Recently, we came across a quote: ‘The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice’. This made us think twice about the language we use with our baby daughter (especially because she is at the point of time when she starts to understand and express herself through articulated words), so we began to read more about it. We found out that it is a quote from Peggy O’Mara’s Natural Family Living: The Mothering Magazine Guide to Parenting – a book about attachment parenting which we bought, read and found very useful. Peggy O’Mara was the Editor and Publisher of Mothering Magazine from 1980 to 2011. In 1995 she founded mothering.com and was its editor-in-chief until 2012. Although she is not a RIE author, she has a valid point in what concerns the parents’ language and attitude regarding their children’s actions. She puts an accent on natural, healthy family environment and covers many areas, from a conscientious pregnancy, natural birth and breastfeeding to family matters, health care, sexuality or home schooling. Although we did not embraced all of her ideas and parenting methods, her book was worth reading.
But, more about the language…
We will definitely guide ourselves, as parents, on her quote. Why? Because:
- We don’t want to voluntarily/involuntarily say regrettable words to our child. They will put a mark on her personality and mental development.
- We don’t want to label our daughter (ex. ‘You’re stupid!’, ‘You look ugly!‘, ‘You are a bad girl!‘ etc.), but her actions. If she does something bad, we are not proud of, we should analyze and judge (together) her actions and behaviour, never her personality.
- We don’t want to yell at our baby because it is, in fact, a form of emotional abuse that doesn’t model her behavior, but reduces trust and breeds inhibition (this subject screams for its own article!).
- We don’t want to praise our daughter or her every single achievement, as it is a easy way to make her, constantly, search for somebody else’s approval in every action she takes.
- We don’t want to say NO, but if we do we’ll motivate it (ex. ‘Can I play with this?’,‘No, you can’t, because it is sharp and you could get hurt. Let’s find something else as exciting as that to play with!’)
All in all, the language plays a fundamental role in our child’s development. We should choose our words carefully, with ease (in time). The more we practice a healthy language and attitude with our kids, the easier will be for us to get over difficult situations in a peaceful, encouraging and constructive manner and for them to develop a loving and confident inner voice.