My ten year old son had been on the receiving end of his mum’s wisdom yesterday; you may not be surprised to hear that he was not impressed as it basically boiled down to him not being able to do something he considered to be of the utmost importance.
It was my turn to do the school run that day and as we sat together in the car I got to hear my son’s version of events. He gave a good account of himself and a very well versed opinion on why he should get to do what he wanted to – clearly hoping I would take his side and have a word with mum. He was wrong – and not happy with my decision.
“Why do you always take mum’s side?” he sighed, the weight of the world all on his small shoulders.
In the past I may have just shrugged and given an off hand response. Not anymore.
I’ve spent the last few years studying how we all individually process information and communicate with each other. I’ve learnt that we form the basis of our values and beliefs by the time we are ten. We gather these from our experiences then and from those people around us – our parents, our siblings, our teachers and at such a young age we don’t have the ability to question and form our own opinions, we therefore have little choice what to believe.
The beliefs we take on at a such a young age can stay with us throughout our lives and in the worst case scenario can be an underlying cause for limiting beliefs that could stop us doing what we really want to do when we are older.
It is vitally important that we pay attention to what we are telling our children. Even when we say things we don’t really mean – a child can take them as a true statement.
It makes me sad when I hear parents admonishing their children, telling them they are stupid or won’t amount to anything. Those comments can stick!! A child will always remember.
So, what did I tell my son? I told him that of course I would side with his mum, we are a team – a team that loves him. A team that – even though it might not seem that way to him – always made decisions with the best of intentions and always with his best interests at heart.
The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice – Peggy O’Mara