Do you understand what I am talking about?
We give our children “names” or “titles” such as “the sensitive one”, “the stubborn one”, “the laid back one”, or “the happy one”.
Sometimes these are well deserving titles, and do we think about the long term effects on the child. Is casting our child as anything but normal helpful?
It is true that our children have personality characteristics; for instance our oldest child has always been “the crier”. I remember telling the doctor when she was an infant, “she just doesn’t stop! I think she’s broken.” However, would it be right for me to impose that label on her? Should she think of herself as a “crier”, “cry baby”, or “too emotional”.
Conversely our youngest daughter has typically been more relaxed and happy. If we labeled her as such? How would that make our oldest daughter feel about herself? Maybe she would think we don’t love her or care about her as much because she is not as “happy”.
Here are six ways that Faber and Mazlish suggest to free children from playing roles in our families.
- look for opportunities to show the child a new picture of himself.
- Put children in situations where they can see themselves differently.
- Let children overhear you say something positive about them.
- Model the behavior you’d like to see.
- Be a storehouse for your child’s special moments.
- When your child behaves according to the old label, state your feelings and/or your expectations.