Words are very powerful tools of communication. Children thrive on positive communication, and negative communication can make them feel insecure and unloved. It is important as a parent that we counter all of the “no, don’t do that” and “stop that” and other words uttered in frustration with some words that are positive. The following are some phrases that if used often will really help you become a better parent.
“I love you”: this is one of the most important phrases you can utter to your child. Children need to be reassured often that they are loved. As they are growing and learning they make many mistakes, and sometimes they think the result of those mistakes is going to be a withdrawal of your love. You have to reassure them that this is not the case by telling them and showing them how much you love them. Do not think they know, make sure they do. Wake them up with an “I love you,” and put them to bed with one.
“Sure”: kids often ask for things, or for help, and parent, who tend to be on the busy side may respond with “no right now” a little too often. So, be a better parent by occasionally dropping what you are doing, and attending to their needs and desires immediately. You will be surprised how a affirmative response to a child asking for juice, or something else will brighten their day and give them a feeling of security.
“Okay”: Kids ask for things knowing you will say no just to push the limits. Sometimes you are busy, stressed, and it can be frustrating to have a child ask you things over and over. However, you can become a better parent, by responding to their inquiries with a positive affirmation. A child who loves animals might ask you to take them to the zoo once a day for a month, and it can be irritating, but imagine the pleasure you will see on their face it you simply said, “Okay, get in the car.” A surprise gesture when they are sure you will say no can go a long way to helping your child with their identity, security, and feeling of belonging.
“No”: Part of being a good parent is not always spoiling your children. It can be hard not to spoil a child, especially if you have the means and time to do so. However, a healthy dose of “No” can go a long way in helping your child build character and learn to work for things that they want. Even if you see no reason not to, or you have the ability to give them what they want, it can be wise to hold back until you see a reason to give them that thing. This does not mean with hold things they need, but the extras are not always necessary. Your child does not need a new toy every time you go to the store, or a candy bar every time you shop for groceries. Say “No” occasionally.
“You are wonderful (or some other positive adjective)”: Adults feel insecure sometimes, and wonder if they have value, well guess what? So do children. Positively affirming your child’s value is a huge part of being a good parent. Kids need to know that they matter, that despite the fact that they do not contribute financially or otherwise in the home that they are important and matter to you. So, tell them how smart they are. Tell them how funny they are. Tell them how great they are.
“Thank you”: Children need to feel appreciated just like adults do. Children are constantly trying to get attention, and trying to please adults. When a child acts poorly it is often a plea for attention. So, notice when your child shares, when they do something thoughtful, and compliment them, thank them, and show your appreciation.
“Great job”: When your child does well at something, tell them so. Do not assume they know. Tell them!
“Hello beautiful/handsome”: Your child needs to feel good about their physical appearance. We live in a physical world, and no one likes feeling ugly, not stylish, etc. So, tell them how great they look.