Think about it. What do our words actually say when uttered? Whether they are said in our minds or out loud, our words have power. We may teach our children the chant “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me”, but this can only be true if we have strong self-esteem, and regrettably, not many of us do.
We tend to focus our attention on the outward behaviour of the people around us and not on the internal dialogues we have with ourselves. I can almost guarantee that within the last hour you have had at least one conversation in your head in which you have berated yourself in some way. This only serves to make us feel worse. Our children are exactly the same. They too have conversations with themselves, or their imaginary friends, in which they tell themselves in some way that they are not good enough. Our job as parents is to reframe the internal dialogues in a way which affirms self-esteem. The only way to do this with our children is to spend time with them, to ensure that we know them to be able to effectively communicate with them.
We are not at school with our children so we do not see what happens in their daily interactions but we can find out what excited or bothered them in the course of the day. By looking at these things with your child, you can reinforce the great feelings and help your child to reframe the not so good, with the result of bolstering their self-esteem and teaching them how to better handle situations which make them uncomfortable.
I am involved with a wonderful group of people doing workshops on bullying with children in schools. My part of the program is on the use of powerful words. I tell a story with a character I have created which gives examples of feeling powerful through simply being mindful and being mindful allows us to recognise that we are powerful. The children leave with a simply rhyme affirming that they too, are powerful.
So, how powerful are you? What words do you use in your internal dialogues? How can you reframe them and what words can you change to make you a happier human being?
Kim Hunter is the owner of Touch and Learn, Handcrafted for Children www.touchandlearn.co.za