Raising respectful, confident and positively- centered children takes work. You not only have to watch what you do but also what you say.
What you tell your children in your daily conversations has more impact than you might think. It influences their personality, self-esteem and self-identity. They also use it as a basis for relating with the outside world.
If you want positive children, start by keeping your communication positive. To quote the popular poem – Children Learn What They Live by Dorothy Law Nolte- when children live with encouragement, they learn confidence and when they live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
With that in mind, I decided to share 4 things to say to your children every day:
1. Thank you. Social skills, courtesy and good manners are crucial in life and the best way to teach these to your children is by thanking them for things they do. It also shows your appreciation and gratitude, both important attitudes to instill in kids. Variations include- That was kind of you, You are a big help, I am grateful that you...
2. It’s ok. We all make mistakes. No one is perfect and we all mess up sometimes. Owning up to our mistakes and learning from them are vital life skills to have. Kids can beat themselves up and feel guilty for not meeting your expectations so let them know blunders are part of life and they should take responsibility then move on.
3. Good job! Nothing boosts your children’s confidence and motivates them more than receiving praise from you. It’s even more impactful if you relate it to your child’s efforts not just their success. Take care not to overdo it though and avoid praising them for achievements that come too easily. Others along this line include – You did that so well, You worked really hard on that! You are very good at…
4. What do you think? Giving your children a chance to have an input in family conversations is a great way to hone their decision-making skills. It also empowers them to express themselves and think of solutions. Additionally, it lets them know that their opinions are valued. Variations for this include- What do you feel about…? What would you do if…?
As you say these four things, don’t forget to tell your children that you love them and are proud of them. These simple but powerful words really have no substitute.
Remember that the earlier you start positively interacting with your children, the more time you have to shore up their esteem and confidence. After all, we know how difficult it is to get teens to converse with us, so build up the habit from a young age.
Finally, building positive children doesn’t mean you don’t correct them. You do -but you focus more on their positive attributes. So pepper your conversations with more positivity, encouragement and kind words and watch your children blossom.
Tyler Jacobson is a husband, father, freelance writer with experience with organizations that help troubled teens and parents. His areas of focus include: parenting, social media, addiction, mental illness, and issues facing teenagers today. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedIn