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How a parent’s words can shape their children’s adult relationships

By Sophie Barcant, BA (Psyc), B.ED

Trainer, Facilitator, Parenting Coach/Consultant

Parents are their children’s first teachers. They have a power with words that is unsurpassable. The words spoken to children by their parents, primary caregivers and teachers get imprinted into their subconscious and can rule that child’s life forever.

Both positive and negative words are equally powerful and will influence your children’s adult relationships. They can be likened to a potter’s hands that form a clay vessel on a potter’s wheel.

We are forming our children with our words, and actions of course. Add to this the unique interpretation each child has about the words spoken to them, and you somewhat get the child’s operating system.

Third wave feminism continues to belittle men, making them out to be inferior and women superior, yet women want a male partner who is strong, supportive and heroic, not fickle and lacking in self-confidence.

Comments belittling men’s masculinity erode male confidence and can cause women to have mental programming that says that men cannot be trusted and are unreliable.

Have you ever heard mothers telling their children “Men are dogs”, “You can’t depend on men”? Have you heard fathers saying, “Watch out eh, women lie and only want your money”, “Doh let no woman control yuh, they will take you down”? or “Be careful with boys – they only want one thing”?

If you have, then do that family and society a big favour and inform that mother that she is setting her son up for feelings of shame and inferiority for being a boy, and inform that father that he may be setting up his daughter to have an unhealthy fear of men and relationships.

These kinds of derogatory comments are VERY destructive to a child’s psyche and are very likely to affect their future relationships. Throughout their life these comments replay over and over in the recesses of their minds and can actually lead the person to end potentially very happy relationships because the warning or doom statement of the parent is replaying in their minds.

Many men are not living out their masculinity as they ought because they have been taught that men are inherently bad or that women cannot be trusted. They end up rejecting their masculinity entirely and abusing or abandoning women and children or simply being weak, passive and incapable of leading a family. Many women end up mistreating and rejecting good men because they have been taught that men cannot be trusted.

Imagine our children hearing instead, their parents speak positively about the opposite sex.

A mother can say “Your father is such a great man. He is so supportive, so honest and faithful.” In the absence of an involved father, a single mother can say “Our parish priest is so wise and devoted to God. We can learn a lot from him” or “Your friend Sally’s father is very loving and family-oriented. That’s the kind of man you should marry.”

A father can say “Your mother is so dedicated to us. She is amazing, working all day and seeing about us the rest of the time.” In the absence of an involved mother, a single father can say: “Your teacher is so kind and patient. Those are the qualities you should look for in a woman.”

Some children are very insightful and can re-programme their subconscious and not allow their lives to be dictated by the condemning words of their parents about the opposite sex, but sadly many are not.

Those who are not, tend to follow the path set in their young years with a poor self-concept and end up in unhealthy adult relationships.

Let’s be mindful of our words. Let’s build up our children not tear them down with the power of our tongue. Society needs this transformation.

Great wisdom about our words is offered to us in Proverbs 15:4 “Gentle words bring life and health; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.”

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