As if parenting wasn’t challenging enough, “experts” don’t help when they say things like:
How you talk to your kids will become their inner voice someday.
That’s enough to scare the crap out of every parent because all of us have said things to our kids that we wish we could take back.
Will one comment or even a few ridiculous statements scar them for life?
I’m a firm believer that although sticks and stones will hurt your bones, words can also hurt you. And words can stick in a mind even after the verbal attack is long over.
So when you say those things you wish you could take back, and you know you’ve hurt your child, how do you keep those words from someday becoming their inner voice?
You want to hear another quote that’s misused? Love means never having to say you’re sorry.
Yes, love means that you should forgive before someone asks to be forgiven, but it does not mean that you should never tell someone you are sorry.
As a parent, it’s hard to look your kid in the eye and say you blew it. But if you’ve said something that your child did not need to hear, then it is your duty to apologize.
Not only does this communicate that you love your child and that you know you were wrong; it models humility and shows your child how to admit mistakes and ask for forgiveness.
Talk is Cheap
Saying you’re sorry is step one to removing negative inner voices. Step two is to walk the talk.
Sometimes apologies are cheap. To make sure yours is golden, back it up with your actions. Show your love in tangible ways, like listening and spending time with your child.
Being sorry also means that you strive to not voice those negative or hurtful comments to your child again. If you are constantly flinging the same verbal spears at your child–over and over and over–think about getting some parental counseling. There’s no shame in that; everyone needs direction and coaching at some point in their life.
It’s true that children will do as you do, not as you say. So even if your words are good, be sure they have the full support of your behavior as a model.
One researcher stated that “as long as there is five times as much positive feeling and interaction” as there is negative, then the relationship between two people was positive and stable.
I’ve heard other ratios thrown around: 10-1, even 20-1.
But no matter what the score is, it’s important that Positive wins…by a lot.
If you have to stop and think about what you’re saying and filter out negativity, then so be it. No one ever said parenting would be easy. Even after 25 years of parenting, I’m still learning to filter because I want positive to win in our house.
Why Does the Inner Voice Scream?
My husband remembers a time when as a high school football lineman, he scooped up a fumble and ran it in for a touchdown. And what did his dad have to say about that?
You sure run slow.
To this day, my husband remembers that negative remark. It is an inner voice that still screams at him. Why? Because his dad never apologized. Because it was indicative of his dad’s negative parenting. Because it confirmed his feelings that Dad was very very hard, if not impossible, to please.
If his dad had apologized, backed it up with loving attention, and strived to be a positive voice more than he was a negative voice, then that negative inner voice would not be still screaming. It would have been silenced.
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