“The way that we talk to our children becomes their inner voice” ~ Peggy O’MaraPositive affirmations are associated with many benefits: they can increase children’s creativity, confidence, self-esteem, and self-compassion and have also been found to lead to emotional well-being. However, teaching children to adopt positive affirmations has its fair share of challenges. As one study suggests, teaching your child to use positive affirmations cannot work if those affirmations are unrealistic. In other words, if your son is convinced that he is a poor runner, asking him to utter a positive mantra such as “I am a fast runner” won’t work. When you think about it, this makes sense. Trying positive affirmations with kids is also tricky because children respond better to specific and explanatory affirmations. “I am a fast runner because I practice for 10 minutes every day”. “I am kind because I share my toys” rather than “I am kind”. Problem is, making affirmations conditional means that if your daughter ever refuses to share her toys, then that logically makes her “unkind”. An alternative approach to promote your child’s self-esteem is to foster a positive affirmation environment in your home by focusing on words that build him/her up. The words you speak to your children can become self-fulfilling prophecies. Your children can carry these words with them throughout their lives. Indeed, just as wounds inflicted in childhood can have consequences that last beyond the childhood years, positive words can have a positive impact extending well into adulthood.
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