You are what you believe. You attract what you believe. Change your thoughts to change your life. Look at us all Pinterest quote-worthy right now. Some people believe this to be true, and others believe it’s just a nice little thought designed on a pretty piece of background to make them feel better when they’re down. But it’s actually true; what you believe is what you manifest in your life. The difference between an adventure and an ordeal, after all, is your attitude. It’s not just some pretty cliché, either; it’s the truth. A recent study from BYU (Brigham Young University) further proves this is the truth, as well. The study followed parents and their first and second born children. The study proved that when parents gave their opinions about their kids’ school performance, their kids lived up to their expectations – or down to them in some cases.
Let’s back it up for a second. A few years ago when my mother told my oldest daughter she is shy, I asked her not to say that again. Thinking I was becoming one of those placenta-eating, baby-wearing, organic-food only moms (and I don’t care if that’s you, I’m just saying I’m not a ‘trendy’ mom who follows the latest fads and trends in parenting), she scoffed. That’s when I informed her that a friend of mine who is a child psychologist once mentioned to me that labeling kids is damaging because kids begin to live up to what they hear.
For example, when a child hears you say that she is a girly girl or a smart girl or a sweet girl, she lives up to those expectations because that’s what she thinks she’s supposed to be. When another child hears you say she’s funny or a little bit tomboyish, she will live up to that because she hears you say it. What parents say, kids hear. And how parents treat their kids, that’s how they behave. It’s like a psychological deal that works in the minds of children. They hear what their parents believe and they live up to those expectations. That’s why I didn’t want my mom calling my daughter shy. I don’t want her to be shy forever. I want her to come out of her shell and not feel she has to live up to that label. Just like I would never allow my second daughter to hear me call her the class clown, even though she is the epitome of class clown.
It’s also why I always tell my kids that they are smart and wonderful students. I firmly believe that if you tell your kids that they are smart, they will believe they are smart. You hear something enough, it must be true, right?
What is BYU Saying?
Here’s where we break it down for you; you can actually make your kids better or worse students, and it has absolutely nothing to do with how often they study or the kind of effort they put into their work. According to BYU, parents tend to believe that their firstborn child is smarter and better in school than their second. And the studies show that when kids heard that their parents believed this, firstborns began doing even better in school and second-born children began slacking. More than 380 kids were studied over the course of a year, and the results were staggering.
So, here’s the deal; tell your kids they are smart, intelligent and wonderful students and guess what? They will be smart, great and intelligent students. Your beliefs are paramount to your kids’ self-esteem and their own abilities to view themselves as successful. What this means is that you should make it a point to tell your kids that you believe in them. We have a few tips that might help you to improve your kids without really even trying.
No matter what you do, encourage your kids. Even if you think that they are working on something completely futile, tell them that they are doing a wonderful job and you believe in them. It’s what is going to make the biggest difference in their lives. Your encouragement will go a long way to making them feel successful in life.
Tell them They can do Anything
And mean it; your kids can do anything. If I’d told my parents growing up that I was going to be a writer who worked from home on the internet, they would have laughed (because no one worked from home and the internet was barely even a thing). But they always told me I could be whatever I wanted to be, and I am.
Believe in Them
Even when you feel that they’re a little bit out of their league, tell them that you believe in them. Your belief is going to do wonders for their future. When your kids feel that you believe in them, they can accomplish so much more in life. Of course, there are always those of us who will do whatever it takes to prove ourselves just to spite others when they tell us we can’t do something, but belief is far more effective.
Never Put Down their Dreams
Your kids might say that they want to live on the moon and work as an alien doctor one day, and your job is to tell them that they can follow their dreams. Even if you don’t believe it, they can do whatever they want. And really, that could be an actual job at some point, so don’t give anyone the opportunity to tell you that they told you so.
Don’t Compare your Kids
You’re the smart one, you’re the pretty one, you’re the funny one; true or not, don’t compare your kids. Treat them all equally and the same as far as things like that are concerned and individually where it counts. But don’t compare them. When you label and compare your kids, you do a great job of setting them up for failure in the future.
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