What we say to people stays in their heads. When I was a little girl my older brother constantly teased me and said that I was fat. I was convinced I was fat. When I looked at my childhood pictures as an adult, I was surprised to find I was always lean. When I asked my mother why she didn’t stop my brother, she was surprised to learn that I thought I was fat and was mad that she hadn’t told me that I wasn’t. To her, it was such an obvious untruth that there was no way I thought I was fat. But I believed my older brother…
Words are very powerful. The way we talk to our children or about our children influences what they think about themselves. When parents tell me their child is stubborn, I say, “Let’s call them persistent.” Let’s encourage them to use their strengths to succeed—even if they can’t change our minds this time.
Stop and think about the last time someone criticized you or hurt your feelings. Did you later learn that they were right or wrong?
The hardest job as a parent is to focus on when our children are succeeding; to use encouraging words for their struggles; and to listen to their fears or misconceptions and to help them see things more clearly.