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Using Affirmations and Declarations to Empower Our Kids
As parents and caregivers, we are always looking for ways to empower our children. As a parent and an NLP Trainer, I am always teaching the importance of our language. There is now a growing movement toward watching our words. What is less talked about is how important this is in our children. From a very young age children begin to form beliefs about themselves, and as a result, they play internal dialogues in their minds about who they are, their capabilities, and where they do and do not belong. Children of marginalized identities are especially at risk for these disempowering internal thoughts if we do not take notice early and interrupt those patterns. One thing we can begin to do is to empower our children with affirmation and declaration.
Affirmations and Declarations are positive statements in the present tense that affirm a particular outcome or desire. For example, "I am loved" or "I am creative" and even "I am joy, fun, and loving. Teaching our children affirmations and declarations daily as a part of their normal language helps them to embody new empowering internal dialogues which also impacts how they move in their day.
For example, if a child has the internal tape "nobody wants to listen to me" they may be less likely to raise their hand in class, share a question that maybe other classmates have as well, give a correct answer that boosts their confidence, or speak up to help a friend in need. Conversely, if they have the internal tape "I am worthy and my voice is important" they are more likely to speak up, connect with friends more, and feel confident to step into leadership in their classroom.
As parents, we can help by starting these affirmations with them as soon as they can speak (and for those who have older children, it's never too late).
So here are some guidelines for teaching and doing Affirmations with your child:
1. Teach them to begin the statement in the present with "I am", "I have", "I love", and "I know". Your affirmations should always have YOU as the source of them, rather than someone else.
2. Teach them to say their affirmation in the positive: It is more powerful to create "I am confident and intelligent" than to say "I'm not getting bad grades anymore". Your brain doesn't recognize negatives like "don't" even though we say them, so if you say "I'm not getting bad grades anymore", your brain only recognizes and visualized "I am getting bad grades". So be sure to teach them to say their affirmations in the positive. Run towards what you want, instead of away from what you don't want.
3. Keep your affirmations simple: Create them in a way that you will remember them so that you can say them to yourself at any moment and all day if you like. If you need to memorize a paragraph, it is probably too long.
4. Teach them to get excited when saying their affirmation: When you embody the feeling that you are when you say the affirmation, your brain will begin to create the circumstance that replicates that positive feeling. An example: "I have great friends, and they feel confident and supported at school"
5. Teach them not to worry too much about the "how" of the affirmations, just say it and visualize it. Trust as you speak it and embody it that you will be led to the right actions to make that desire a reality.
A powerful component to add to your affirmations is visualization. Visualization helps your brain see it as it ACTUALLY is so that it can begin to alter your way of being, and your actions in the current circumstances to alter and create the new circumstance to match what it's seeing in the visualizations. When you are teaching your child affirmations you can have them close their eyes and say to them "See it, can you see it? Can you hear it? Can you feel it?" This helps to give the brain a boost and helps them begin to embody that affirmation right away.
While affirmations are one way to empower our children, it's important to remind them that whatever they are feeling is valid and they can feel safe to express those feelings in a healthy way with us as parents and in other safe spaces. However, teaching our children that their brain is the most powerful asset they have is one of the best ways we can set them up for success in the future. By teaching them that they can control their state by teaching them affirmations early on, we give them tools that build resilience as they go out into an uncertain world.
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