Parents fall into traps all the time.  Unfortunately, it is part of parenting.  This is an easy trap to get out of and possibly one of the most important ones. 

Have you ever caught yourself saying the following in front of your kids?

“He’s my difficult kid.”

“She won’t eat anything.”

“He never listens.”

“I can’t get her to sit still for anything.”

We talk about our kids when they are right there especially when they are very young and not as attentive.  But very young children are at the age when they absorb everything, so it is key to use that time to your advantage and let them hear you tell everyone about their attributes.

For the next couple of days try this instead:

“He brings me so much joy.”

“She is trying new foods all the time.”

“He is a good listener.” (even if he isn’t- they internalize what they hear.)

“She loves to listen to stories!”

As children get older, they often know when we are talking about them.  They will hear either the good or the bad and then make it true.  I have never seen a situation where a parent says, “It’s going to be difficult to get her to pay attention” and then have the child actually pay attention.  The child also assimilates that statement into her being and it becomes part of her.

The parent so easily could have said, “Today we are going to be able to sit longer and try and stay for the whole show!” and when the child sits better than they ever have, there will be a big high five at the end!

How we talk about our children defines our children.