Whether you as a parent use negative speech or positive speech, it can dramatically affect the direction of your teen’s life, and your relationship with him or her. It starts at a very young age and carries through to the teen years. Sadly, sometimes parents who use negative words don’t even realize what they are doing until the damage is done.
Be aware of your choice of words when speaking to and with your teens. Some carefully crafted, positive statements can have an enormous impact on their lives, their state of mind, and their well-being.
I learned several years ago how negative speech verses positive speech affected one of my own children, my 14-year-old daughter, Andrea.
Andrea, as you know if you have read my ebook, The Seventh Request, was an answer to prayer. Bringing her into this world was no small accomplishment, and she has been a blessing to everyone in our family.
But even blessings can come with occasional struggles and obstacles.
When Andrea was a toddler, she was a bit more difficult to deal with than my other two kids had been. We always chalked it up to her having to compete with siblings that were a few years older. She quickly learned how to be assertive.
Because of her unusually independent spirit, I would become frustrated with her. I would often exclaim, with gusto, that she was stubborn. The more I called her stubborn and criticized her for it, the more stubborn and hard to deal with she became.
I can’t remember the exact turning point, but God began to show me that I was making a colossal mistake. I became painfully aware that I was the major contributor to her frame of mind through my criticism. My negative words were actually steering her demeanor. Since I called her stubborn, she became more stubborn. It was as if I was telling her how to behave, and she listened.
From that time forward, I decided that I would never again use negative speech or slap any unfavorable or invalidating labels on my kids. Hoping and believing that I still had a chance, I decided to turn things completely around and look at her personality traits in a positive light.
Instead of “stubborn,” I called her “determined.” I developed my own determined resolve to spin my view of her characteristics into something good. I began to assert that having determination and a strong will would serve her well later in her life. It would keep her from giving up easily when things became difficult, and she would emerge successful in whatever she decided to tackle.
Dealing with Andrea in this new way required a tractor-trailer truck load of patience and perseverance. But I kept reminding myself that it was worth it, and what I had been doing previously was NOT working.
Fortunately, my new-found, adjusted attitude toward her had an almost immediate effect on her entire pattern of behavior. She became happier and more cooperative with each passing day, and our whole family benefited from the positive interactions we all began to experience with Andrea.
My decision to view her in a positive light was the first step toward guiding her, and helping her channel her unique talents and traits in a constructive direction. Not to mention, it made her more aware of how much we love her and how much we care about what happens to her.
As parents, we are absolutely in the driver’s seat. We have so much more control over our situations with our kids than we realize. Imagine the power we wield with just the words that come out of our mouths. I implore you to use that power wisely and carefully.
Now that Andrea is nearly 15 years old, I have had some time to test my theories about the importance of parental attitude and to see if they had any merit. I am happy to report that they did!
Andrea is a joy. She is just as determined now as she was when she was a toddler.
- Determined to have her own business.
- Determined to be independent.
- Determined to do things differently from the ordinary stream of life.
- And most of all, determined to be a success at whatever she chooses to do.
I’m a firm believer in the power of positive parenting.
If you found this post helpful, or if you have an experience of your own you would like to share, then please scroll down and leave a comment in the section below. I would love to hear about your positive parenting experiences.
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