Choosing to Affirm: A Decision to Try to Build Up my Kids
If you've been following my journey with Our Family Fiat, you know that affirmation is really important to me. I really believe that your words can heal and uplift or they can bruise and destroy.
I've had my fair share of both growing up. I can still remember words that cut me to the core. I can also remember feeling uplifted to soaring heights when someone took the time to use their words to edify. I also know how I was often the worst culprit of tearing myself down.
It was a weird mix honestly. I was always someone who was very comfortable and confident in myself. It's something that made me an easy target for those who were less than comfortable with themselves in middle school and high school. But I always had a case of ever-lingering doubt.
You know, things like:
Who really cares?
You're really weird & you think it's in a good way, but it's not
Are those people really your friends? Or do they just act like it?
You're not smart enough to do that.
If you try at that, people will make fun of you.
Who wants to listen to what you have to say?
What have you done that has mattered?
I could go on and on. And of course at various times I dealt with the whole "I'm too fat." "I'm too skinny" "I'm just not beautiful" crap.
Now with my daughters, I look at these beautiful, intelligent, kind, innocent little people and I desire so desperately for them to know their worth in the most genuine way. I want them to know that they deserve respect. I want them to grow up not only confident in the fact that I love them, but confident that it's okay to love themselves.
I know I have a lot to learn when it comes to cultivating this sense of self-worth. But I try to do it already, not only for my kids but for the kids around me.
Here are some of my go-to affirmations:
1. Pointing out their beauty. I wrote this first because it comes the most naturally to me. My children are freaking beautiful. I literally am in awe of their beauty. So I tell them this, often.
2. Telling them they are great helpers. Okay, C & A can't help yet, but I tell this to a lot of toddlers I know. When I see them go out of their way to do something kind or thoughtful or to help me when my hands are full. "You are such a great helper." "That was really kind of you. You are a very kind person. Thank you." Stuff like that. And as I see this behavior shine forth in my own girls I'd love to affirm them the same.
3. Thanking them for listening. When they listen and respond well, I try to notice. I know my daughters again don't really have the whole listen and respond thing down yet. But I've heard enough of my friends affirm their children for god listening that it is instilled within me.
4. Affirmations for what they've done. Every new stage brings a new ability. My girls get the biggest smile on their faces whenever I tell them :good job" or "you did it! Yay!!!" They don't quite know what I'm saying but I think they know I take joy in them and that has to count for something.
5. Telling them they are smart. This goes along with encouraging them to do something on their own. My girls don't quite get the full impact of my affirmations as they are too young, but from the second they can really understand, they will hear them because even now when they get frustrated to reach for the toy, I always encourage them to do it. I let them do it themselves and always affirm them for trying and accomplishing.
How do you cultivate this within your own child? What habits did you start young in affirmation?