Power of the Positive

29 Jul

I have been amazed at the number of hits “Who Loves You Baby” has received in the past few weeks. It’s such a simple thought but as many of you have written to me, it’s an important one. On those crazy days when the world is spinning and the kids are getting into everything other than what they should be, it’s easy to get lost in comments like, “what were you thinking?” “you’re not wearing that to school,” “NO,” “how many times have I said to stop doing that?” and the list goes on. To a kid, those comments add up to “I’m stupid,” “I’m ugly,” “I’m worthless,” “I’m an idiot,” “I’m in the way” and “I’m an annoyance.”

I’ve seen Jerry Seinfeld perform multiple times and during one of his routines, he spoke about the fact that when he got married, he learned that apparently he has a “tone.” According to his wife, this “tone,” which he was unaware he even had, was not allowed in their house. Our words and the way we express them can have such a huge impact on our kids. I’ve been a dad now for ten years. And I’m continually having to catch myself and the way I approach my kids. I think the statement that hit home the most was when someone shared with me that when their father reprimanded them by yelling it was so condescending it cut them to the core. Sometimes it wasn’t what they said but how they said it. A dad’s tone, like it or not, can be incredibly harsh even when we don’t intend it to be.

In the back of their minds, kids are already wondering if the divorce is in some way their fault. “Was I not good enough?” “Did mom and dad get tired of being with me all the time?” As a single parent so much is suddenly thrust upon you that some days it’s all you can do to survive. And yes, the kids get the blunt of our frustrations. All the more reason to stop yourself and give them little reminders of how amazing they are and how much you love them.

I’m told by women especially, that a father can be incredibly important in the establishment of their senses of self worth. A little girl’s perception of how their father views them can have a lasting impression. And typically
men tend to be somewhat “sharp” in their approach. I’ve said before that it dawned on me one day that I should treat my daughters the way I want their partners to treat them years from now. I have an opportunity to establish early on how they should expect to be treated and talked to and they deserve to be treated with respect, admiration and love no matter what the conversation is about. That’s not to say little boys don’t need to hear it as well. But I’ve been taken aback by the number of women who have expressed to me the affect their father’s approach and “tone” had on them later in life.

It’s so important that we counter all of those negatives and corrections with comments that remind our kids how much we absolutely adore them. Here are some easy ones for you to keep in your back pocket: “You’re beautiful.” “You’re so smart.” “Good thinking!” “You’re awesome!” “Great job!” “I’m so lucky to be your dad!” “I
love that outfit.” “You look fantastic!” “I am so happy you’re here.” “You’re so much fun to be with.”

Go ahead and make yourself a list of positive things you can routinely say to your kids and then do me a favor; as you’re saying one of these positive statements to them, take note of their reaction. I guarantee you you’ll see a small smile, or moment of pause as they take it in. I promise you they hear it and they NEED to hear it often. Not only does it build their self esteem and help them fight off the negatives of the world outside, but it helps build a better relationship between the two of you as well. Tell me if after a few weeks of this you don’t see a change in their demeanor and how they react to you. Tell me whether you see them listening better and making an effort to help out around the house more when they see you overwhelmed with life. Tell me if you don’t notice more hugs and kisses for no reason other than to let you know they love you.
And while you’re at it, take a moment to remind yourself how great YOU’RE doing. It’s easy to get down on yourself as you see things falling through the cracks and you don’t see your life they way you envisioned it. Recognize that you’re still a work in progress. But also try to recognize all of the things you’ve accomplished and all of the hurdles you’ve managed to overcome. Give yourself victories. When you do you’ll find it much easier to pass those positives on to your kids.

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2 responses to “Power of the Positive

  1. Looking at divorce

    October 19, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    This is so so so true. When my parents got a divorce, it was ugly and both of them were calling me for support. I was in college at the time – 20 years old – right about the time that the world feels like it’s falling apart anyway. To have your parents calling you for emotional support is really trying. I was the one that needed support – how am I suppose to support the very people who raised me? I can say, without a doubt, that all I wanted was to see my parents act like grown ups. I wanted civility, compassion, understanding, and to believe that it wasn’t the end of the world.

    Please, parents who are looking to divorce, just take a little time to remember that your kids will need extra love from you and they need you to act like a responsible adult, not a vengeful and selfish brat.

  2. Jim438

    August 7, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    Let’s hope that people start realizing these days that it’s not easy to make money anymore. And doing this to the child because “the man cant make ENOUGH” income is wrong. The question is “how much is enough?” When we can barely afford our own rent and we do everything we can to contribute, it’s certainly not enough. And it is very sad that there are good, loving, caring dad’s that cant see this website right now because they were thrown in jail due to work troubles in a collapsed economic system.

    Not all of us a billion dollar basketball players. Society full of kids without fathers because it’s just never good enough for the woman. They need to open thier eyes past the television and propaganda and realize life is far different now than it was before 2008. If we are able to contribute enough each month to be able to Feed our kids, and continue to scramble and find more ways to make more money to the best of our ability in a system that does not allow us to, we are not bad dads.

    It’s about our kids. They are the ones that matter.


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