Is your self-talk destroying your child's self-confidence?

August 24, 2020

Is your self-talk destroying your child's self-confidence?

We welcome our guest blogger to the ELC community Claire Jensen.

With over 10 years extensive experience in fashion retail and Visual Merchandising, Claire is now an accredited 1:1 personal stylist, workshop facilitator and Australian Style Institute Trainer.

Claire's message is around empowering and building confidence for her clients. With a focus on creating a positive dialogue around body image and educating our clients about how the clothes we wear can impact the way we see ourselves and how we feel. 

Author: Claire Jensen, Stylist

Have you ever stopped to consider how you brush your teeth in the morning? Do you put toothpaste on your toothbrush and then water or do you water first? Do you count how many times you brush from one side to the other? Are you a back to front or front to back brusher? Do you rinse your toothbrush in the middle of the process?

Brushing your teeth is something we do, everyday, twice a day (at least I hope so given this is what dentists recommend).

But did you ever stop to consider your STRATEGY when it comes to brushing your teeth? Probably not. It is just something you do, unconsciously. Every day.

 

As humans we run unconscious strategies all the time. The way we make a cup of tea, the way we stack a dishwasher, the way we put our undies on in the morning…

And usually, we learn these strategies from the people who nurtured us from a young age. For me, I have my tea weak and black, literally a few dunks of a tea bag and it's ready. This is exactly how my mum has her cup of tea in the morning.

 

Aside from these daily tasks, we also run a strategy for the way we talk about and to ourselves. But have you ever stopped to consider how this is impacting those around you? Or even where you learnt that strategy from?

 

From the ages of zero to seven, children go through an “imprinting phase”. Essentially it is the process of establishing and reinforcing the norms and expectations set for them by the people and environment in which they are raised. If you are a mum reading this (or someone who has small children in their life), have you ever heard a child use a swear word directly after you’ve accidentally let it slip?

Child minds are like tiny, delicate sponges. They are always watching, listening, and learning to everything you say and do.

While you might think your conversation at mothers group about your post baby body, “mum-tum”, cellulite, wrinkles, hair line, body shape might go unnoticed by the small little humans running around at your feet, they take note of more than you think.

I have two sisters. And what I find so interesting now we are adults is, that neither of them will wear a sleeveless top or dress. Ever.

For a long time, I didn’t really understand where this belief came from, but now that I work with people’s confidence regularly, it’s become clear.

They learnt it from our mother.

I remember shopping with my mum and sisters for a family member's wedding when I was 13. I loved to shop and always liked to make suggestions of what I think mum should try on.

I remember for this particular shopping outing, I picked out a dress that I was sure would look incredible on my mum and I desperately wanted her to try it on. It was a bright pink, sleeveless shift dress in a silk like fabric that draped across the front of the body. I remember bringing it to the fitting room, being very excited to see her in it, and her saying so quickly, “I couldn’t possibly wear that Claire, it has no sleeves and my arms are too fat”.

Now, she said that with no intention of passing on a message that women in our family had “fat” arms and could not wear sleeveless garments. But somehow, that was the message my sisters took on board.

Now that I’m older, and as a Stylist who is always intrigued by the rules we place on ourselves when it comes to dressing, I’ve asked mum about why she thinks so little of herself and where that rule around sleeveless tops (among others) came from - and sure enough, her answer was, “my mother.”

Take the time after reading this to try and think of your own style rules or the strategy you run when it comes to talking about your body and appearance. Then reflect on your memories of your own mother or guardian who was your role model as a child.

I am sure there will be moments that come to mind where you have heard them say, exactly the same sentence or a version of, what you tell yourself now.

Think of a time when you may have been self-sabotaging and negative towards yourself in front of others. Were your children around to hear you? Perhaps it was at a cafe with a friend, or in a fitting room, or in front of the bathroom mirror after brushing your teeth in the morning. If so, what kind of message does that send? Are you ready to hear your son or daughter use your own words back to you to describe themselves?

Start to understand your self-talk strategy, and then start to change it. If this sounds like a big undertaking and you need some guidance to get started, read my previous blog for ELC on how to start loving your reflection. For some women, it can be immensely difficult to change this narrative, after all it is a strategy we have learned and is ingrained in us from a very young age.

But at what cost are you willing to keep running this strategy? At the cost of hearing your daughter say she doesn’t want to attend a party because she isn’t pretty enough. Or she is not “skinny” enough to participate in that activity? Her arms are too fat to wear that dress.

Our beliefs and strategies are not something we have to keep the same for our entire lifetime. We can change them. Create new ones. Better ones. More positive ones. The narrative is yours to control.

Your words have so much power. Not only to yourself. But to those delicate, sponge-like minds that you love so dearly. So, choose your words carefully.

To learn more about Claire Jensen and her world of styling follow her at @Clairejensenstyle on Instagram or visit her website www.clairejensenstyle.com

Don't forget to check out Claire's previous blog article for ELC, Accepting Your Body - How to start loving your reflection.




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