The Power of Positive Auto-suggestion

ParentTalk

 

I am not an expert in parenting but I am a firm believer in the written word of God and its practicality for our day. The Scriptures are replete with references emphasizing the need to speak positively and fill our minds with ‘can do’ thoughts. In my opinion, there are few aspects of modern living where this is more apt than the area of parenting.

I was reading the book Success Through A Positive Mental Attitude, authored by Napoleon Hill and W. Clement Stone. They said in their book that there were several hundred thousands of teenagers who “enter penal institutions for car thefts and other crimes. These personal tragedies could in many instances be avoided if the parents learned how to employ suggestion properly and if their sons and daughters were taught how to effectively use ….  self-suggestion.”

The theme that they were trying to develop is the principle of Auto-suggestion or Self-suggestion, which they defined as “the agency of control through which an individual may voluntarily feed his subconscious mind on thoughts of a creative nature, or by neglect, permit thoughts of a destructive nature to find their way into the rich garden of his mind.”

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Simply put, when you repeat a statement to yourself or to another often enough, you or that other person come to believe it and all the mental and thought processes are geared toward proving that statement true. Hence when you tell your child that you trust he is a good child and repeat it often enough, he starts to believe it and soon enough when this belief becomes strongly entrenched in his heart, his thoughts and actions would be directed toward the good.

 

Conversely, repeat to your child that he is bad, recalcitrant, incorrigible and that nothing good can come out of him and soon enough, he begins to act out your script.

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What is my point? The world is already full of negative influences. Our children were born into them, are faced with these negative stimuli everyday – at school with their peers, at home with the visual media and internet, on the road with suggestive and sometimes lewd publicity. The least that we owe them is to temper all of these undesirable influences by our positive, encouraging expressions towards them. In time, they catch the drift.

Positive autosuggestion has nothing to do with lying to your child or patting him on the back when he has obviously committed a wrong. It is all about saying, suggesting, promoting, whether subtly or overtly, ideas that will steer his thought processes and motivate him to desirable action.

The book continues that through the use of suggestion, young people can be motivated to develop inviolable moral standards through their own conscious auto-suggestion and they will know how to neutralize or repel the undesirable suggestions of their associates in an intelligent manner.” I guess this explains why some youngsters successfully withstand peer pressure while others do not.

To return to my first point of reference however, I’m amazed sometimes at how fitting the bible’s counsel can be in our everyday lives, in things that we take for granted. Consider for example, the book of Colossians 3:21, where it urges fathers to avoid exasperating their children, “that they do not become downhearted.” Indeed, when talking to our children or any younger one for that matter, thoughtfulness will help us to avoid “exasperating” them or “provoking them to wrath,” as Ephesians 6:4 complements it.

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Even if children must be disciplined, parents and elders should speak to them respectfully. In this way, older ones make it easier for the youth to correct their course. That is so much better than conveying the impression that we have given up on them, whereupon they may give up on themselves. Younger ones might not remember all the counsel that they received, but they will remember how others spoke to them.

Another good counsel is found at Colossians 3:8, which says to put away “wrath, anger, badness, abusive speech, and obscene talk out of YOUR mouth.” What I glean from this is that you should never talk to your children in an angry state. I have heard many a mother in my neighborhood use very heavy curse words on their children. In the Yoruba language, for example, you’ll hear a mother address her daughter at the top of her voice, “ko ni daa fun baba e!” (you really don’t want to know what that means)  or a father calling down evil upon his son, over a relatively minor cause of frustration. By the way, we all know how much our parents utterances come to pass on us their children. If many years down the line, these children start having problems and encountering difficulties in their adult life, their parents often don’t remember that it might have been something rashly said or carelessly uttered earlier on in their children’s life. So what does this teach? The very same lesson pronounced in Colossians 4:5, which urges us to “let our utterance be always with graciousness, seasoned with salt,” as it were. Food without the proper quantity of salt to season it would be disagreeable to the palate. In the same vein, speech that is uncouth would have the same effect to the ears – distasteful, repugnant, unpleasant, even disgusting. We certainly want to avoid that.

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Beyond being just a good parent to my children, I want to be a good friend. A good friend:

Knows you

Trusts you

Loves you

Respects you

Honors you

Supports you

Wants you

And appreciates you

I want to do all of that and more, even though the pressures of daily living would have me do otherwise. In the final analysis, whatever our convictions are, every parent, stepparent or guardian has a choice: to be that positive force in your child’s life or to be his drawback. Which do you choose? I’d like to know what you think.

 

 

 

 

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8 responses to “The Power of Positive Auto-suggestion

  1. The power of auto suggestion can also be likened to music playing at the background. As often as it plays, even though we at first didn’t like it, gradually it creeps its way into our minds and before long we start to dance to it. The lesson?: Let’s create a POSITIVE environment for our children to glean from. Thanks big Sis :). You’re doing great!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very nice article…

    Cognition and cognitive appraisal of people and events are well known contributors to a person’s mental wellbeing and most times in therapy we make use of techniques to help change a person’s cognition which in turn changes their behaviors and responses. Research show that changing a person’s way of thinking actually alters brain function, a change which is long lasting.

    In the light of this, the greatest help we can offer to our children is helping them to think positively and that will make them act positively. It is often difficult for them to think positively especially with the overwhelming negative influences around. But if we as parents establish ourselves as someone they look up to, respect and love, we wield enormous power to be able to help them change their thought pattern to maximize their potential.

    Interestingly, Romans 12:2 talks about getting transformed by changing the way we think! The NLT version.

    This process is not by enforcing our values however. It is an active process where they should be active participant. It is not an advice, where they are passive recipient but they are active participant in the change process. We examine a behavior and see how it’s bad and the need to do it better. Then the ways to do it better, then the best way to do it. Then we agree on one way and then put it to practice and then review it. It is done over and over till the desired behaviors are achieved.

    It is demanding but it brings the right reward long term. In this way, punishment will not be in anger but rather a way to reinforce the lessons learnt. They need not be beatings they could be withdrawal of privileges, they could also involve rewarding a desirable behavior. It is a shaping process, a molding of behavior to the desired.

    It promotes healthy self esteem, the I can do it spirit that helps unlock their potential and the power within to achieve greatness and fulfill their purpose.

    Above all, everything should be based on biblical principles. The place of prayers in parenting can’t be over emphasized. It releases divine power to give grace and help to the parents and the child.

    Modeling too. The principle of “monkey see, monkey do ” really works. If we do and say the things we teach them, instinctively, (because children always want to identify with their parents) they will follow suit.

    Okay, I know I’ve deviated from your topic, but when I’m on a roll, I can’t help myself. Sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

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