We all know the old rhyme: “sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never harm me.” We also all know that words certainly can hurt us. By the same token positive words have an incredibly encouraging impact on a person’s confidence and are vital for a child’s healthy development.
Things that are said to a child, especially from their parents, becomes part of who they are so it is important to be aware of what we say. Positive affirmation has been proven time and again to be more effective than punishment in encouraging good behaviour. Positive words build a child up and create a nurturing environment within which they can thrive. We cannot underestimate the importance of positive words and encouragement for the well-being of all people, especially children.
Try to tell your child each and every day that they are loved and that you are glad that they are part of your life. Praise them for a job genuinely well done and be as specific as possible in telling them why you are proud of them. Try also to be conscious of the words that you use when scolding your child. It is easy to be overwhelmed and to say things in the heat of the moment that we do not mean and that we later regret. It is impossible to always avoid these negative words, but when we our tempers do erupt it is important to acknowledge and to apologise for hurtful words said in anger. Instead of saying words like “don’t do that,” rather try to phrase it more positively by saying “let’s try to do it this way,” or “imagine how you would feel if…” By being conscious of your words and trying to phrase things positively your child can learn and develop their behaviour in a constructive way instead of always being told not to do things or feeling sad and hurt by constant negative words directed at them.
Remember that you too deserve positive words, so try to use kind words for yourself as well. It is easy to forget to be kind to ourselves, especially when we are overwhelmed, tired and constantly putting the needs of others above our own. Try to practise a positive way of thinking about yourself and this will not only help you to feel better (which your children will pick up on), but it will also make it easier for you to use positive words for your children.