“The words with which a child’s heart is poisoned, through malice or through ignorance, remain branded in his memory, and sooner or later they burn his soul”
Carlos Ruiz Zafón The Shadow of the Wind
Parents have the ability to speak life or destruction into our children. We have countless opportunities to provide our children with support or tear them down. Parents need to be honest, but we also need to be sensitive. Kids use our communication with them to gauge how to react, how to feel, and it ultimately fuels their concept of self-worth and self-esteem. A parent that constantly condemns or speaks in a cruel voice creates an inner voice that produces feelings of shame and worthlessness.
While it is difficult at times to maintain composure, understanding that your words will embed themselves into your child is vital. So many of us were raised with phrases like, “Because I said so” or “I don’t have to explain myself”. While there is the need to have your child respect you, it is a fine line to become so domineering that your child no longer wishes to communicate with you.
It is my dream that I build a relationship with my daughter which will allow her to feel comfortable enough to approach me with ‘real’ problems. I want her to pick up the phone and call me, knowing that I will fully support her and help in any way I can instead of having the immediate reaction of “Mom’s gonna kill me – I had better hide this”. I find myself telling her why I was upset, and I have asked her questions in order to get her to open up about her reactions. It also forces her to self-reflect while providing her with understanding.
Healthy communication is always talked about for marriages, work relationships, and other personal relationships; but the communication between parents and children (in my opinion) it is not discussed as much as it should. Build a child up with kind words, provide validation, give clarity, and correct them in a manner in which they will understand, remember, and become better. There isn’t one method to parenting, but all parenting should be grounded in love.