Hey there and welcome to this episode of Parenting in the First Three Years. I am so delighted to have my guest today, Lenora Edwards. Thank you so much for joining me, Lenora.

Thank you so much for having me again, Ann. It’s always an amazing time to spend and talk with you. You know, we have some really great things to dig through today because Lenora has just finished a TED Talk entitled, How to Stop the Negative.

And we’re going to explore how this affects parents of very young children, because I think that there’s a lot of negative talk that can happen when we do that. There’s a lot. 

So, I was thinking, you know, I go to this a workout called Camp Gladiator a few days a week, and we do this thing called a Farmer’s Carry, where you take your weights in your hands, and you hold them down by your side and you walk to a certain point and come back and then sometimes she’ll have us do like really heavyweights.

Like I’m a 15 pound weight person and sometimes she’ll give us 30 pound weights to carry or 40 pound weights. Or sometimes we have to carry them over our head like that or out to the side, you know, the sides like that. All these different ways of carrying the weight. And I was thinking about how that’s kind of how negative thoughts are.

It’s just like carrying this heavy weight that’s always on you. So let’s talk about that. How can we stop? How can we stop doing that? How can we put the weights down?

That’s a great question, especially because negative self talk is,  there’s different types of talk so negative talk, depending if you’re speaking outwardly but negative self talk is the one that we often hide, and it’s going on in our head on the regular and how do we stop it.

And there’s a variety of techniques and I love this so much because I know where I was with my negative self talk, and I had a wonderful, sunshiny look that people would say, Oh, you’re so bright, and you’re so positive, and inside was a full on war.”I should be doing this. I need to be doing that. I, I, why am I not doing this?”

And when your internal environment is so critical and so harsh, it will not just ruin your day, it weighs down your entire life and every aspect of your life. It’s really something that, to me, is an art form. When I first started to think about personal development and positive thinking, I thought of it as, and I think I go back to Disney on this one, because I was never gonna have another negative thought, and I was gonna be positive.

And I have a much different perspective on that, thankfully. But it really is an art of realizing when you’re in that loop, and how to interrupt that loop, and how to maneuver through it, under it, over it, around it. Really a skill that’s worth investing your time and energy into. Mm hmm.

So how do you stop the loop? What’s the process?

So for example, if you started to get out of bed and you’re starting to get on your day and then all of a sudden you’re getting, I should have done this yesterday, why didn’t I do that? Oh, I can’t believe I did this when you’re noticing it. Something to that is really beautiful to do is to notice it.

And instead of saying, I need to be doing this, I should have been doing this, try to put it out in front of you. And when we can get it out in front of you. You disassociate from it. You’re no longer the problem. We now have a problem when it’s out in front of us, especially another really great thing to do is notice what it is.

Let’s say, you know, I should have been, I should have had this bottle prepared, or I should have had the diaper bag ready to go. Put it out in front of you. Okay. A diaper bag being ready to go would have been helpful. Okay, cool. I know this for next time. I don’t need to beat myself up over this. Having things ready to go for my little one?

Okay, I can do my best to do that. What might that look like?

When we start to play with our language, and as you know, I’m a speech pathologist, so I love language. When we start to play with our language and we change our tone, we really start to allow ourselves to look at stuff and to be curious and to open up.

What might that look like?

Rather than this needs to look like this, or I need to be doing this. When we add the word “might”. It completely changes our perspective. How might I navigate this? What might be another option? It takes a very limited, narrow way of thinking, and it completely opens it to what might be possible.

And also, as you may have noticed, notice the shift in my voice. I should be doing this. I could be doing that. I could be doing this. What might I do instead? Notice the intensity of the voice in your head. When we’re having that really critical, judgmental voice going off, especially, and the way you notice this is you feel bad.

You are really feeling heavy and weighed down and you hear it. Notice the voice. And start to shift that tone to a much kinder voice and it doesn’t have to be rainbows and sunshine, just it doesn’t have to be that harsh. You can find a way to talk to yourself in a much kinder way, much more supportive way.

Yeah. Yeah. And, and we’re, we’re talking to parents, you know, about the voices in their head. But as you say that I’m thinking to myself, A, where did that statement come from and B, how can we prevent ourselves from putting voices into our children’s head, you know, that are negative or accusing or, you know, those, those kinds of things.

What do you say about that?

Absolutely. And this is again, something that becomes an art. How are you talking to yourself and also notice how you talk to other people, especially if they’re. If they’re super little and they’re six months, you’re probably not talking in a very harsh tone to them as they get older.

But also notice how you talk to those around you, including very specifically your significant others, your best friends, your parents, your significant other that you live with. How do you talk to them when you’re frustrated? How do you talk to them when you’re, you might be sad? Your tone carries so much energy and some 70 plus percent of what we say is what they consider nonverbal.

So our energy is coming through our facial expression, our, the intensity of the voice coming out of us, our energy. When you can notice this, It allows you to start reflecting and saying, okay, who do I want to be when I’m angry? Who do I want to show up as? I can absolutely show up and express my boundaries and, and what is important to me in a kind way.

And we want to really start to look at that because when we’re raising little ones, they’re going to model us. Can’t not happen. They are seeing and they are going to experience what you’re experiencing. for listening. But they’re also going to model it. So if you’re noticing that your little one might be, you know, let’s say three, four years old, and you’re noticing that their tantrum is coming out in words that might sound similar to yours, that’s how you’re going to notice it.

And how do you want to start to reframe it is a beautiful thing. And it’s a beautiful gift to be able to share with your significant others, but also with your children. You as I’m sure many parents want their children to grow up to be good humans who are kind and it starts at the beginning and it also starts with with us getting honest with ourself and being kinder to ourselves.

Yeah, you know, I think that if you watch a baby, like they just They just naturally are so positive, right? Most, I mean, there’s cranky babies. I get that, you know, there’s reasons children are not so positive. Sometimes they’re not feeling good or whatever, but for the most part, their, their patience is endless and their ability to stick with the task until they accomplish it is, is higher than ours is.

And I watched a video the other day of this baby that was trying to put a spoonful of food into her mouth. I mean, she probably tried 25 times before she ever got that to go in her mouth. There was no frustration. She just kept trying and kept trying and kept trying. And so So when you know, I just I wonder like how do we how are we taking that away?

What are we doing, you know, and and I do think that this self talk that they hear us saying out loud, you know, I can remember once as I was a teenager and there was a family member. She was an aunt that I didn’t see very often and she they were at our house. She was making something for dinner and she was cutting something and she cut her finger and she she held her finger and she just said, “I am just so stupid. That was so stupid for me to cut my finger like that!”

You know and I just was so surprised to hear her say that and I just thought you know Like that’s an example of If a, if a parent says this in front of their child, then their child is going to think whenever they make a mistake and accidentally cut their finger, when they’re cutting the onions up for dinner, that they are stupid people because they’ve made this mistake.

And so if you, I mean, just a way back that way down to. You know, the two year old who’s doing what they’re doing and the, how they’re going to take your words and apply it to what they’re doing. I just, I think that’s such a powerful thing for us to all remember how important it is. I love the way that you shared that, you know, especially the, the little one who was trying to feed herself.

They’re, they’re just such determination. And that’s a great thing. And yet when we get older, I should be a great parent. It’s my first child, but I should be, I should be, I should be, it’s your first. And if you, if they, if your little one thought that on their first shot that they were supposed to get the spoon into their mouth and all the food in there and not drop anything.

Oh, my goodness. Oh, boy, that’s a high standard to set for them when we can allow ourselves some grace to really say, Oh, I’m human. Thank goodness. I get to try again. Yeah, that really is a pivotal thing. And especially with your. Your aunt. I think it was at your aunt or a family member when they cut their, they cut their hand that self talk.

Not only was not only did you hear that, that you also heard was something that was very frequent because now she’s responding subconsciously and so subconsciously that in her head. That was the first thing that tumbled out. And, you know, it, it is very unfortunate that these are things that we’re just, we, we pick up, we learn, we carry forward.

The nice thing is that now we’re in 2024, we have the ability to think differently and we can take that and say, okay, we now know more. We’ve learned more. We can continue to evolve and allowing ourselves that ouch boy. That might not have been the best thing that happened to my finger. And, you know, I’m going to learn to slow down.

I can learn to slow down. Yeah, absolutely. And I often, you know, encourage parents to allow themselves to make mistakes, but to also allow themselves to notice. And to share with their child, Oh, I made a mistake. What might we have done differently next time? And even as we’re, we’re talking, I know a lot of the parents that listen are from 0 to 3.

Or are parents of little ones 0 to 3. But you can do this as you’re, as you’re talking with them because we’re modeling our speech, and we’re, we’re, we’re You know, having all these made up conversations with them. When you do something, oh, I made a mistake, or oh, wow, I don’t know how to solve this. What might we do?

And talking about your three solutions, talking about three ways to navigate around something, even if it was, you know, something you made up and, you know, you have your little one and, and they’re, they’re roaming around your, your bedroom as you’re getting dressed and you go, ouch, I can’t get my arm through my sleeve.

How do I do this? Seeing if they’ll come over to you and help you and build that into the routine. What you’re showing them is you’re not perfect. Okay. And how else can we learn things? How can we be flexible in our thinking? How can we really be creative? And all of this is ultimately not only a remodeling language.

We’re also encouraging that thought process of to think differently. We’re also nurturing them. We’re connecting with them. Okay. On a very routine sequence that this is how we get dressed and this is also how we have conversations while we’re doing our normal routines. So many good things that can come to it.

And also bonus, you’re now getting into the habit of talking kinder to yourself. You’re getting in the habit of coming up with three solutions to a problem and this all keeps circulating through. It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing. Yeah, that is, that is really great. And you know, that’s I’m thinking as you’re talking that, you know, that’s what we, this is what we teach early childhood people to do with young children is to narrate what you’re doing as you’re doing it, model language, let them know your thoughts.

And not only are you doing those things, but you’re also connecting and you’re staying attuned and you’re, you’re doing this, you know, this serving return with kids where you’re talking and they’re talking back and all of those good things. So combining the good Developmentally appropriate practices with developing your own self talk in a way that makes it more positive is, those are two good connectors, aren’t they?

They are beautiful connectors. Absolutely. Yeah. So let’s, as we just kind of wrap up this conversation, let’s talk about what are some immediate things, like if somebody is listening, think that’s a, that’s a great idea. This, you know, sounds all lofty and everything. What can I do now when I turn off this podcast?

What could I do with it? What something to do is definitely allow yourself grace, buy yourself permission to show up and say, I might not be perfect, but I’m going to do the best that I can. I’m going to do the best that I can with the tools and the time and the knowledge available to me. I’ll do my best and I will show up as much as I can for myself.

For my significant other and for my family and being able to do that, recognizing that you yourself come first. And sometimes we can kind of steer a little bit away from that because we think, Oh, we’re selfish. We need to be able to really know how to nurture ourselves first so that we have the capacity to nurture other people and to really offer as much as we want to them.

You know, especially there’s that saying you can’t pour from an empty cup, you can’t pour from an empty glass. Absolutely. A thousand percent true. And we want to show up and support other people. And we need to do that for ourselves first, because once we know how we can do it for ourselves, we can absolutely offer that to other people.

Right. And the other thing I would say would be to add the word might to your vocabulary and add the word yet to your vocabulary, rather than thinking, I can’t do that. Right. Perhaps I might not know how to do that yet, right? How else are, I should have done this. How might I been able to navigate this differently?

Shift your tone would be the third thing, three quick things that you can absolutely apply immediately. Yeah. Yeah. Shift your tone. Use the word might, and yet, might, and yet, and then really think, feel yourself first so that you can give to others. Those are great advice for any person who is out there.

Walking around the world, but especially if you’re doing that with a babe in your arms and, and so that’s really beautiful. Thank you so much. So how can people find you? How can they come and find your Ted TedX talk? Let’s talk about that first. And then how might they can. My TEDx talk is out on YouTube and it’s called how to stop negative self talk and it’s by Lenora Edwards.

And you’re more than welcome to reach out to me on all that social media stuff. But the best way to reach me is at my website, dtbhorizons. com and it stands for determined to be horizons. com. Okay. Perfect. We’ll have all those links in the show notes. And I can’t wait for you to hear this because she’s got some great, great things in that TEDx talk.

And, and thank you so much for, for sharing. Appreciate you. Thank you so much.