Limiting beliefs- Why you should change the way you talk to your children

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We all have limiting beliefs. I’m not good enough. I’m ugly. Or even, I’m worthless.  I can’t do it.  I’ll never be successful.  Unfortunately, these thoughts often originate in our childhood.

Typically, this is not something that is done by our parents/caregivers on purpose. It is quite easily done, though. Did anyone grow up with parents who constantly argued about money, or said things like, “We don’t have enough for that.” How about parents who talked about how much they hated how they looked and scrutinized every stretch mark?

We don’t do these things to mess up our kids.  We just do them without thinking.  But we need to think about making a habit out of speaking more positively, because little ears are listening.

The power of limiting beliefs

Your adult brain is more powerful than you think. And the developing brain of a child? It is so jam-packed with potential.  It is learning things every second of the day. Do you ever notice how children hear you say something one time and then constantly repeat it and ask about it? That is how easy it is for them to learn something!

Here is more insight into the subconscious mind and how it is affected by limiting beliefs.

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Discovering the limiting belief is half the battle and the hardest part of the work.  Once you’ve acknowledged it you can challenge that belief with questions. (Alison Wilson)

So, how can you identify limiting beliefs? I recommend some free association journaling. It really simple to do and requires minimal supplies.

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Ridding yourself of limiting beliefs

Start out by dedicating 5 minutes a day to journaling. You can always work your way up from there. Pick an ink color that really speaks to you or inspires you. Orange is my favorite color, so I would probably select that.

Next, just write whatever comes to mind as far as your goals and dreams. What do you want in life? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? If you could have any job, what would it be? What would you do if money was no object? If your answers are negative, that is fine! That is the point of the exercise, to pinpoint the limiting beliefs that are holding you back.

Some examples:

  • I am never going to reach my goal.
  • I’m not smart enough to get a promotion.
  • I’m awful with money.
  • I have to change the way I am to chase my dreams.

Once you identify these beliefs you have about yourself, write positive statements instead!

  • I am going to reach my goal in X amount of time.
  • I am smart enough and capable enough to get promoted.
  • Every day. I am learning more every day about finances, and am going to apply it.
  • I am ENOUGH to chase my dreams.

Limiting beliefs in children

The exercise above is something I recommend people practice on a daily basis. Our brain is very elastic, so it can learn. It just takes time and dedication.

After you learn all the ways you are holding yourself back with your thought processes, you can start to think about the way you speak to your children. This isn’t meant to make anyone feel guilty, or like they are a bad parent. As I mentioned at the beginning, most of this is done subconsciously, and we don’t even realize we are doing it.

You need to figure out the ways in which you are limiting your child or children’s beliefs, and ask yourself how you can change it.  Then, make positivity a habit! Practice makes perfect but if you make the commitment every day to speak positively to your children, these messages can and will stick.

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What can you do?

What are some examples of things you can say to your children to empower them?

  • You are awesome!
  • Great job being brave.
  • I am proud of you.
  • Thank you for being kind.
  • You are a rockstar!
  • That was a good try.
  • I love you.
  • I appreciate your patience.
  • You did a good job.
  • Let’s try again.

This is not always an easy change to make.  It has taken me time to train my brain to say these things instead of instinctively reacting in a negative way. I talk about this in one of my past posts. (All about positive affirmations.) It helps not only you but the person you are saying the positive things to!

Start today!

I tell my children awesome things every day.  I tell them they are amazing.  That I’m proud that they tried.  That they’re brave.  That I love them.  That they can do it. That they are strong. I do this so often, that they have started to say these things about themselves! YES.  This stuff works, friends.  They say things like, “Mommy loves me,” “I’m strong,” “This looks hard but I can do it,” etc, on a daily basis. I have rarely been more proud as a parent.

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It is not easy to raise happy kids. It takes years of patience, sacrifice, and dedication. Wisdom, strength and intention. But follow the advice in this post, and you can absolutely do it.

What limiting beliefs hold you back? Can you identify any speech/action patterns that might be bleeding over into the way your children think? What can you do instead? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

BONUS: My kids being “strong.”

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9 thoughts on “Limiting beliefs- Why you should change the way you talk to your children”

  1. Pingback: The Tears of Childhood: How Illness Affects A Child - Diffusing the Tension

  2. I definitely agree with this., In one of the sermons from church the pastor mentioned that every night before he puts his kids to sleep, he reminds them that they are strong and brave individuals. I have tried to start doing this.

  3. Thanks for this post! I try my best to speak positively to my kids, but you’ve made me think about how I may be unintentionally influencing their limiting beliefs.

  4. This is such a great message! I have know a lot of people who grew up feeling like they were worthless because of how they were talked to as children. I believe words are powerful and we must use them for inspiring and building people up…especially children.

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