We are our children’s first teachers, from little babes through to adults having their own families. A huge part of our teaching and their learning is from words and this is hugely powerful to remember. When we are aware of the words we choose to use, also how and when we use them, this awareness makes a big difference to us and our little people. They are sponges and every single word will have a lasting impact.

As we raise our children, it’s important to have a big-picture vision of how we want them to go off into the world without us. Let’s face it, as a parent, it’s our job to support them to have the best skills possible to be empowered individuals stepping onto their next chapter after the security of ‘the family home’.

Words are incredibly impacting, therefore we are best to avoid words with negative connotations, such as “Don’t”, “Should”, “Shouldn’t”, “Couldn’t”, “Can’t” or “bad.” Negative adjectives are also best avoided, such as “ugly,” “lazy,” and “selfish”. The unconscious mind does not understand the negative, so if we say, “don’t draw on the wall”, the unconscious mind hears, ‘draw on the wall’.

Simply put, our children believe everything we say it.

When we constantly focus on positive language, situations, praise and tones, it becomes ingrained in our children and even more automatic for us big people. It flows and becomes our new ‘norm’ within the family, it will then ripple out to their groups as they interact with peers and friends. As a by-product, they will also have advanced problem-solving skills, which supports their confidence. Encouragement is also essential in all areas with a focus on praising every step of the way. Whilst it might seem like hard work, it is essential and when we see the results as the years go by, it feels great. To see our children grounded and empowered making their own decisions gives us a warm fuzzy proud feeling.

As happens to us big people the impact of our parents and their words come back in our minds. Research says, “those messages play like endless tapes,” Karyl McBride, PhD stated in Psychology Today.

We can sometimes find ourselves using negative statements or words, purely through our desire to correct our children’s behaviour. These chosen methods, words or statements not only cause psychological and emotional pain to children, but they also do not help in correcting the actual behaviour.

On the other hand, positive language can turn it all around. The way we think and how we act is not random, it is a result of how we were raised. Our upbringing shaped us, exactly as it is shaping our children and their pathway. This is why we play the most vital role in their development, especially in their early years.

Our job as parents is more about teaching than correcting, helping our little ones differentiate between right and wrong, enabling them to make their own decisions while supporting different aspects, such as intellectual, social, and emotional capacities. A few questions around this might be; “which would you like, this or that”, encouraging choices is powerful. “If you choose this what can happen, and if you chose the other one, what could happen?”. “What would you do differently next time?”, supporting the learning process, because this is exactly what it is. “What did you learn from what happened?”.

So it is no surprise people who are brought up by parents who cared (in a healthy environment) make good parents, or at the very least, equipped parents. When we show love, they take this on and be loved. When we show anger, they become fearful and will mirror anger towards siblings and friends. When we shout, they will think this is a normal way of communication. They are little versions of us and we want our children to feel loved and cared for.

 Tips to enable children:

  • Deal with our own ‘past baggage’ or anger issues, work with a coach, psychologist or councillor.
  • Use language we would like our children to use with us.
  • Use positive language, instead of saying “what not to do” suggest “what to do”.
  • Rewarding positive behaviour is very helpful and supportive.
  • Show respect, they are just like us big people!
  • Be responsive and warm with them, they feel the love.
  • Using positive discipline is better than corporal punishment.

As we grow older, our children obviously grow up. The teaching and guiding cycle goes on, so if we give them much-needed attention and care, we will help them grow to be wise, independent adults.

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”
– Frederick Douglass

Debbie Hogg

Debbie Hogg  

Debbie Hogg is one of Australia’s leading coaches PCC/APC, is an award winning Coach, Master NLP Practitioner, Speaker, Women’s Retreat Master, Writer, Podcaster, Adventurous Hiker and is The Self-Worth Coach. Debbie is passionate in helping women manage their ‘Inner & Outer’ balance. She is co-creator of Life Skills Programs, assisting parents teach children confidence and resilience. Debbie knows that when we give ourselves permission to fully show up in our life amazing serendipities occur! She is mum to two amazing teenager daughters // www.debbiehogg.com