Power Of Words We Say to Our Children

Updated on June 21, 2020
louiseelcross profile image

I wrote this article for those hurt by words and to raise awareness. I was crippled in life as a result of words. This is my experience.

Sticks And Stones

Some words hurt and I say that from experience. I was hurt, robbed of love, self-esteem and happiness because of words.

At school, us kids would all chant, 'Sticks and stones may hurt your bones but words will never hurt me'. It is not true because words can hurt, we all know that.

Sticks and stones may break my bones' is a response to an insult, implying that you might be able to hurt me by physical force but not by your insults.

As children we do not have an understanding of what we chant or the hurt we can cause. I remember, at school, feeling hurt by being called names like, Rubber lips, Twiggy and Dumbell. I never had the confidence to carry on with education and I really wanted to be a veterinarian.


My Experience Of Negative Names

From birth, I was called Stupid, Idiot, Gormless, Simple, Backward, Bastard and Little Shit by my mother and I could add to the list.

I was born to an abusive mother who was not capable of love. Not once did she ever tell me she loved me or use loving words. Never did she show she was proud of me, or even put her arms around me. The dog was spoken to nicer than my mother spoke to me.

I was never loved or spoken kindly to by my mother. Not being loved and being called derogatory names seriously damaged me. The damage had a devastating negative effect on every aspect of my life. Believing the words of my mother almost destroyed me.

I felt negative about the world and my place in it. I never dared to achieve anything in life because my self-esteem was lower than a slugs belly, all because of words.

Terms Of Endearment.

I was walking through the park recently and I passed a man and little girl. 'Aww! She is cute', I thought to myself. I smiled at the young man as I passed and he gave me a lovely big smile back. I was still smiling when I heard him say, 'Come on little shit, lets go get some dinner.'

Some parents are not even aware of some of the things they say to their kids, especially when they are tired or stressed. I am sure many do not mean to hurt their child when they call them negative names.

This man obviously thought and used 'little shit' as a term of endearment I guess, but it is not. It can be damaging to a young child to be called such a name. Our children deserve to be called loving names so that they will feel loved.


How And Why We Talk To Our Young Child

We talk to our children from the time they are born so that we can teach them about life. We teach them everything they will need to know to survive life. Our parents teach us about life and we either learn it is a loving happy world, or, we learn that life is a battle ground and the struggle is to survive it.

As babies we learn through repetition. We repeat phrase's and words repetitively to our child until eventually they understand. Our A,B,C's are a good example. We repeated our A,B,C,s over and over. We sang little songs about the alphabet and eventually we understood the alphabet off by heart.

We develop our self-esteem in the same way. We teach our children about who they are as individuals, by the repetition of our words and actions. If we are smiled at often, and we are loved and taught with love about life, we will have a successful life. We will have a positive self-esteem. We feel worthy of a happy life. However, a child who is subject to angry faces and words in the early years of life will develop a negative self-esteem and struggle through life.

We teach our children that they are safe, protected and loved by our soothing words. Our children feel this love and know they are loved. We tell them we love them and they feel loved and worthy of love. They go on, hopefully, to have successful lives and bring more success and happiness into their lives.

Some parents use phrases like 'Get out of my sight stupid', 'you are an ugly brat, repetitively and eventually the child will have come to believe it. Some parents struggle with children. Life with a child is not like it is in a glossy magazine all happiness and smiles. Some parents struggle and call a child derogatory names out of frustration and pent up anger, unaware of damage they are causing. The poor child has no choice to listen to and believe what their parents or caregivers tell them.

Words Have Power

Every word we tell a child under the age of 7, they believe. They do not have the capabilities to think things through, they just believe what you tell them.

If we tell a young child that there is a 'Santa', or that there is a 'Toothfairy' they believe.

The child believes everything we tell them and everything we tell this child will become their belief system. That belief system will create their life experiences, good or bad. Our experiences in life will depend on what we believe about ourselves and the world about us. Good or bad life experiences a child has will happen as a result of whether the child had positive input or negative input through childhood.


Negative Belief System

I found out quite late in life about belief systems.and what I found was that I had a negative belief system. I did not like myself because I thought I was not good enough to be liked. I felt worthless, useless, unlovable and I went through life believing I was really ugly because my mum told me I was ugly.

All my relationships were abusive and I was a battered wife and believed I got what I deserved because I was a useless nobody who deserved nothing. I felt unworthy of being truly loved by anyone. I went from one abusive relationship to another because I felt that was all I deserved.

I spent most of my life, mentally damaged as a result of being called derogatory names as a child.

I I kept myself to myself for years because I was afraid of rejection from everyone because I did not feel good about myself. My life was one of misery, pain, guilt, embarrassment and every other negative emotion you can feel, all because I was called negative names as a child.

Fear Of Rejection

I was lonely and afraid for most of my life because of my negative beliefs. I felt anxious everyday of my life. I felt the anxiety physically and mentally and lived most of life in a state of constant stress because I feared rejection.


Loving Words

Tell your children in loving words that you love them. Let them feel your love through your actions. If they hear loving words and feel the love they will mature into happy, loving and successful people.

Please do not repeatedly call your child derogatory names, jokingly or not. Now you know the damage name calling can cause, just think before you use that pet name for your child, or anyone.

Do not wait til you are nearly 60 like i did to wake up to reality reality is what you have created by your beliefs

Remember sticks and stones might hurt bones but negative name calling could destroy someones life.

These babies and children are our future. Teach them they are loved and show them through your words and actions that they are loved. Teach them about love through your kind words and actions.

And Finally

Words have power. As a child we learn about life through words. Words have meaning and they are the seeds of a belief. Choose your words carefully. Choose loving words when you speak to loved ones.

I have been in search of my negative beliefs about myself. I changed my negative beliefs in to positive beliefs and my life changed for the better.

I have learnt to love myself and I tell myself every day that I love myself. I tell myself everyday that I am worthy. I know I am healthy, wealthy and successful because thats what I tell myself everyday.

Find more loving words to call your children. Build up their self-esteem by loving them. Their lives will be an amazing, happy and loving journey if you do.

Leave a comment

If you have found this paper helpful or not helpful, please leave a comment in the b ox below.


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    • louiseelcross profile imageAUTHOR

      Louise Elcross 

      9 months ago from Preston

      Thank you Dora. I had to write it or speak up to the offender speaking to a child in a negative way. I have spoke up in the past but found it really dangerous to criticise people on the street who are speaking to their children in an offensive way and risk being attacked. I have learnt to bite my lip if I can see the child is not physically hurt, but I do not find it easy keeping my mouth shut. Thanks for reading Dora.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      9 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks for sharing your story. It's warning for adults who take their words to children lightly. It's encouragement for those who practice being careful. It is hope for others like you who have been through verbal hell. Best to you going forward with your message.


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