This week I’m sharing an article from Kirk Martin of CelebrateCalm.com. In it he writes the three phrases that you should not use with children, especially strong-willed children. I hope it will be a help to you.
Until next time, God bless,
3 Phrases Make You Sound Weak to Kids
Your kids can argue better than you and wear you down. They sense weakness and vacillation from a mile away.
I encourage you, actually implore you, to stop using these three phrases when talking to your kids-whether they are toddlers or teens.
(1) No more “Sweetie, baby, buddy.” When you are giving directions to your child, even a toddler, do not use the sing-songy Mommy voice that sounds like, “Sweetie, baby, we don’t jump on the sofa now, do we?”
Well, when you ask it that way, your child’s internal response is, “Actually I do!!” Instead, talk to your 4 or 14-year-old like an adult. Use that even, adult tone that communicates this, “I respect you enough to believe you know how to make good choices so I don’t have to beg you.”
(2) Do not refer to yourself as “mommy” or “daddy.” Yes, I am dead serious about that. It’s too soft and sweet. It sounds weak to your strong-willed child. I don’t want you to be an authoritarian screamer. But I do want you to be a confident, authoritative leader because that makes kids feel safe.
When you sound weak, it makes your child feel like the adult in the home isn’t actually in control of himself or herself. I know there’s nothing morally wrong with calling yourself mommy or daddy, but I do know that strong-willed kids hear it as weakness.
(3) Stop adding, “okay?” to your directions. “We need to go to the grocery store now, okay?” It’s like you are asking for their approval or permission. It simply invites a “No!” because most of the time, kids don’t want to do what you want them to do. That’s called human nature!
Your kids will not respect you if you do not respect yourself. They will not follow your directions if it sounds like you are begging…or screaming. So listen as we teach you the exact tone and words that get even the most strong-willed teens and toddlers to listen and do what you say.
My daughter came home from school in a horrible mood last week. She was complaining and negative, which drives me crazy. Normally, I would lecture her about her attitude and remind her to be grateful. But I’d been listening to your bag of CDs that day so I knew what to do!
Instead of getting upset at my daughter for being upset, I controlled myself and used that even, matter-of-fact tone you taught me. “Go put your stuff in your room and meet me at the kitchen table for a piece of pie and we’ll figure it out together.”
It worked! She stopped being so negative and opened up about girls being mean to her. I asked her questions and she figured it out herself. It was a short conversation but it averted a big meltdown and mother-daughter power struggle!!
Fast forward to Monday, when she came home in a bad mood and crying because she’d failed a test. She walked in, put her stuff in her room, walked right up to me and said, “Can we have pie at the table and talk about my day?”
Wow! I now have an assertive child who knows how to problem solve instead of just have meltdowns and complain. So two points for Celebrate Calm! And probably two pounds on my scale…