You may have heard it said that females speak approximately 20,000 per day while males use 7,000. Is that a crazy significant variance or what?! That’s essentially a 3:1 ratio where women talk three times more than men…every…single…day. Louann Brizendine, author of The Female Brain, reports that women also have many more “communication events” per day than men.
What are dads supposed to do with this communication difference? I often work with dads of daughters, but whether you have daughters or sons, communication can be difficult to manage. How can you use your few words to be encouragement and light in what can feel like darkness? Here’s how to be the positive voice in your child’s head.
How To Be The Positive Voice In Your Child’s Head
Dr. Brizendine says the above stat includes all that is communicated, beyond mere words. You know exactly what I’m talking about because you experience this with all the women in your life, right? Whether you’re interacting with your wife, girlfriend, daughters, female co-workers, etc., you’re often left completely lost and confused because of the way we as women pick up on everything, whether spoken or unspoken.
Dr. Brizendine continues by citing that women tend to activate nonverbal communication cues through body language, eyebrow-raising, and gestures. And not only do women use more words per day compared to men, but women remember more words than men. This is how our brains are wired. Guys and girls may communicate differently, but words matter greatly to us, don’t they? As a dad, your words matter. They can build up and they can tear down. (Note, dads of daughters should read this post three times!)
In short, your words have great value, whether they are communicated orally or in writing.
In relation to your kids, these factors underscore the importance of speaking positive and couraging words into your kid’s life because they hold on to words. The words you speak as a dad play over and over and over in your kid’s head, both positive and negative.
As a dad, your words can either suck the life out of your kid or your words can breathe life into your kid. It’s your choice.
I’ve often said that a little Dr. Phil (McGraw) goes a long way. Yet this quote bears repeating. I once heard him say something that has stuck with me: “No relationship is neutral: You are either contributing to or contaminating the relationship.
In light of this, allow yourself to consider whether your communication with your child is characterized most by:
- Not speaking (which is neutral a.k.a. not positive) and therefore falls under the contamination category
- Speaking negatively or criticizing (as a pattern or lifestyle)
- Regularly communicating words of life (this includes loving correction as well as affirmation)
If you haven’t fully realized the value and impact of the words you speak, start today by choosing daily to speak words of life. Your child’s soul and spirit need your truth to replay your words as a counterpoint to any negative self-talk or negativity they hear from others each and every day.
Why not stop what you’re doing right now and text your child, email, call, FaceTime, or write a note just to say, “I love you” and how thankful you are that you get to be your kid’s dad. Your words have the power to build up or tear down, to heal, or destroy. Be the positive, life-breathing voice in your child’s head…today.
Portions of this post originally appeared at Dr. Michelle Watson-Canfield’s Blog.