Managing Self-Talk As a Parent: Ask Yourself This Question

They say, “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” 

I disagree. Sometimes words can hurt even more than physical pain.

Let’s say for a second someone threw a rock at me. This is not outside of the realm of possibility with a toddler around. Yep, that would hurt. Or more realistically, let’s say my toddler smacks me… maybe on accident [or to be honest] maybe on purpose. Yes, that also hurts, but the pain goes away.

Now words, on the other hand, can hurt for quite a long time. There are words that were said to me many years ago… even some from childhood… that I STILL carry around. Even today it hurts when they come to mind.

And what about the words we say to ourselves?

Let’s go back to the situation where the toddler smacks us or throws a rock. What hurts worse? The rock hitting us? Or the words we might tell ourselves afterwards? 

Clearly I am a bad mom. My child just smacked me. Or, What did I do wrong? What did I do which caused my child’s behavior?

Except, was it really something we did wrong? Or did it happen simply because they are a toddler?

And then there are the times when we feel like we make a mistake. What do we tell ourselves then? 

I can’t do anything right. I am a bad mom. Or, Do I even deserve these kids?

Well one thing I know for sure, is that nothing will make us into a “bad parent” faster than believing we are one.

Thoughts like these make us feel horrible. They make us feel defeated. They make us feel like we can’t do anything right. When we are feeling so down on ourselves, how can we possibly parent well? These “words” I believe are worse than stones.

For a long time, I questioned myself as a parent. I felt constant pressure and guilt and it was coming from my own self. Other people would tell me that I was doing a great job, but I simply didn’t believe it. I am still a work in progress. I still question myself, but I try to remember that being perfect is just an impossible standard.

What’s helped me the most is asking myself this question:

What would you tell your child if they came to you and admitted they made a mistake? 

Would you tell them they are a horrible person? Would you tell them they are a horrible child? Would you tell them that they can’t do anything right? 

No!! I bet you wouldn’t! So why do we tell ourselves these EXACT things? 

In the end, we have to be mindful of our self-talk if we want to be healthy, happy parents. When I find negative thinking creeping in, I remind myself of these questions. I try to stop that negative thinking and use the words I would say to my child, or to a friend who has come to me sharing they have made a mistake. I try to be easier on myself.

So, next time you hear yourself saying, I am a bad mom or I can’t do anything right, STOP! Change the thought into a more positive, realistic thought, like:

I am not a bad mom. I am just having a bad day. 

I made a mistake, and it’s okay. I am only human.

This does not make me a bad mom. Next time, I will just try _____. 

It is impossible to be perfect.

You may even try listing out some of the “mom wins” you have had recently.

And last, never forget: We teach even in how learn from our mistakes.

I think positive self-talk can make the biggest difference when it comes to happiness. Give these ideas a try next time you are feeling down. I’m sure you will see some positive results.

To learn more about me and my blog, check out: About Lauren

You may also enjoy: Why I’m Not Making a True New Year’s Resolution This Year

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