You are so outgoing and friendly”! You get the idea! Have fun with it!