Me, “Tell them who they are.” Tip 8
This tips is about establishing a framework, providing a compass. Telling children who they are gives them the vocabulary and the understanding for personal development.
I started to tell Michael who he was long before he started developing traits, understanding or vocabulary. I introduced key words and key concepts very early.
When he was just three, “You’re so responsible.” Michael may reply, “What does that mean?” “Remember when you put your jacket on the hook? Doing things like that.” “Michael, you are ‘considerate.’” Michael: “’Considerate,’ what’s that?” The conversations continued.
“Michael, you can handle anything.”
I think Moms have a beautiful opportunity to develop a growing mind. We can define and discuss words such as responsibility, integrity and loyalty. We introduced topics such as scholarships, careers and post-secondary education.
Sometimes, I think parents misjudge our window of opportunity. In my case, I felt it was a pin hole. I moved may be faster than I should have, or needed to. That being said, I still urge the sooner the better. The more topics you cover, the more topics you get to cover.
It’s also great to talk about who they are in front of others. When Michael did put his jacket on the hook, I would make sure he heard me tell his Grandmother about that. When he started to develop in positive ways I would reinforce at every opportunity.
It may sound tedious but it has been so effective.
I recognized the power of this tip in the most disempowering way. I was always told I was an “idiot.” I spent most of my life feeling like an idiot. I learned the influence of parental messages through great pain and sadness. The message and impact was palpable.
In much of my parenting, and especially in this regard, I did the opposite of what I was taught. I parented Michael using a reverse approach, combined with professional and friendly supports.
Although I was broken in so many ways, I was able to parent effectively because I was willing to seek support. I learned so much from therapy and mentors. I was able to establish practices that may not have been 100 percent authentic but were 100 percent effective.
Because of this diligence, and with the support of others, I am happy to announce Michael has blossomed into all of the ways most valued by me. He is responsible, reliable and loyal. Michael has integrity, is smart, and does clean up after himself.
Michael has proven, beyond a doubt, he can handle anything!
Michael learned very early what was important to me. Those things became important to him.
Michael has never been told he was an idiot and, to my knowledge, has never felt like one or behaved like one. This is to be one of my proudest accomplishments. Michael’s self worth is clear evidence of a broken cycle. His development and his happiness marks the end of a dark, and generational, family legacy.
It stopped here.