I've been researching how words affect people, especially children. I picked up The Five Love Languages of Children (Chapman, Campbell) again this morning and felt enlightened by what I read. It inspired me to make a list of "to remembers"-- I'm going to break this up into sections because my list is pretty long.
* Point out the positive, ignore the negative (as much as possible)... The Power of Positive Parenting (Latham): the behavior I pay attention to, good or bad, will increase.
* Encourage....It's my role to help my child become what he/she wants to become, encourage what he or she sees as success and not just what I want him/her to do, otherwise I come off as manipulative and insincere....when the child sees I want what's in his best interest, he will respond better. There are so many inspiring examples of this in history-- I love Winston Churchill encouraging the British to resist Hitler during the Battle of Britain.
* Tone of voice-- I read in The Lost Art of Listening (Nichols) that tone is key when communicating. If I start a conversation with an agitated or frustrated or angry tone, it puts people on the defensive and they're less likely to really hear what I say or open up to me. Kids may be especially sensitive to this.
* Give targeted compliments-- throwing out too many generalized compliments doesn't fool kids (I shouldn't praise them for a great throw in baseball if it was really only just average) and sets them up for a hard scenario later in life when they need constant positive feedback in order to feel good about themselves (I read about this in the Self Esteem Trap- by Young-Eisendrath).
* Words are powerful-- we remember them and play them over in our heads for years-- good and bad. I read somewhere that the little voice we hear in our head as an adult is usually the voice of our mother, for good or ill.
I found this blog called 71 Toes. The author is also a mother of five and a great example of positivity in motherhood. She has some fantastic ideas about building kids up. I love this idea about writing your kids talents on their fingertips.
What is something positive someone has said to you that you have never forgotten?