Words are REAL things…
choose them consciously and empower your children!
Before I begin here, I must point out that I certainly wasn’t born with all the knowledge I have regarding parenting today. Just like you, I was programmed too. However, after beginning my own personal development in my early 20’s, I became very conscious of the negative affect this programming had on my mind and I noticed how I would often feel discouraged, disempowered and controlled by an outside force. Alot of the decisions I made out of my ‘programming’ felt incongruent and resistant with my inside force, or what I like to call my ‘internal guidance system’. I decided I did not want to pass those same “disabilities” onto my children. So I became very hungry to discover a new way, and started feeding myself with copious amounts of information that I believed would uplift, nurture and inspire my children instead.
Alot of what I will explain here I have learned from, what I consider to be, the most incredible parenting book ever written, or at least that I’ve ever read. A book called Parent Talk by Chick Moorman. I highly suggest every parent gets themselves a copy not now, but right now!
Without going into extensive detail, here are the 5 key words that I believe to be most important to change in your vocabulary today. For all the details on why you should adjust your vocabulary as stated below, click on the links in the paragraph. But if you’re happy to take my word for it, and make the changes without knowing the detail, here it is:
5 most important words to change in your vocabulary:
Problem to challenge – The word “Problem” is self-defeating… the word “challenge” suggests a solution. Challenges create opportunities for growth, and the spirit thrives on growth and expansion! Personally, I don’t even allow my children to use the word “problem”. If I hear them say it, I respond with “please choose a better word. There’s no such thing as a problem, because there’s nothing we can’t work out! There’s always a solution to everything. What is it that’s challenging you?”
Whenever my children come to me with a challenge, or if I identify one myself, I always use a tone of voice that suggests excitement. “Oh wow, this looks challenging! Awesome. How will we work this one out?”. Immediately, their minds embrace the challenge and are focused on finding the solution. Click on the video below to watch a 90 second video on the effectiveness of using ‘challenge’ rather ‘problem’.
Yes/No to you decide – when the child feels in control of their choices, they feel in control of their world, and they also learn that THEY affect their own circumstances, and that life is not something that just happens TO them, without them having any influence on the circumstances. It could be something as simple as “Can I have a snack?”, “Can I go outside and play?”, “Can I have a bath?”. These common questions can be answered quickly and efficiently with a simple “yes” or “no”, or they can be used to create numerous opportunities to empower children. “You decide” takes the authoritive role away from the parent and allows the child to use his/her personal power. It creates an opportunity for children to be decisive, a life skill that can change their entire adulthood if practised in childhood.
Don’t to Stop, or please <insert new behaviour> – the subconscious mind does not understand and cannot process the word “don’t”. For example, if said to you, “whatever you do, DON’T think of what colour your pillow case is”, immediately, your subconscious minds brings up a picture of your pillowcase. You then need to use your discipline to not mention the colour you seen in your mind.
For effective parenting, get in the habit of telling your children what TO do, not what NOT to do. So instead of saying “Don’t yell”, say “Stop yelling” or “please use your quiet voice”. Instead of “Don’t hit”, say “stop hitting” or “please use your words not your hands”. Instead of saying “Don’t run”, say “stop running” or “please walk”.
For a detailed explanation on how the subconscious mind works, and why this change in your vocabulary will produce instant and permanent improvement, click here.
Wow, that’s amazing to I’m not surprised – When your child shows you a piece of work they have done, or a new skill they have learned, it is tempting to be really excited for them, and to praise them by saying something like “Oh woooow! That’s amazing!!”, in a very surprised and excited voice. But what this says to the subconscious mind of the child is, “I didn’t expect this of you. I never thought you were this good. I’m really surprised by this great work because I didn’t think you were capable of it”.
So instead, in a calm steady voice, as if it’s no real big deal, give your child VALIDATION, but not praise. Validate what they are already feeling. This increases their self-esteem, and self-worth. Say something like “I’m very impressed, but I’m not surprised at all”, or “here, let me have a good look at that… yeah, I’m not surprised. Incredible. Just what I expected”. Give it your attention and validation, but not your praise! This kind of language says to the subconscious mind of your child “mum/dad knows I’m good. This is what they expected of me because they know I’m amazing. They love my work, but they’re not surprised by it. I am good enough”.
It allows your child to be proud of themselves, rather than searching for your opinion before they decide how they feel about themselves. So next time your child comes running at you all excited with something to show you (anything at all!), be impressed, keep your tone normal, use your words not the pitch in your voice, and tell them you’re not surprised… and watch what you see in their eyes in that moment. You will literally witness their own internal conversation telling themselves they are GREAT!
I’m proud OF you to I’m proud FOR you – When we use the ever-so-common “I’m proud of you”, we are essentially judging our child’s achievement, and telling them what to feel about what they achieved, or didn’t achieve. It can be very condescending, and at the least, it teaches your child to disregard, or never trust their own feeling, and to seek validation before believing what they feel. What’s important is how THEY feel about what they’ve done, and how they judge themselves, not how we judge them by our own evaluation.
Sometimes “I’m proud of you” is used to disregard or discredit the child’s current state of emotion. Maybe they are disappointed at how they played a game, or performed in a test or something, and sometimes, as a parent, because it hurts US to see them dealing with those emotions, we try to stop those emotions by telling them that even though they are disappointed with themselves, WE are proud of them… as if how WE feel about them should be more important than how THEY feel about themselves.
On the other hand, several times a day, our children do things they are excited about, or they show us a piece of work they put effort into… something THEY are proud of, and they bring it to our attention… we then play the “judge” by letting them know WE are proud. Again, the attention of the child should be focused on how THEY are feeling, not how we are feeling. In this case, changing just one word makes an incredible difference. Replacing the word “of” with the word “for”.
“I’m proud FOR you” keeps the focus on the doer. The parent appreciates and communicates pleasure in the child’s accomplishment, but attention and credit goes to the doer, which is the child!
Say the words out loud to yourself right now, and notice the subtle difference… notice the different feeling you get in your spirit when you use the word FOR, rather than OF. If I was to tell you I am proud of you for something, your subconscious thought is likely to be something like “who is she to judge me?”. And you’d be right!
If our intentions are to build self-esteem and self-worth, it is not up to the parent to be proud of the child. It is up to the child to be proud of themselves! The only thing a parent should validate is how the child feels about themselves. An example of something I often say, if my child was to show me their painting, is something like “yes, I like it too. The colours you chose to use were very creative. And it’s clear to me that you feel very proud of yourself about this piece of work. The part I like best is how YOU feel about it, that’s what’s important to me. I’m very proud for you.”
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