It all started when my son got into trouble.
And trouble is a harsh word to use. But my son being in trouble isn’t a common occurrence for us. He’s a great kid, and I’m not just saying that because he’s my son. He doesn’t get in any consequential trouble often.
And when confronting him about what he’d done, I saw something in him I hadn’t seen before. Something that both worried and scared me.
My son started tearing himself down. Started calling himself stupid and dumb, and saying he couldn’t do anything right.
I had never heard my son speak like this before. He’s a very bright, motivated guy. A natural athlete and peer. I’ve seen him many times building others up and helping his teammates on the court/field. This was something new. It shook me.
My first instinct was to look him right in the eye and negated every disparaging claim he’d made against himself. I then started to question if I’d done enough to teach him about self-love and self-worth. I’ve never openly cut myself down in front of my kids. Where had he learned it? What was he really feeling that was manifesting in this way?
It was after this outburst that he and I talked about how important it was to say nice things about himself, and how harmful the words he had used were. But it didn’t seem like enough.
The very least I could do was lead by example. I decided I’d start off simple with daily affirmations.
For only $4 at Target, I found a small magnetic dry erase board that I affixed to the back of my front door.
“I am an inspiration to others.”
That was the first thing I wrote on the board. I told my kids that we were all going to read the board out loud every time we walk out the door. “I am an inspiration to others.”
The next day, I wrote, “I am worthy of all the love I receive.” And we each said the words as we left the house that day.
Each day, I change the affirmation and we say it each and every time we walk out the door.
Even if we’re just checking the mail. That’s the rules. Say the words. Believe the words. Embody the words.
It sounds so flowery, but I’d rather be flowery than hear my son say such awful things about himself ever again. So, I will do whatever it takes for my son to believe in and stop being so hard on himself. On top of that, I get to teach my daughter these behaviors and the kids I watch in my daycare. And it’s not a bad habit for me to get into as well.
I’ve also calmed the negative chatter by removing certain words and phrases from our day-to-day. I squash each “I hate,” or “I can’t”. We either find different ways to express our feelings or different approaches to complete our tasks.
This all may seem like overkill. But the older I have gotten, the more I’ve come to realize the power of positive speech. And more dangerously, the power of negative speech. Our thoughts are far more negative than what most of us are willing to admit. If I can do my part to tip the scales and teach my kids how to have a more positive mindset now, they’ll only benefit from it as they get older.
To learn more about affirmations for your children, click here.
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