In an earlier post titled ‘Things you should not say to your kids during exam season’, we examined some phrases which might be detrimental to your child. Words can be used to heal or harm. When used in the right way, the right words can bring you closer to your child. It can give them a sense of safety, encouragement, confidence and inspiration.
Here are some of the things that you can say to your child often:
1. Listen to them: Listening is often more important that speaking, during a conversation. You might be surprised that you do not know all the problems that your child is facing at school or with peers. Make it known that despite your own busy schedule and stress, you acknowledge their concerns.
2. I am here for you: Assure them that no matter what they are going through, you are available to support them. This does not excuse them from being accountable for their mistakes. However, they need to know that you will stand by them as they work their way through any situation
3. Appreciate the effort: “I really appreciate how hard you worked for … “ or “You put in some great efforts to ..” helps your child know that the process and effort matters as much or even more as their achievements at the end. Motivating them to put in more hard work is a lot easier from this place.
4. Offer specific praise: Eg. “You have organised your study schedule very well, with sufficient time for revision and play.” is an example of praising a very specific effort of your child. It reflects your own part in taking the time to understand your child’s efforts. It shows that you notice and care.
5. You do not have to be perfect: Setting absolute perfection as the standard can make your child feel disappointed and demotivated. Letting them know that trying for massive improvement and excellence over perfection sets the tone for far more progress.
6. I love you: Failures, challenges, mistakes and difficult days should not change the fact that you love your child. Remind them of this everyday.
7. I believe in you: Let your children know that you believe in their abilities, talents and dreams. They may feel demotivated by failures, but you know for sure that they are capable individuals.
8. You bring joy into my life: Children light up our lives from the moment they are born. Parenting brings with it extreme highs and lows. We usually complain about them at length to whoever listens. They are often still one of the greatest sources of reward, and joy in the life of a parent. Let your child know that.