12 April 2011

Positive Affirmation and Positive Association

If you've got a friend who forwards emails or "shares" everything on Facebook then you've seen this video:

Recently I've been contemplating learning more about this positive affirmation way of life, and then happened to see an episode of Modern Family called "Two Monkeys and A Panda" where the parents of an adopted child clapped and cheered every time they said the word adoption. Even during an argument about adoption they still stopped and clapped and cheered every time they used the word then went back to their argument. It gave me a good laugh.
Though I laughed I thought that learning more about positive affirmations would be helpful in raising my children, and especially raising my black baby in a predominately white area. I just remembered this curiosity again today and began my search.
First thing I came across was a post from a blog that I already know and love, Chocolate Hair Vanilla Care. The post is called "The Power of Positive Affirmation". She even mentions the same episode of Modern Family! Ha, too funny.

"...So what does this all have to do with hair? Very simply, we've employed the same word association methodology with regards to her hair. Since day one this is exactly the type of positive affirmation that we've used with Boo. We used clapping, sing-song voices, and "yays" when using the word "hair" just like we did with the word "adoption," and we've done it from the very beginning. Again, filling her library with books about her hair type and how wonderful it is, we continue to help reinforce that positive association.
"I think back to the all of the times I've seen parents using the "airplane" on a spoon to get a stubborn kid to take a bite of food (the sound effects, the funny faces, etc.). It's amazing what weird hoops we're willing to jump through to get our kids to do something. However, if they produce the happy results for which we are looking, I'm all for being a little "weird." So with all of the positive affirmations coming her way regarding hair, by the time Boo was six months old any time she heard the word "hair" her little face would light up in excitement...."

Click here to read the whole post.

This, and what the parents did in Modern Family is actually POSITIVE ASSOCIATION. The little girl in the video above is using POSITIVE AFFIRMATION. Though related they are a bit different.

Oddly enough I wasn't able to find much else discussing adoption and positive affirmation or positive association. I did, however, find lots about children in general and positive affirmation.
Here's a bit from Children Lights:

"'I can do this. I am smart,' I heard my four-year old say as he was intently focused on building a new puzzle. I smiled knowing his positive self-talk would help him accomplish his goal. A few minutes later, I heard an enthusiastic, 'I did it!'...
"Affirmations are positive statements about who we are, and what we can become and experience. They help us focus on what we want. The key in using affirmations effectively is to have them evoke positive emotions within us..."

The article then goes on to provide five guidelines to creating affirmations:

1. Empowering affirmations are always stated in a positive way. For example, 'I am smart.' Instead of, 'I am not dumb.' Stating affirmations in the positive puts our focus on what we want, rather than on what we do not want.
2. When making affirmations, write and say them as if they already exist. For example, 'I am a fast runner,' not 'I will run fast.' When we state in the present, we start creating the outcome now. Alternatively, when we say, 'I will,' we are expecting to receive what we are stating some day in the future...
3. We can make affirmations especially powerful when we put emphasis on the words 'I AM.'... Encourage children to use esteem-building 'I am' statements like 'I am creative.' 'I am helpful and caring.' To reinforce 'I am' statements when talking to your children, you can substitute 'I am' for 'You are'. For example, 'You are creative.' 'You are helpful and caring.'
4. Keep affirmations short, simple and clear. The shorter the better because this makes it easier to remember and repeat.
5.Evoke positive emotion. When affirming, imagine a specific scenario related to the affirmation; involve as many senses as possible until you really feel good inside."

Then it lists several affirmations for children that include, "I am beautiful.", "I am good at...riding my bike, math, science.", "I am unique and valuable.", "I believe in me.", "I am blessed.", "I listen to my heart.", "I am loved.", "I am friendly.", "I am healthy.", "I love my body."
Click here to read the whole article.

It does go into some "At an energy level, the vibration of our emotions makes the universal Law of Attraction work for us, attracting experiences with similar energy vibration to ourselves." mumbo-jumbo (in my opinion), but I don't plan on getting into it that far. The basic principle of positive affirmation is good enough for me.

So then I looked up "positive affirmations for African American girls". I didn't find many articles, but found a few book recommendations:

I'll probably add these to my book list that I'm currently going through and reviewing.
One article I did find came from another of my fav websites Afro Puffs and Ponytails. The gal who owns this website is openly religious and shares a sweet message:

"Our Father in heaven loves you dearly. He loves you more than you know. He wants the best for you and is always eager to hear from you. If you have tried everything else and it has failed, try the One who can never fail. Seek to know Him and He will make the way clear and possible for you to do so. Try building a relationship with Him and you will be amazed at how much easier it is to experience peace and joy."
To read the article in it's entirety click here.

Some of the best positive affirmation you can give your child is that God, the all-powerful, the almighty, the Father of all loves him/her individually, personally, and immensely.

So, what does all this mean for an adopted child? Well, you as the parent get to decide. At our house we will be implementing Chocolate Hair Vanilla Care's way of positive association with "hair", starting to incorporate Children Lights' list of positive affirmations, keep reminding our children that they are children of God, and maybe pick up a book or two.

How do you plan on beginning with positive affirmation and positive association in your home? Do you do this already? If so, how?

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