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Do Affirmations Work?

In many cases affirmations don't work - most people don't know how to design and use them effectively! Writing Positive Affirmations We'll look at how to create powerful affirmations, that are a lot more than just positive thinking. My uncle used to call them positive lies, and of course for him they didn't work!

Firstly, a lot of people don't know how to word them correctly. Like our thoughts, most people are framing them in the negative, saying what they want to get rid of. For example: I want to loose 10 pounds.

Writing positive affirmations need to be stated as positively present - right NOW. By that I mean, it must worded as a statement of exactly what you do want, as if you already had it.

Ineffective Affirmations:

Here are some examples that are ineffectively worded

Ineffective:
I'm not going to yell at my kids all the time.

Guess what - you are continuing to tell the story, I yell at my kids.

Better:
I can discipline my kids without yelling

Still focusing on yelling!

More Powerful:

  • I talk to my kids positively.
  • My kids co-operate with my requests.
  • It is easy for me to influence my kids positively.
  • I can discipline my children with love and respect.
  • I love and respect myself.

You'll notice the affirmations moved from being about the kids, to being about me! We think as parents that our job is to change and shape our kids. Of course we have a major impact on our children, but they are also here to teach you.

Angry Mom and Affirmations In the example above Julie often felt out of control with her children. She didn't feel they respected her unless she screamed at them and even that was becoming more and more ineffective. She came to me when she had escalated to hitting her children and said yelling at them doesn't work anymore. She hated that she was loosing control and felt overwhelmed with guilt.

Of course Julie had several issues to focus on, and we used several different techniques, but affirmations were one of the tools that identified the core issue, which was really nothing to do with her kids, other than they highlighted it for her.

Underneath the yelling, was a lack of respect and love for herself. She felt that if she didn't control her children then she was showing she was a bad mother, and of course, what was she getting? Out of control children, who didn't show her respect!

We worked to uncover where the beliefs came from, and Julie used affirmations to help her focus on herself and her behaviour with her children, rather than focusing on trying to change her children.

We also set up some family processess to increase the positive interactions with her children, but the important shift for Julie was treating herself with love and respect, and that is where using them can be an excellent tool to shift the energy. Within weeks she noticed a huge difference in her children's attitude to her - and her husband commented she was much easier to be around!

Ineffective:
I'm going to try not to nag at my kids to pick up their toys.

Firstly, trying implies failure! It suggests that you can't do something. Also, in this example the focus is still on nagging.

Better:
I ask the kids nicely to do what I want.

MMMMM, you may already be doing that before you started nagging! So will it work? It depends what you are trying to do. Often the power behind the process, is not just about positive thinking, it is a process of uncovering what is underneath your initial desire. Are you really wanting to change yourself or are you wanting to change the kids, your spouse, your boss? You may get a change from others when you change your behaviour and responses, but if you are doing the affirmation to make the kids pick up after themselves without you nagging, then it won't work!

More Powerful:

  • I have lots of happy fun interactions with my kids!

Nothing to do with nagging, nothing to do with what you don't want, toys or clothes on the floor - but instead the focus is on creating better energy and bilding relationships. When our emphasis shifts, we are much more likely to get what we want anyway!

Unpacking Belief Systems

Affirmations are more powerful when used as a tool to uncover what is underneath all the stories we tell ourselves.

Writing Positive Affirmations Try this exercise:
Get a notepad or exercise book and divide the page into two columns. On one side, write your affirmation, and then on the other side write your response. Try to write as quickly as possible to allow the unconscious thoughts come to the surface.

You will start to uncover your belief system, and then you can design a power thought around that to unhook it.

I'll give you an example of Rhonda, a client of mine who had difficulty showing affection to her three year old son. She thought she SHOULD be able to, she did love him, but just found it hard to cuddle and demonstrate her love. (We'll look at SHOULDS in another article!)

Among other processess, we worked with the affirmation:

I enjoy cuddling my son. (just a simple statement of what she wanted)

She wrote it down with responses alongside about 20 times, mostly the response was along the lines of, I don't like cuddling him, I wish I did, I'm a terrible mother, other Mom's show their children affection etc.

Eventually she got to a response, I'm scared to show him how much I love him. Along with copious tears it came out that she believed if she let herself love him and show it, he would die or leave her.

At the age of three (same age her son was now!) her beloved grandfather died unexpectedly and her mother was so distracted with her own grief, Rhonda was sent outside a lot to play by herself. She associated loving someone with loss, grief and fear of being alone.

So it was far more powerful for Rhonda to use a series of affirmations to attend to the underlying belief:

  • I am always surrounded with love.
  • It is safe for me show how deeply I love.
  • The more I love the more I am loved.

NB: Rhonda now has a wonderful warm cuddly relationship with her little boy and has since had three more children!

So, to Summarize, Affirmations:

  • Need to be in the now as if you already have what you want
  • Need to framed in positive language, state what you want, not what you don't want.
  • Are most powerful when used to uncover underlying beliefs.
  • Focus on changing you, not other people: the positive spin off is if you change, people around you have to connect differently to you.

For more advanced techniques, read this article: Empowering Positive Affirmations
More Resources
Mind Movies - Vision Boards
You can read about how I use vision board software and Affirmations with kids to create their dreams and goals. They love it!

Affirmations for Kids
Ideas for empowering kids.

Emotional Freedom Technique
Emotional Freedom Technique is a great tool to use with affirmations. Tapping out the old belief, and Tapping in the affirmation makes it far more powerful.

Ask Annie
Want some extra coaching or hae some questions? You can send your questions in to me, and your question and my answer become a page on this website to inspire other parents.

Louise Hay
One of my early inspirational teachers, was Louise Hay, one of the world's experts in the power of affirmation. She has also written a lovely book for children called, I Think, I Am.icon

Search Here
Use Our Search Tool To Quickly Find What You're Looking For.
Affirmations
and EFT
One of the most useful tools for making affirmations work, is Emotional Freedom Technique. EFT or Tapping as it is often called, is a simple Tapping technique on particular energy systems on our body.

We use EFT to clear our unhelpful or old beliefs that don't serve us, and the tap in the power thought we are aiming for.

It's simple, very powerful, and amazingly successful with children.

Find out more about EFT here

Find our more about using EFT for Kids here



Affirming words from moms and dads are like light switches. Speak a word of affirmation at the right moment in a child's life and it's like lighting up a whole roomful of possibilities.

Gary Smalley

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Affirming Children
Annie Recommends:

365 Perfect Things To Say To Your Kids

Maureen Healy's book is just Awesome! She has a wonderful way of mixing eastern teachings into our western lifestyle. Sending kids off each day with an affirmation is a very powerful way to start the day.

You will want to taylor them to the age of your child. Some of them are kinda cute and simple, so a teenager might not be quite so keen on the rhyming ones that younger kids love. But just getting the inspiration to make it a practice to send kids out into the world with a powerful positive focus is brilliant.

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Power Thought Cards For Teens iconare an inspiring gift for a teenager.

These wonderful power thought cards, are great to use in a classroom, or have on the dinner table. You get the teenager to hold the cards in their hands, shuffle them and ask for the best card to come to them.
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