The Power of Words
Children believe everything you tell them. If you tell your daughter she's a princess, it's a done deal. If you tell your child they are smart, they'll go out of their way to show you how smart. If you tell them they're dumb, they'll believe the lie, hook, line and sinker.
No reasonable parent would ever purposefully tell their child they are dumb, right?
Parent's get frustrated, and when they do, phrases like the following are all too common.
"How could you be so stupid?"
"What were you thinking?"
"What's your problem?"
One of the greatest gateways to peer pressure vulnerability is a low self-worth and one of your greatest tools against peer pressure are words of affirmation. Affirmation is the act of appreciating people by confirming who they are. When you give compliments or words of encouragement you empower children to value themselves. When children value themselves they can usually determine what is good peer pressure and what is bad peer pressure.
I want you to challenge yourself this week, to pay careful attention to the words you use with your children (spouses too) and how you use them.
A game you can play to help illustrate this to your children uses paperclips. Chose an evening activity, such as dinner, or game night and give everyone an even number of paperclips to be kept in a pocket or small baggy. Every time a compliment, or word of affirmation, is given, the complimentor gets to put a paperclip on that persons collar. The goal is to give away all your paperclips. The catch is that every time a harsh or negative word is spoken, you lose a paperclip from your collar and have to put it in your stash until you can give it away again.
Let me state the goal again... it's not how many paperclips you have on your collar at the end of the game, its how few you have left in your pocket.
Oh man, be forewarned that you might have some meltdowns depending on your children's temperaments. Some children hate losing their paperclips, so you have to figure out a fun, light-hearted way to do this. Don't shy away from the game, however. Those children who meltdown, need these types of games the most to learn how to loosen up and learn from the games, not be defined by the game. In time, I promise you, they will chill.
Together, we can do this,
It's time to come home.
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