I’ve caught myself doing this with my own kids, the kids I work with, and even myself.
It’s something that I’ve never WANTED to do, but so, so easy to get caught up in.
It’s using words that may seem harmless at the time, but could have a huge impact in the future.
“She’s so chunky!”
“He’s so small, he definitely won’t be a football player.”
They’re too wild. Too skinny. Too much of a space case.
The words we use to describe our kids and the kids around us can make or break how they feel about themselves.
I’ve found myself time and time again commenting on how small my 2 year old is. About the fact that he doesn’t eat or that he’s in the 4th percentile for his height and weight. I’ve made comments about how much he doesn’t pay attention. How much of an introvert he is.
But I didn’t realize that the more he keeps growing up and hearing these words, these negative aspects as to how I’m describing him, the more he’s going to believe these things about himself. He’s going to grow up thinking and believing he’s too small to play sports. Or that he can’t pay attention because I told him he doesn’t pay attention. So many nit-picky things that are so small right now could have the biggest impact on him, all because of the words I use around him.
My daughter is already starting to get the rolls and big cheeks like I had. And I’ve already made comments about them. Starting to make comments about her body now will only get me in the habit of talking about her body as she gets older. And growing up with body image issues, I know how big words can impact the way you see yourself. I never want my daughter to think she has “too big of thighs” or “not as small as the other girls” all because of the words I put in her head.
We need to be more aware of how we are talking about each and every kid we come in contact with.
We need to be the ones who tell them how beautiful, smart, funny, creative, kind, loving they are. Because they may not think that about themselves.
Words matter. Use your words to impact a kid in a positive way to brighten their day and strengthen their soul.