Children learn to speak to themselves based on how their parents speak to them. They are mimickers.
Actually, we are all mimickers in some fashion, but children even more so. They will repeat what they hear. They will believe what you say.
And what is “thinking,”, if not talking to yourself or having an argument with yourself? Every word you speak to them, every inflection, every criticism, every compliment, is carving pathways in their brains that they will follow for the rest of their lives.
Their thoughts will be echoes of your own words. And how they speak to your grandchildren will be echoes of your own words.
So choose your words carefully.
Do not say “You’re so sloppy!” Say “Please clean up your room.”
Do not say “You’re so stupid!” Say “I know you can do better. I believe in you.”
Do not say “You’re so clumsy!” Say “Next time, you need to pay more attention.”
Do not say “Why can’t you be like your older brother?” Instead, praise what the older brother is doing, but don’t compare them. You don’t want one brother feeling like they are always living under the shadow of the other.
Season your words with salt.
Words can bring life or death. They can bring healing or hurt.
And their effects can last for generations.