Moms: Use Positive Self Talk To Influence Your Kids

positive self talk

There’s been a lot of talk about body image issues on the old internetz recently and how depictions of “beauty” in the media affect our girls—as there should be. There’s also been some rather telling studies and efforts to show that how we as women talk about our bodies in front of our girls affects their self-image. It’s true, mamas. An “I look terrible,” or “I feel so fat,” muttered as we gaze in the mirror can have lasting negative effects on how our girls feel about themselves when they take their turns in front of the looking glass.

But there’s something that I struggle with even more than that, and I’ve not heard it mentioned a lot. You see, Sophie’s not likely to hear me say I look ugly or fat or anything like that, because I don’t think I look ugly or fat. Elle McPherson I will never be, but I am generally satisfied with the package God put me in physically. Admittedly I LOVE MAKEUP. It makes me feel fabulous. But I don’t think that a lack of it makes me ugly.

Avoid Negative Self Talk

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No, what I struggle with is talking about my intelligence and general functionality. Sophie may not hear me say “I’m so fat” but she is fairly likely to hear me say “I’m so stupid.” or “I’m such a dummy.” or “I always do the wrong thing.”

I know I’m not stupid. But I do stupid things. I am forgetful. I leave things off the grocery list and cause myself major inconveniences and wastes of time. I am clumsy, and often hurt myself with silly accidents like walking into a door frame or smacking myself in the head with a cabinet door (try not to laugh).

For some reason, when I do these things—forget something important, make a wrong turn, cause myself to have to do something over and waste precious time, I am super, super hard on myself. I am almost incapable of giving myself a break. Grace, easily extended to others, is stingily held back when I need to extend it to myself with positive self talk.

I am stupid. I am dumb. I am klutz. I am useless. I am the worst mom ever. I can’t do anything right.

This is what my daughter is more likely to hear me say.

It’s just as wrong as “I am ugly.”

And I’ve got to stop it. Because it’s not true. I am not dumb, I am not stupid, I am not useless. I am a normal person who does a lot of things well and yet is perfectly imperfect. I wouldn’t even say I am a perfectionist, far from it—but when it comes to my flaws, I sweat the small stuff like a Sumo wrestler in a sauna.

And the thing is, you guys, I’ve got a daughter who thinks she can do anything. She is amazing and she believes that she is amazing—just the way God made her—and I don’t want that to change. Honestly, it scares the crap out of me that what I say about myself can change that for her.

Building your child’s self-esteem can be a difficult, although very rewarding, journey. It’s important to plant this characteristic at a young age and tend to it as your child grows.

Positive Self Talk Includes: 

  • I like myself because…
  • I’m at expert at…
  • I feel good about…
  • My friends would tell you I have a great…
  • My favorite place is…
  • I’m love by…
  • People say I am a good…
  • I consider myself a good…
  • What I enjoy the most is…
  • I have a natural talent for…
  • Goals for my future are…
  • I know I will reach my goals because I am…
  • People compliment me about…
  • I feel good when I …
  • I’ve been successful at…
  • I laugh when I think about…
  • The traits I admire myself for are…
  • I feel peaceful when…

What Is Positive Self Talk?

Positive self talk is a way people can encourage themselves. Tell your kids that lots of professional athletes use it to keep themselves motivated, confident, and focused on their goals and what they want to achieve. It helps them succeed. For example:

  • NFL quarterback Tom Brady has been known to say: “Try the best you can.”
  • Beach volleyball Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings says: “Breathe, believe, battle.”
 You kids may feel better to learn that everyone has doubts – and even pro athletes have setbacks. Positive self talk can help them keep going. World-class skier Lindsey Vonn says: “When you fall down, just get up again.”

 

positive self talk

So from this day forward, I vow to control my harsh tongue when it comes to my shortcomings. There’s being self-aware and realistic about your abilities and then there’s self-flagellating. May I know the difference and only speak those things that are true, honest, lovely, just, pure and of good report when it comes to me, myself and I. May I embrace who I am as a child of God and delight in the gifts He has given me instead of dwelling on my weaknesses. May I make this my habit, my way of life, so that Sophie, my sweet, spunky, smart, funny, capable girl, can grow up learning to do the same.

Steps to start positive self talk:

  1. Define the root cause of your insecurities. Identify the events that lead to a low sense of self-worth. This information can provide invaluable information for challenging these negative beliefs.
  2. Be kind to yourself. If you find yourself being excessively negative to yourself, stop and consider how you would feel if someone said these things about your child. Extend that kindness and compassion to yourself.
  3. Set goals for yourself to complete so you get a sense of achievement.
  4. Celebrate your success!

positive self talk


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Jenny Rapson
Jenny Rapson is a follower of Christ, a wife and mom of three from Ohio and a freelance writer and editor. You can find her at her blog, Mommin' It Up, or follow her on Twitter.