Language is a difficult topic to cover when thinking about parenting. There are so many different ways our culture uses language, and many families have unique ways of communicating. Most of us know to stay clear of sarcasm, condescending statements, and hurtful tones of voice, but how many of us have thought about the conflicting messages that we can send to our children?
What if we tell our children that they are unique and beautiful on the inside, yet we insist on having our kids leave the house looking a certain way each day?
Or if we talk about loving the planet, saving money, and recycling, but our favorite pastime is shopping?
A friend of mine has the wonderful ability of talking slowly and deliberately. It is beautiful to watch. Yes, at times you want her to get to the point but each of her sentences are intentional and reflect her true thoughts. I, on the other hand, talk and talk until I figure out my point while I talk. I was named the ‘non-stop talker’ in Tibetan by a monk I was visiting in Spain.
Parents refer to their children as their babies. Then soon after they might say something like : “Be a big girl and go potty,” or “Be helpful to your mom,” or “Be a big boy and set this on the table.” Then the same child will be told they are not old enough to do something or told: “You’re too little to stay up late.”
I found that it was helpful to look into my speech habits to see if I was contradicting myself. I have worked hard to teach my daughter to step away and calm herself before reacting by breathing and thinking of a way she can be positive towards an unexpected situation. Yet I often react instantly to her actions or sibling disagreements. I’m working on taking my own advice to her, and trying to calm myself when my children present me with unexpected situations.
Does your language follow the values you instill in your children?
Do your values reflect the actions your children see you do everyday?
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