Written by: Jennifer Wert, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Language matters. I find myself repeating this in one way or another to my parent clients over and over again. Language encompasses word choice, tone and intention.
The way we speak to our children is how they in turn will speak to themselves. If we think about it as if we’re actually helping to create their inner voice, we will pause to consider how we say what we say. Yes, this is how important our example is.
*Speak to your kiddos with respect. Because you are older than them, more experienced and maybe know more does not give you the right to talk down to them. Remember that they're learning how to be in the world; the learning curve is constant and steep. Be patient with them and respectful of their process. Most of all, try to remember what it was like to be their age.
*Don’t be afraid to use adult vocabulary. Exposing your kiddos to bigger concepts and words is a wonderful way to open their minds. You don’t need to dumb down what you’re saying or baby talk. Talk to them as if they're a bit older. They’ll ask if they don’t understand (and you value questions in your home). Have stimulating conversations instead of mundane ones.
*How you communicate with your children will imply your belief in them. Be aware of making comparisons and perhaps consider making fewer of them. Be sure to keep your language and suggestions positive, so they know you are not coming from a place of judgment and are on their side. They don’t need to earn your trust when they're little; let them know they were born with it in place.
Remembering how we speak to our children has a great impact on the humans they grow up to be. It takes dedicated practice. It involves mindfulness, apologies and even do-overs when our own agenda or mood gets in the way.
And when their way of speaking to you is not respectful, mature or trusting, you may check-in with them. Reiterating that language matters, tone matters and intention matters. You may even ask them (when they've crossed a line), “Can you try that again?” Giving them another chance is good modeling for when you are the one who needs to do the repair.
Jennifer Wert, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine Professional Parent Coach, Jenn Wert, serves parents of young children around the globe who are looking for support in their conscious parenting. With a Master’s in Education, educator, and doula experience along with post-graduate social-emotional training, Jenn knows how to counsel parents who want to authentically communicate with their children. After decades of her own therapy, while concurrently working with many different family types, she brings honesty to her conversations and discernment to her listening that allows clients to grow. Jenn inspires parenting that is nurturing, true and transformative.