What you say, and how you say it
Your words, (and how you say them), are being absorbed by your kids all the time. Neuroscientist, Louis Cozolino, tells us that the amygdala (that part of our brain that is activated in fear situations) pays special attention to anger signals, while positive, warm encouragement increases serotonin (a feel-good hormone). This means that simply through words (and how we say them), we literally have the power to change everything! Words can build your child up, or break him down. It takes much more effort to undo the negative effects of our words, than it does to start speaking positively. So why not give positivity a go.
- young children take words literally – their logic and reasoning isn’t well developed yet
- kids take things personally and misinterpret – often making wrong assumptions
- they believe what we tell them – adults are powerful, be careful of sarcasm
- they remember negative comments easily – in comparison to praise
- children become what you tell them – be encouraging and speak “as if” they’re already co-operating (e.g. “nice listening”)
- “yes” motivates – “no” makes kids defensive (e.g. “Yes, you can have that after supper”)
Speaking consciously is an ongoing learning in self-awareness. Yet words can change lives, so be patient with yourself and watch how your new way of talking easily wins their co-operation and starts to change how they view themselves.