Everyone always says that toddlers repeat pretty much anything they hear. And isn’t it funny how it almost always seems to be the bad stuff, we wish they would never repeat? Like the bad words we say when we’re driving? Or the words we shout in pain after we’ve stubbed a toe?
But what about the way we talk about ourselves? Self talk is our internal chatter. The way we talk to ourselves in our minds. Sometimes this talk comes out verbally. Self talk can be positive or negative, and our little ones are listening and learning from everything we say about ourselves.
One day after I got Dexter dressed, I was telling him how handsome I thought he looked. His reply you may ask? “I look gross.”
My heart immediately sank. He without a doubt learned that from me. There have been numerous occasions where I can’t remember the last time I showered or put makeup on, and I am not feeling my most attractive. I have said those exact words to my husband when I’m feeling down about my appearance. And Dexter heard them, remembered them, and then repeated them about himself. My heart broke a little bit when I realized all of this.
I know I’m biased because I’m his mom, but I think Dexter is one of the most beautiful things I have ever laid my eyes on. Not just because he has gorgeous blonde curls, or sparkling hazel eyes. But he is sweet, caring, funny, and intelligent. I make it a point to tell him every single day the things I love about him because I want him to have better self esteem than me.
But that clearly isn’t enough. I have to work on how I think and talk about myself because he is listening to, observing, and absorbing everything I say. The good, the bad, and the gross.
So as strange as it may feel, I am working on using more positive self talk and language. Not just for my kids, but for myself too. Saying good and positive things about ourselves feels uncomfortable. But why? It doesn’t make us conceited, or full of ourselves. It means we love ourselves. And isn’t that pretty important??
I am a good mom. I like my freckles, the color of my eyes, and my smile. And I like that I am working on making myself a better person. That is more of what I want my toddler to hear and repeat. He’s going to parrot what I say anyway, so I might as well make it good!