My kids are unique.
My oldest is getting shy around people. She takes forever to eat a meal. She has red hair and, at times, the stereotypical temperament to match.
My youngest is daring (though she is still wary of strangers). She is a bottomless pit who cannot eat fast enough. She is easy-going (unless you take her toy or her favorite blanket).
And while these are the observations I make about them, my wife and I are careful not to share them too loudly with our girls. They are at that beautiful age where a parent’s word is beyond questioning. They trust us implicitly.
If my oldest hears me telling someone that she was afraid of the bears at the zoo (she wasn’t, she loved the bears, this is just an example), there is a good chance that at our next bear encounter, she will act afraid. If she hears me telling someone about how differently she and her sister approach food, she might place a greater importance on her eating habits (either thinking that she doesn’t eat enough or that she eats too much) than is healthy.
Even our compliments must fall under some scrutiny. If all we tell our children is that they are cute and adorable, they will likely believe that appearance is all that matters. And so, while we do tell them that they are cute (because they are), we also try to mix in how nice, kind, compassionate, smart, and hard-working they are as well.
At this time, possibly more than any other, we are telling them a story about themselves, one that they believe wholeheartedly. They will become the characters that we describe them to be. And so we must be careful how we describe them. Especially to themselves.