How do kids know that they are wonderful if no one tells them? In a world where even our most esteemed celebrities are trying to be someone else, how is a small child to know? You have to tell them, that's how. Children will live up to whatever label you give them. You can call them bad or you can call them smart. You can call them creative or you can call them a dummy. What ever the child has grown accustomed to hearing is what the child will ultimately strive to be.
The world is tough on our kids, therefore we have to balance it out for them. This does not mean to baby a teen child, but it does mean that you must always put their character first. Build their character instead of helping the world break it down. Think about the words you choose to use before you speak. Is there a more positive way to instruct the child?
Try these: Instead of saying "you did that wrong" try "how could we improve" Instead of saying "you'll never learn" try "it takes time, but eventually you will get it" Instead of saying "that (fill in the blank) is making you dumb" try "maybe you should spend as much time on (fill in the blank) so that you can get a more global picture"
Most of our kids are familiar with negative test rates, drop out scores and the way the world looks at them. Let's make sure that when we respond, it is full of hope and promising options.
Quineka Ragsdale is a writer and author of the DeMarcus Jones and The Solar Calendar book series.