Raising a child with a developmental disability can be tough. My youngest son is 4 1/2 years old and has ADHD and autism. But even though this parenting journey is often overwhelming, I am conscientious about keeping what I say about my son and his challenging behaviors as positive as possible. This is so important, and here is why.
Your Words Become Your Truth
What you say impacts your mindset. Your mindset affects your actions. Your actions impact your child.
I know this unique parenting role can be difficult. But it will be even more difficult if you spend too much time talking about how hard it is.
It is okay to lean on your support system for encouragement, but be sure that most of the time, your words focus on the positive things about your child.
Remember, in the thick of a meltdown or challenging behavior, your child is having a hard time, not giving you a hard time. Focus on what you can do to help them at that moment, not how their behavior is making you feel.
This small shift in your mindset can make a significant impact on your ability to help your child and, of course, helping them is precisely what you WANT to do.
Your Words Become Everyone Else’s Truth
What you say about about your child impacts what others think about them.
Even though it is important your family and friends have a clear understanding of your child’s unique challenges and needs so they have proper expectations, you can get this message across in a positive way.
If what you say most often about your child references what they can’t do or their daily struggles and challenging behaviors, those who hear that consistent negative talk will more than likely develop that image of your child.
Remember, your family and friends are looking to you in how to form an opinion about your child. Guide them in developing a positive impression of your child rather than a negative.
Talk often about your child’s strengths, what makes them unique and special, and how much joy they bring into your life. This will help your family and friends to see and experience that same joy!
Your Words Become Your Child’s Truth
In his book, Love as a Way of Life, Gary Chapman refers to words as either ‘bullets or seeds’. Think about that.
Your words to and about your child have the ability to impact the potential of their success. You have the choice to choose words that are seeds of growth or bullets of harm.
The other day when my son was working with his behavior therapist she asked him questions about pictures on a card. Each time he’d get an answer incorrect, she’d encourage him to “try again.” Then when he’d get one correct, she’d say, “That’s right! You are so smart,” planting seeds of positivity. Seeds that will grow right along with him!
There is no doubt to me that in my son’s mind he believes he is smart, loved, and adored by everyone around him. And there is no doubt in mine that his positive self-esteem will help him to overcome his struggles.
As parents, we all have bad moments, especially those of us who are raising a child with a developmental disability. But those moments need to be few and far between. By keeping your words and mindset positive and hopeful, you and your family will undoubtedly experience more joy!
Language creates reality. Words have power. Speak always to create joy. – Deepak Chopra