The Words We Use About Our Children: Valence

Such a great piece on how to reframe negative language about our kids. I always learn so much from these posts.

Visible Child

negative positiveI am a strong believer in words. 

Words have power.  Immense power. 

Words reveal.  They reveal our state of mind, the way that we feel about and regard another person.  Sometimes they say what we don’t mean to say (at least out loud.)

And then there’s the level beyond words. That whole children-as-omniscient thing.  The feelings that they can hear, they can feel, they can read, even when we try to cover it up with fancy euphemisms or “the right thing to say.”  If you’re thinking or feeling that your child is “mean”, even if you don’t say it, even if you train yourself to say something else, they will hear that you think they are mean.  And (this is where it gets really tricky, but really important for parents) children become what we expect of them.  They hear “I am mean” and they manifest it.  We’re all pretty clear…

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About armsakimbobook

I'm a mother, a lawyer, a feminist, a writer, a potter, and an inveterate and unapologetic New Yorker. My book, Arms Akimbo: A Journey of Healing, tells of my journey of healing over a number of years, learning to live a full life after I was molested by my father at a very young age. I live in Maynard, MA, with my wife and and our two moose-cats, Samson and Hercules. My daughter used to live with me part-time, but she's all grown up now and in her junior year of college, which I can't quite fathom, since she was born about five minutes ago...
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