The truth is we are all human and we all make mistakes. However, to a child’s mind, its parents are something A LOT more than just a human. The parents for the children are everything they have in their early stages of life.
They are someone we turn to for support, guidance, and safety. They are someone we look up to tell us the rules of this mystery we are born into. They are its creators, its caretakers, its guardians, and they’ve lived here before it was even born. Our mother and father are our goddess and god when we are young. They are the only thing we are familiar with in the midst of this vast unknown.
That’s the reason why what parents do and how they behave becomes a crucial part of their children’s psyche. They are an example mold for our early consciousness, something to look from when it develops our character.
The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice!
Our brain has a lot more neural connections when we are young. It absorbs almost everything that happens around us with a purpose to better adapt to its surroundings. As we grow up it holds on only to the most used neural connections and it gets rid of everything that we don’t commonly use. Our mother’s and father’s voice is something that gets integrated deeply into our psyche, it becomes our inner voice.
The way they speak to us becomes the way our inner voice speaks to us, the way we speak to ourselves.
If they are angry most of the time they speak to us, if they are harsh and cold if they shout and yell whenever we do something wrong, that’s how we’ll deal with ourselves whenever we make a mistake. But as we said, we are all human, we make mistakes and that’s ok. The way you approach mistakes is how you learn and overcome them.
How to speak to your child?
An insulting inner voice can prevent us from trying new things by making us feel worthless whenever we make a mistake. While a friendly inner voice can be our greatest support, guide, and motivator in life. That’s why it is crucial to speak to your child with kindness, love, and honesty even if they make a mistake, or do something wrong. You will develop a voice inside their head that will support them in life whenever they need support, even when you are not there.
Or at least you can try to avoid saying these phrases:
They are extremely damaging to a child’s developing character!
“Stop crying right now!”
Usually when a kid does something it knows will be punished for they start crying. But even though there is no reason for them to cry, that’s their emotion. They have all the right in the world to express how they feel. By saying this you are slowly programming your child to suppress its emotions. Instead, you should kindly say: “It’s ok to cry sweetie, it’s ok to show how you feel. But that doesn’t make what you did the right thing to do.” Hug, and explain why it is wrong what they did.
“You are worthless!”
This is possibly the worst thing you can say to a child. Especially when you are the person and the mental figure they expect most of to be given approval of. By saying this, you are putting your child on a never-ending journey to seek approval from the outside world. Instead of helping them find their own worth inside, you are letting them believe they have nothing inside to find.
There are so many things you can say instead of this, like: “You can do better!”, “Nobody is perfect.”, “It’s not your day, you’ll do better next time.”
“Big boys/girls don’t get scared!”
First of all, why are you lying to your kid? You are probably more frightened than they are throughout your day. Second, you are forcing them to reject what they are honestly feeling. Fear is not a bad thing, it reminds us when to be careful. You should not run away from it but face it, be aware, learn from it. And real courage is not being fearless, but facing your fear even if you are terrified.
Instead of this, tell your kid: “It’s ok to be scared, buddy. All of us are scared sometimes. But I know there is courage inside you that will help you do the right thing even if you are scared. You are my little hero!”
“I am disappointed in you!”
Parents sometimes tell their children when they already feel bad. Trying to make them responsible for your disappointment is pretty selfish. You can be disappointed with a friend, you can be disappointed in a movie or even your country’s politics, but you can’t be disappointed in your child. You are there to let them on the right path. So when they do something wrong, guide them back. Your disappointment is in your guidance, not your child. Teach your child what they did is wrong and why.
Instead of this, tell your kid: “What you did is wrong, in my opinion. And I believe you made an honest mistake. Even if you chose to do what you did, I can assure you’ll realize it’s wrong after I explain. I know you can do better!”
“You are not [something] enough!”
By saying this to your children you are showing them a pretty restricted image of themselves. You are implying that there is something they are lacking in order for them to do what they love or be who they want to be. Even though you are not saying that they are not enough, you are programming their mindset that way. They are enough to be themselves. They always are. A tree is enough to be a tree even when it is only a seed. But it needs to grow in order to become what it is.
Instead of this, tell your kid: “You are enough to be or do what you love. But sometimes we all need to train or practice something before, in order to grow that way.”
This is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care professional.