In the book the Power of Positive Parenting that I reviewed here Dr. Latham talks about the damage that can be done to children when we put them down, whether in jest, or in seriousness. He gave an experience from his childhood when he sang (something he really enjoyed doing) in front of his family, I think it was his aunt. After he was finished singing his mother said “He tries, you should hear his brother, he is so talented.” (…something to that effect) After that he never sang in public again. He goes on to say how much he loves his mother and he knows that she did not mean to hurt him when she said that.
I find myself needing to be more aware of the kinds of things I am saying around my children, whether I am saying kind things, or things that could be considered a put down. This also applies to what I say to my spouse and what he says to me especially in front of our children.
Dr. Latham suggests hanging a sign in the house that says something to the effect of the home being a NO PUT DOWN ZONE. I figure when my children get a little older and better able to read I will make a little (or big) sign to put on the fridge or in their room. However, right now I think that myself and my husband will be in best need of this daily reminder.
So I made this:
It is in an 8X10 format which I made on picmonkey.com (an awesome free website to start making your own printable’s.) I made it a good size so I can frame it and put it in our kitchen on the counter top. Feel free to copy and print (works best to print at a photo shop) and hang in your own home as a reminder if you like the way mine looks, or try your hand at using picmonkey to make your own.
We could all do well to remember that the things we say to our children and in front of our children could impact their self esteem the rest of their lives.