Saturday, May 17, 2008

Toxic words

Most of us perpetuate, without realizing it, thoughts and actions by treating our children and others as we were treated growing up. Not to say this is always a bad thing especially if we were raised in a nurturing family. We all have heard that abuse engenders abuse and how many of us as teens have said when I have children I will never do that to my kids. Only to find as a parent they do the same things mom and dad did. If this something is making them hold to a curfew, do chores, be responsible well great. These things need to be learned and followed. But the parent that uses toxic words or goes overboard on punishments, even if it is just timeouts, is fostering that use in their child and this we don't want to pass on to future generations.
Lets look at toxic words, just simple everyday words we all use but oh how they can poison a child's mind. stop and think about it, no one always anything. It's just, at that moment in time you think of how often they do something they were told not to do and forget how often they do right. Next is never...again no one never listens, never follows instructions, never does things right or whatever you are chastizing them for. Stop to think do you always or never do things?
How about but? Do you praise a child for something only to take it away by saying but? But why can't you do that all the time? But why didn't you do that the first time? Only a three letter word and it can do so much damage. And, yes, I nearly said but it can do so much damage.
And remember would'a, could'a, should'a, we often say these things about something we messed up and yes even then they are derogatory but to a child would, could and should can cut the self-esteem down so very badly.
Worst of all we don't mean to inflict damage to their ego but in frustration, anger or the heat of the moment it happens. We speak out without a thought of the message we are giving out to our children. And while we are on the subject think of your own ego. These same words are just as toxic to us and maybe if we learn to use other words in their place we won't be so quick to use them on the children.
When you want to say "You did great today but" why not say "I'm really proud of what you did today" and leave it at that. Or how about "that was great do you remember just how you did that?" This will tell them you are proud of them and reinforce to remember just what made it so great. As for yourself if you mess up and especially if its not the first time then tell yourself "I really need to slow down and do this the proper way next time because I really do know how to do it."


Marina said...

I just found your blog and love it I think however writing will be a thing of the past my daughter is 25 and she prints her name I ask her why?not long hand your name "mom b/c it takes too long and everyone prints now and its easier to understand" well I remember looking at her writing and she does always print she can hand long hand write,but I have always have written thank you notes ect. in long hand writing I don't like to print. and yes my long hand has change over the years but on then I have notice my sister and I write all most like our mom? have a nice day.marina

Wendy said...

This topic is so pertinent. As a teacher I see so many people saying these things to children and even children saying them to one another. It's something that really needs to be brought out into the open. I'm sure that many don't realise that they're even doing it.