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Parenting with Language: How Positive Self-Talk Builds Resilience

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Positive Self-Talk Builds Resilience!

If you’d like your children to have strong backbones, you must listen to the quote from our parenting expert, Dr. Donna Volpitta, author of the book, The Resilience Formula. Dr. Donna writes about the relationship between language and thought. She knows the importance of connecting these two elements when talking to kids. I will expand on her great idea with examples.

How We Think

“Our thoughts are based on language. As we think, we are, in effect, talking to ourselves.” Dr. Volpitta

3 Examples Where Parents Can Promote Positive Self-Talk

When children do something well, we can give them the kind of praise that will encourage repeat behavior and a positive mindset.

1. Your child thanks Aunt Suzy for her birthday gift.

2. Your child studied well and earned a good grade.

3. Your child helped a younger boy who fell and scraped his knee.

Compliments that Teach Resilience with Language

When we give praise that’s positive, specific, and true (PST) we encourage constructive thinking in the minds of our children. Keep on the alert for samples of your child’s great behavior every day and use PST to let them know. Here’s some PST in action.

1. When you thanked Aunt Suzy, did you notice her big smile? Everyone likes to be thanked. I’m pleased you are realizing how important it is to show gratitude.

Possible language within your child’s mind: ‘Thanking others is easy. I like making people happy too.’

2. You took the time to study and you earned a good grade. I’m glad you’re willing to study, learn, and be rewarded.

Possible language within your child’s mind: ‘It feels great to get good grades. If I study first and play afterward, I can get good grades and have fun later.’

3. I saw what you did when Sammy fell off his bike. You took care of his bike, gave him attention for his bloody knee, and helped him clean it. Sammy will look up to you for taking care of him. Helping Sammy was a kind thing to do.

Possible language within your child’s mind: ‘Helping him made Sammy feel better. I like feeling good when I do nice things for others.’


I believe Dr. Donna is right when she tells us we can help kids develop positive thought processes with our  language. I also endorse the ideas you’ll find in her book for guiding your kids’ self-talk when they face problems. You’ll find more of her excellent advice on helping kids with effective verbal communication on pages 47-50.

Pick up The Resilience Formula: Proactive Not Reactive Parenting

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Let's APPLAUD Dr. Donna Volpitta for sharing her connection between thought and language. How we talk to our kids greatly influences how they talk to themselves. Thanks Dr. Donna.

Dr. Donna Volpitta

Dr. Donna Volpitta


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With warm wishes,

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