Words do really matter maybe even more than you think.
Child Development | Words Matter
The words you use with your child may shape them for the rest of their life particularly when they are about the child themselves.
I’m sure we have all at some point said, ‘don’t be so silly’ not meaning to hurt in anyway but if we repeat these words or similar, the child will begin to believe them . It’s in this belief that the frame of reference for their life is being developed. In other words – they will believe they are ‘silly‘ or ‘stupid‘ or perhaps ‘not good enough‘.
Around the age of three, the brain starts to develop the capacity to understand what words actually mean. A child begins to have the ability to express how they feel in words. This is such a crucial stage in a child’s development. So, to repeatedly use negative affirming words, you run the risk of damaging a child’s self belief and confidence. This could effect them for the rest of their growing life. They may take these words into adulthood and risk them never feeling they are good enough.
As adults, parents, caregivers, grandparents, teachers etc we can be hugely influential in the development of a child’s self-belief system. Using the right affirming words helps to encourage the child to develop a strong belief in their own ability all of which helps to develop an empathy for others.
Along with encouraging the child to believe in themselves. We also need to be really mindful that it is very important to validate their feelings. And not be quick to ignore or dismiss their behaviour.
Sometimes the only way a child can express how they feel is through their actions. Often, particularly when you’re distracted or tired and just want a bit of time to yourself, you just want to get your child to stop crying or stop having a tantrum, or whatever it might be is causing the distress to both of you, to stop ad quickly as possible. It’s so tempting to ignore what might be the cause or at the root of the problem, and just resort to a quick fix. That’s fine to do sometimes. But if you do it all the time, you may be teaching the child to think that they don’t matter. They are left feeling misunderstood and confused. They don’t have the capacity to understand how you might be feeling they can only understand it from how they feel.
The lack of validation of feelings can lead to the development of personality problems later in life. This can affect how they deal with relationships and how they see themselves in general.
Did you know… Distraction is a great tool when trying to calm down a distressed child. However, before you do that, it’s really important that you acknowledge that the child is in distress is upset or hurt or whatever has caused their behaviour by acknowledging their feelings. You can then use soothing and distraction techniques to help your child to feel they matter. And trust me. In the 20 years of helping children and families, one of the things that I’ve heard a lot of from every age group are the following words.
‘I don’t feel I matter’ and ‘I’m not good enough’
These words didn’t miraculously appear in that persons brain. These words in particular would have been placed there by somebody. This is someone usually of significance to that child which is why they believed it.
For all of us who have been parents or looked after children in any capacity, we know how challenging they can be. How easy it is to just want a quiet, and quick solution and a calm environment. If only it was that simple.
Hug-a-Bug World was born from the desire to build a child’s self belief system. Based on positive internal dialogue, positive thought processes, positive words, empowering, individuality and confidence and the ability to accept others. By using scientifically proven techniques we can help you to help your child. Let’s work together so that they can feel enough. Just being themselves and we can help you feel the same too.
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Child Development | Words Matter