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6 Things I Refuse To Say To My Two-Year-Old Daughter

6 Things I Refuse To Say To My Two-Year-Old Daughter

Kids hear everything. Even when they pretend not to listen, they are taking in every word and tone and nuance that comes out of our mouths as parents.

I have a two-year-old daughter, and it becomes more and more obvious to me every day how much she is soaking up the world around her like a sponge. It is truly magical to watch her learn and explore and develop as she becomes more independent in her own little toddler body.

It is also really scary, because I’ve realized that I’m a huge part of that development.

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Everything I say gets repeated back to me right now in a beautiful, two-year-old voice. It may be a phrase I only said in passing, but she holds tight to it and repeats it over and over again for practice. She mimics my tone, my personality, my expressions. She is forming her own personality and views of the world, and, whether I like it or not, my words have a huge impact on who she will become and how she will see herself.

Here are the six things I refuse to say to my two-year-old daughter.

1. You won’t like that

I don’t want to decide for my daughter what she will and won’t like. I can assume she may spit out that bite of raw broccoli or spicy curry she’s asking for, but I want her to make the decision on her own. The same goes for listening to new music or reading a new book. Too often we make decisions for our kids, assuming we know what their preferences are. Unless it’s a safety issue, I will let my daughter explore and try different things so she can develop her own tastes and ownership over her decisions.

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2. Your daddy forgot to…

Maybe it was daddy’s turn to wash her favorite pajamas or pick up her beloved crackers from the store, but nothing good comes from me putting blame on my partner in front of my daughter. If there is something my husband and I disagree on, I’ll tell my daughter, “Daddy and I will talk about that and make a plan.” Our daughter needs to know our home and our family are constant and safe. When I talk to my daughter about mommy and daddy, it is always “we”.

3. That makes mommy look fat

About six months ago I was doing a quick check in the mirror and, without thinking, said, “Mommy has to change clothes really fast, honey. This makes her look fat today.” I wanted to pull every word back in as soon as it left my lips. I will never again say a disparaging word about my body in front of my daughter. Our society promises to inundate her with plenty of visions of what she “should” look like physically. I want her to see a mommy who loves her own body, appreciates women of all shapes and sizes, and works out to be strong rather than skinny.

4. Act like a big girl

Just this morning my daughter was crying and whining at the table, and my husband and I said, “Honey, do big girls cry at the table? Does mommy cry at the table?” Well, I have, actually. Does that mean I’m not a big girl? If I don’t know what big girls do, then I shouldn’t be asking my daughter to be one. Instead, I’ll use words and explanations with her to explain why I want her to change her behavior. “Honey, we are done eating breakfast now. There is no need to cry, because we aren’t having any more food. Let’s go play with our toys, instead.”

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There are days this will work, and days it won’t, but at least she won’t have a confusing image of some other “big” girl she thinks I want her to be.

5. You are growing up too fast

While I may spend my days wishing I could slow down the clock and soak in this time just a little longer, I will not tell my daughter that. She is too young to understand the sentiment attached to this saying. Instead, she will simply think she is doing something wrong and that I want her to change. Time is moving perfectly in her world, and she is progressing exactly as she should.

6. I love you more than anything in the world

I knew my parents loved me, but I never really understood how much until I had my own child. I think this is the way it’s meant to be. My daughter needs to know she is loved, that she is my priority, that I would do anything to protect her, that I believe in her, that I support her, and that I am always here — no matter what. She doesn’t need to think she alone is responsible for my happiness. She doesn’t need to think it is her job to make me happy. Instead of saying the truth of “I love you more than anything in the world”, I tell her “I love you this much!” and spread my arms as wide as they will go. Then, I hug her tightly while she giggles in my ear and asks for “more, mommy!”

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The words and communication styles I use with my daughter will evolve as she changes and matures. I’ll openly discuss body image and eating habits with her when she’s established her confidence and love of her own body. I’ll be open with her if her dad and I disagree, so she can see that a difference of opinion has no bearing on our love for her or our love for each other. I will look forward to the day she holds her own child and finally grasps how much I really love her.

Until then, I’ll keep these phrases tucked away and out of reach of little, hungry ears. I’ll continue to do my best to navigate this crazy world of raising a daughter. And, after she falls asleep at night, I’ll happily whisper to her, “I love you more than anything in the world.”

Featured photo credit: Greg Westfall via imcreator.com

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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