The way that we talk to our kids becomes their inner voice. This is true for all kids. They don’t have to be your kids per say. They could be your younger sibling, your cousin or a kid that you’re babysitting. And that voice stays with them into their adult life. It essentially defines who they are going to be. Or how they are going to hold themselves.
I know this is true. I live it. Every single day. And it is a struggle to get that voice out of my head. Especially in regards to my appearance…more so my weight.
You see, I grew up poor. We didn’t have a lot of food a lot of the time. Now its called food insecurity. So my favorite snack ould be a slice of bread because bread can be cheap and we usually had a loaf lying around the kitchen. However, anytime that my oldest brother saw me eating a slice of bread….he would say ‘you’re going to get fat’. Every Single Time.
That voice became my life. I am fat. But that isn’t from lack of trying to lose weight. I got to the gym. I eat semi healthy. I am active. As much as I can be since that one car accident has left lasting effects on my body. However, instead of looking at my curves thinking ‘hey I am thick’ or ‘Hey I have a nice shape’ I look in the mirror and think I am fat.
This stems from my father always calling my oldest brother an idiot That became his inner voice. So he learning that lashing out like this was okay from his father, he decided that (even without meaning to) it would be okay to pass this behavior down to his younger siblings. Now my other brother never got along with our brother, so he never endured this ‘voice’. However, I am the mediator between the two of them so I have a relationship with both. And because I love both of my brothers….. I have this voice inside my head that says I am fat. Even after the birth of my first daughter, I dropped downto a size 7….the smallest I have ever been in my adult life. I still looked into the mirror and thought that I was fat.
I have two daughters of my own as well as two nephews who I see Monday thru Friday like clockwork. I don’t want my insecurities….my inner voice to become theirs. That is why I try so hard to pass on positive things to them. Positive messages. My oldest nephew loves to draw. Every single time he shows me a drawing, even if it isn’t perfect, I tell him that it is awesome. That he is doing a good job. That he should keep it up. I cannot draw. I have told him that on numerous occasions. However, the fact that he can look at a movie character and then draw it out, even if it is not perfect, it pretty impressive to me and I feel that it is only right that he hear positive feedback. I understand that yes, criticism is an effective way to get better. However, we don’t need to be negatively criticising others. For instance, I could say ‘hey bud, his arm is looking a little weird, have you tried drawing it this way’. A comment that wouldn’t harmfully affect his mental state. However, saying things like ‘you can’t draw’ or ‘you should give that up already’ can have a negative effect.
I know this all too well too because I hear that voice all the time. I am a nit picker. A perfectionist. And when I cannot get something perfect, I think I am no good at anything. It is a spiriling cirlce. I know that there are so many people on Facebook and Twitter who are saying that we are rasing a bunch of sissy’s because we’re not telling them like it is. Instead we’re ‘handling them like glass’. Yes, I agree. To a certain extent. This upcoming generation is taking everything way too seriously. They are getting offended by almost everything. Like I read that they’re trying to get Baby Its cold outside taken off the radio station because it goes against the Me Too movement. However, If you pay attention to the lyrics and the time period that it was written, you will see that he’s not trying to take advantage of her. Instead, shes trying to stay. She wants to stay but the social norm of the time period says that she cannot. Because they are not married. So she’s basically saying hey I cannot drink and drive I would like to stay with you.
I’m sorry, I went off on a tangent. It is a difficult task not to say what you think. Especially if you think it is what your kid needs to hear. The early stages up until their teenage years are very critical. The way we talk and treat them are going to be reflected in their own minds. They will then reflect this behaviour out onto the world.