by Lori Korthals, Human Sciences Specialist, Family Life
Self-talk is one of the most important conversations parents can have. Self talk is that inner voice we hear. It talks to us after we’ve made a decision. It talks to us after we’ve acted in a certain way.
Self talk can be positive or negative, and how we respond to that self talk is really important because it sets the tone for how we respond to our children and our entire family. Thankfully, there are strategies we can use to set ourselves up for success and reframe our inner self talk.
Before we get to that, it is important to note that there are no perfect parents. Sometimes we play that comparison game, whether it’s on social media or just when you’re with people. We think, “I’m not doing what they’re doing. Maybe I’m not doing a good job.” We use that comparison to be unkind to ourselves. As parents and human beings, we need to be more kind to ourselves and give ourselves some grace. Self talk is not just what we say, but how we say it and the value we assign to it. How we talk to ourselves has an impact on how we see ourselves and how we behave. There are things we say about ourselves that we would never allow someone else to say about us. We need to remember not to say it about ourselves either
Let’s break down four ways we can talk to ourselves related to positive self talk:
- Consistent Parenting: Parents follow similar principles or practices in their words, actions, and responses to their kids in a way that the kids always know what to expect from the parent. Was I consistent?
- Effective Parenting: Parents’ words and actions actually have the desired influence on their child. Was I effective?
- Active Parenting: Parents are actively participating in their child’s life. Was I active?
- Attentive Parenting: Parents pay attention and observe what is going on in their child’s life. Was I attentive?
We use these questions to think about individual areas of our parenting. And guess what? It’s ok if we don’t say yes to each. We can strive to be better at it the next day. This day is just one day and tomorrow’s a new one. The culmination of all these days put together is what kids are going to look back on. It’s how they’re going to remember their childhood and the ways that we impact them. It’s lifelong. Our parenting journey is a lifelong perspective. It’s never an expectation, in that we’re doing everything every day all the time, always perfect. That doesn’t exist, but positive self talk is a tool we can use to make sure we are being consistent, effective, active, attentive parents.