8 phrases every child needs to hear
Through my work, I get to interact with lots of youths and young adults. It’s fun but challenging work!
As you might expect, youths face stress in many different areas: academics, co-curricular activities, career planning, dating, etc.
But their most common source of frustration is their relationship with their parents.
Parents have excellent intentions, but they don’t always express their love in the best possible way.
Youths often perceive their parents as being naggy, impatient, irritating or overbearing. If you’re a parent, I’m sure you don’t want your children to think about you that way!
On the contrary, I’m certain that you want to be a caring, encouraging, loving and competent parent.
I’ve come up with a list of eight simple phrases you can use, which will help you to become that kind of parent:
1. “I believe in you”
As children grow up, they look to others for approval and validation. When you show your children that you genuinely believe in them, they’re more likely to become secure and self-confident.
2. “Thank you”
I know many parents who refuse to thank their children for anything. These parents believe that their children are indebted to them because of all the parental sacrifices they’ve made.
I believe, however, that saying “thank you” to your children is a basic way of teaching them to be appreciative.
You can teach your children to be polite by first being polite to them. Just because you’re an authority figure in their life doesn’t mean that you need to continually speak to them as if you’re their boss or supervisor.
4. “I’m proud of you”
Some parents never say this to their children. As a result, these children may constantly question their self-worth. In severe cases, they may spend much of their lives trying to prove themselves to their parents or to the world.
5. “Good effort!”
As a parent, praise your children for their effort and hard work, instead of the results they achieve. In this way, your children will understand that the goal is always to be the best they can be, not to be better than other people.
The results you get are merely feedback about how you can do things differently in the future. It’s not what defines you as an individual.
6. “What do you think?”
Many children feel as if their opinions don’t matter, because their parents usually make decisions on their behalf. By asking your children “What do you think?” you demonstrate that their thoughts and opinions count.
7. “I trust you”
When you say this to your children, they’ll start to take full responsibility for their choices and their lives, because they'll believe that they can be trusted to make their own decisions. Their parents no longer need to “baby” them.
8. “My love for you is unconditional”
Some parents make it seem like they love their children more when their children behave well, get good grades or work at a “prestigious” company.
Sure, you might be more pleased with your children when they do something well, but you need to make it clear that you love them exactly the same, no matter how many (or how few) accomplishments they rack up.
These eight phrases are simple but powerful. Focus on using just one phrase each week—or even each month—and turn it into a habit.
Slowly but surely, your home will become a place of love, encouragement and support—one day at a time, one phrase at a time. Let’s get started today!