Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Five things every parent should say to their kids as often as possible

In a recent post I shared five things that every parent should avoid saying to their kids. It left me feeing pretty lousy. It’s one thing to focus on the negative, and we need to go there from time to time. But if we’re going to eliminate the negative it’s nice to know what to replace it with.

So, here are five things we might focus on saying to our children as often as possible.

Thank you

Gratitude is a powerful motivator. It makes our kids feel appreciated. And saying thank you also models manners and gratitude for them to follow. Saying thanks and explaining why you’re saying it can have a powerful impact on a relationship between parent and child.

I’m sorry. I’m still learning, just like you

Parents who act like they’re the finished product who are simply there to impart wisdom to their children leave their children feeling judged and imperfect. But when we acknowledge our mistakes and describe how we are learning to be better people because of those mistakes, our children learn that it’s ok to admit fault and try again. This is a powerful and important lesson for our kids.

I watched how much effort you put in – you seemed to give it all you had

Because parents want their children to succeed, it can be easy to always ask for more, demanding ever increasing levels of performance. The pursuit of perfection will always lead to disappointment. However, when we let our kids know we saw how hard they tried, and let them know we are satisfied while ever they do their best, they’ll be inspired to try – and they won’t feel bad if they fail. Instead, they’ll be open to learning how to do better.

I love you

Every child should hear this every day. But they shouldn’t just hear it. They need to see and experience evidence of it in all of their interactions with us.

As we say more of these beautiful and important things, and fewer of those harmful things, our kids are more likely to grow up feeling secure, confident, happy, and loved.

What do you think?

If we want to have responsible children, they need to be given responsibility. One of the most powerful ways to help them become responsible is to stop telling them what to do, and instead, to ask them what they think they should do. Then we can encourage them (or gently guide them). By asking them what they think, our children also develop a trust in their own opinions, ideas, and instincts.


Melanie Link Taylor, M.Ed. said...

Thanks again for your clear, concise advice. As an educator and parent I can't agree more on the power of positivity in the life of a young person, especially coming from a person of power and influence in her/his life.

Emily S. said...

Love this....Another one we use in our house is "you must be so proud of yourself!" I think this helps my children realize that they don't need us, their parents, to validate something that they have done. That acceptance and validation truly matters when it comes within ones own self.

Sure...Why not said...

I find some humour in this. South Asian parents can be so far removed from this and usually say the exact opposite. However, its a good reference for my future parenting days.... Thank you.

The Sunkissed Sand said...

yes,I do it as often as goof up at times though.Would like to know what's the right age when one can allow children to watch horror flicks?! My son is barely 10 and we watched 'Insidious' together.In my mind I thought I'm emboldening him..I don't know if it worked..'cos the stuff was advansed as far as horror flicks go, talking about astral power and travelling in 'The Furthur' etc.Will he get over it,or have I just ruined his childhood?

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I just wanted to let you know that what you do really affects peoples lives and that people - like me - truly appreciate it.

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