The tone you use when talking to your children makes or breaks their self-esteem. Do not underestimate the power of your voice for its impact is long lasting and far reaching.
Building a repertoire of positive and healthy words and phrases that bring your children up even when you are disciplining them will boost their confidence and shape their emotional well-being.
Be conscious of the words you use with your children, for the way you talk to them becomes their inner voice.
In the real world, your children are not always going to have positive experiences. If there’s one lesson that the real world teaches, it is that things don’t always work out the way we want them to.
Raising children on positive interactions and communications, they are more likely to weather what’s thrown at them: a disparaging remark, a bully in school, rejection, and failing.
The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.
In his article at Psychology Today, Jeffrey Bernstein Ph.D. observes that children who grow up with critical parents develop low self-esteem, low self-confidence, and do not live up to their potential. They are also more likely to turn to drugs and alcohol.
Prepare your children for adulthood: a healthy self-esteem is just what they need to survive life’s challenges.
1 – “I love you just the way you are.”
The magic behind this phrase is that you are showing your child that you love them the way they are – right there, at that moment, without achieving something or being something.
2 – “I am proud of you.”
Telling your children that you are proud of them for who they are and being specific about why makes them feel valued.
Be careful about telling them you are proud of them mainly when they have achieved something or won something.
Praise efforts, not the results.
If you only praise your child when he or she has won something, you are almost certain to create a fear of failure. Because in that case your child will learn that he or she is only worth something if they “win”. That is a very slippery slope. Self worth comes from within and should not be associated with material or other measures of success.
Winning depends on many factors and is not under anyone’s control. Effort and giving our best, however, is.
So let us praise our children’s efforts more than their achievements.
3 – “You are an important part of this family.”
Children who know that they are an important part of a family feel a sense of belonging.
This creates an environment with a growth mindset, where they feel free to take risks and make mistakes, which is essential to growth.
4 – “I appreciate what you did.”
This is a meaningful type of praise because, with it, your children are left to correlate the praise to their behavior and make them think about their actions critically.
Saying something like, “I appreciate your good behavior while mommy was sick,” your children understand that they did something good, but are left to conclude what was good about the behavior on their own.
As a parent, you have the honor of being your children’s first teacher. Mold them, love them, and accept them unconditionally before any school teacher can.
5 – “How can I help?”
As children grow, they discover so many new things to learn. They are also starting to become independent by doing things on their own. During the learning process, it’s inevitable for children to encounter difficulties.
The best thing that you can do to boost their confidence is to let them know that you’re there to help. But be careful not to “rescue” them.
You can tell them, “How can I help? Is there anything I can do that you’d find helpful?”
Asking this question gives your child a sense of control. It makes them feel that you trust them to do things on their own, but also reassuring them that you’ll be there whenever they want you.
6 – “It’s okay to make mistakes.”
According to an article by the Child Mind Institute, failure can greatly affect a child’s self-esteem. If children do not learn how to tolerate failure, they can become vulnerable to anxiety.
Failure can include minor setbacks like playing the wrong note during a piano lessons or big ones like flunking a test in school. Whether they take failure positively or negatively depends on how you, as a parent, respond to it.
Whenever your child is feeling distressed because of failure, you want to first of all empathise with him/her. Then, assure your child that this is an opportunity to learn and grow. Life has not ended, and they can aim to do better next time. Life is not perfect and everyone experiences failure. It’s a part of our lives.
You can tell your child, “I can feel that you are disappointed because this did not work out the way you wanted to. But I am proud of you, because you really tried and gave it your best.”
When kids feel that it’s okay to make mistakes, they will be less averse to try new things, learn with more ease and become more confident as they grow up.
What words do you use to build your child’s self-esteem? I’d love to hear them below. 🙂