Although it is rarely evident in any clear or obvious sort of way, the manner in which we speak to our children has a profound and powerful impact on their sense of self-perception. In fact, the specific words and phrases we use while addressing our kids affects the way our messages are received to such a degree that the intent of the message can be easily misinterpreted or misconstrued with a simple change of phrasing.
To empower our children and imbue an indomitable sense of self-worth, we must be consistently mindful of the potency of our phrasing and our choice of words. Groza Learning Center shares three phrases that demonstrate how effective phrasing can ensure your messages yield the result you intended when received by your children.
“It’s so wonderful to see you working so hard.”
As parents, we should be cautious about the possibility of sending a mixed message by tying praise to the result rather than the process. In academic pursuits, for example, a student might perform poorly on an exam even though they studied the material and felt thoroughly prepared. Conversely, a student might perform well on an exam despite failing to study or otherwise prepare for the exam.
In both of these instances, focusing on the outcome reinforces poor study habits. When we praise the process, we are essentially saying that it is the effort made that matters most to us. This form of praise will encourage kids to adopt the kind of process-oriented approach that is most likely to yield success in all endeavors, even if there is the occasional outlier in which the outcome does not reflect the level of diligence devoted to preparation.
“Helping you achieve your goals brings me joy.”
Our children are constantly striving to develop a sense of personal autonomy, which can hinder how receptive they are to our help — even when they desperately need assistance. Thankfully, the way we phrase an offer to help can actually strengthen a kid’s overall sense of autonomy. When you tell your child that it brings you joy to help them study, they will feel as though they are actually helping you by accepting your assistance. This is a win-win scenario, as you are able to help your child succeed while simultaneously encouraging a deeper sense of empowerment and autonomy.
While they may not outwardly express it, our children possess a deep desire to do things that will make us proud. If we want to encourage our kids to see things through and develop an understanding of the benefit of a consistent, long-term effort, we should make sure to praise the commitment they make to a particular pursuit. It is no easy task to learn to play an instrument, for example, but offering praise for the act of making a commitment to a difficult musical pursuit will help ensure our kids are willing to persevere in the face of any challenge of obstacle that presents itself.