You are the voice in your child’s head.
How’s that for a thought?
I was in a group and we were discussing the way we talk to ourselves. As people shared it became apparent that the way we speak to ourselves is something we learned how to do. As people were opening up about how they talk to themselves in that most private of times, we noticed the critical tones that most of us used. “Why did you do that? What will people think? That wasn’t good enough. No-one will love you if you are like this.” For many of us, self-talk was a running commentary on what we were not doing well enough combined with some mean scare tactics like, “If I don’t do it right then…”
Someone commented that we talk to ourselves as though we are children and then it unfolded that the way we talk to ourselves seems to mimic how we were talked to as children. So that means that when you are alone with yourself, your default mode is to hear your own parents or caretakers in your head. It seems to be that – unless we specifically make effort to change this – no matter how old you are or long it has been since your heard your parents speak to you in this way, when you talk to yourself, you use their voice and tone to do it.
Whether this is a good thought or a horrible thought for you depends on the role your parents played for you and what part of their message you took into yourself.
I had a beautiful example of this when my child was two years old. He’s a timid guy by nature and was often scared to do physical things like climbing or swinging high. I would encourage him gently saying, “You can do it” in a particular sing-song voice. I only know it was a sing-song voice because one day we were at the play park and I noticed him starting to climb up a ramp. I was near but not close by enough to help. I waited, watching, to see what he would do. As he tried I saw him falter, pause, consider going back down and then he quietly said in a sing-song tone, “You can do it” and continued laboriously climbing till he made it to the top. Then he looked really pleased with himself. I on the other hand was completely struck by his using my voice and words to encourage himself. He had integrated my message into himself. I was now the voice in his head.
Since this brazen demonstration, I have tried to make sure that the messages I give my children will serve them for the rest of their lives. I know what the messages in my head have done to and for me and I feel so blessed to have the magical powers to give my own children good voices and messages.
As parents we can use our magical powers for good or evil.
Of course I very often don’t get it right. I can hear myself in their conversations with each other. When one brother speaks in short sharp accusations to the other brother I see myself too. Then I step into my full Hypocrite Regalia and say in a short sharp accusatory tone, “Don’t speak to your brother that way!”
Ah, you can’t win them all 😀
Consciousness is what we’re after here. Just be aware that you are building a human being and your voice will be the guidance in their head in their most private moments with themselves. What will they hear in their mind when they face a struggle? A disappointment? Need courage?
For that matter, what is the voice in your own head like?
If your voice is not as loving or encouraging as you would like it to be, actively change it now. Its never too late to use your Parent Magic for good. Even adults still listen to their parents’ feedback with extra attention.
It’s never too late to say something loving and encouraging to your child. Try to say at least one thing a day. Build a human who can love him or herself – I mean both your child and yourself.