I was scrolling around on the internet the other day and came upon this photo. It got me thinking.
So often we chastise our children with unkind words. Maybe a throwaway comment like "you're stupid" or "don't be a moron" seems like it would have limited impact. Seldom is the case.
We have a total ban on the words idiot, stupid, moron and useless in my house. If I hear the word pop out of someone's mouth I immediately ask them to clarify why they have said it, and most often, they can't justify the words at all. Usually it transpires that the person yelling the insult is the one feeling out of control and stupid!
Every time you hurl one of those words at another person (especially a child) it goes deep within their subconscious mind and stays there, like a marker, flagging up feelings of being an idiot/stupid/a moron etc.
Eventually, the subconscious convinces the child that they really ARE those things.
Many of you as adults probably remember being called those things at school, by your siblings or by your parents, and a huge number of people have had issues with their self esteem and self belief as they have grown up! It's hardly surprising really is it, when you think about it?
So the next time you go to chastise a child (or an adult for that matter) instead of immediately yelling "don't be so stupid!", take a breath and remember, those words that you fling into the air with not a thought for the consequences, may very well be still ringing in that childs ears for years to come.
Emma Evans runs Kent Therapy Clinic and also helps coach other therapists in her spare time when she's not seeing clients at her busy practice. This blog is full of useful articles and interesting facts to do with therapy in general. Please feel free to add your comments to the blog.