How we speak to our children has everything to do with their sense of worth as they become teenagers, and then adults. Children absorb the words of their trusted parents like a sponge, implanting the positive as well as the negative in the archives of their minds. In order to instill positivity in a child, a parent must make a conscious effort to always think before speaking. For instance, before telling your child “If you weren’t so lazy, you would have gotten a better grade”, try telling the child “It looks like there are some things you don’t understand. Perhaps I can help”. Words heard from a parent, a child’s most trusted individual in their young life will make or break his or her self confidence. If a mom or dad tells little Bobby that he will never be as smart as older sister, Susie, it is quite probable that Bobby will still remember and believe those words for years to come. Continuous criticism has only one outcome, a child with low self-esteem.
Find the good in the small stuff. If a child does something which may seem as insignificant as remembering to cover the toothpaste tube, take the opportunity to offer positive words of praise. Ask a child how they feel about a particular current event which comes up in a family conversation. Tell that child you have an interest in how they feel about that event. The fact that there is an interest in what the child is thinking will give them a worthy sense of importance and value. If there are positive role models in the home, a child or teen will be better able to handle any negative interference outside the family circle.