It is no secret that we live in an age where we are over-connected and always “on”. As more and more people are using text messages riddled with emoji’s to get their point across, the simple art over conversation is becoming an endangered species.
When it comes to your relationship with your child, it is important for their positive development and your relationship to engage in regular verbal conversation. Here are seven things that all parents need to habitually say to their children. Remember, even when we think they are not listening, a word from mom or dad has the power to change a negative into a positive that can last a lifetime.
- How about we agree to…Parents and children are not always going to be on the same page. And that is especially true for the parent/teenager relationship. But having a few basic “agreements” in pace beforehand will help you all better work together. So, “agree to disagree”, “agree to agree”, or “agree to come back and discuss later”. Whichever guidelines you set, stick to it and don’t recant. Let your children know that even though you are the authority figure in the house, you value their opinion.
- I like you. By telling your child that you “like” them, which is different from “love”, you are establishing that you “like” the person that they are now and are supportive of the person that they will become. If you “like” them, chances are other people will too.
- You learn fast. From infancy, children are naturals when it comes to learning. Whether it is learning a language, how to walk, their abc’s, etc, learning is a natural behavior for us all. Encourage your children and let them know that you see how fast they learn and how good they are at it. This will come in handy when they feel like they want to give up when learning becomes much more difficult.
- Thank you. Say “thank you”, “please”, “excuse me” to your children and encourage them to do the same. Social skills are critical in life and are a simple, easy sign of respect. Children will ultimately hold these courtesies as a norm well into adulthood.
- I’m sorry. “I’m sorry”, for some, are two of the hardest words to say in any language. But, if you make a mistake, which we all do, this is an opportunity to show your children how to take responsibility for their mistakes and move on. This is a vital life skill to learn. No one is perfect. Remember, kids can beat themselves up over thinking that their parents are perfect when they are not. Show them that you are not perfection incarnate and if there is a moment that requires an apology, make it.
- What do you think? Tell me more? Asking your children for their input, what they think or what they would do in a situation gives kids the opportunity, once again, to develop and exercise their problem-solving skills, encouraging them to take responsibility for their choices. Encourage your kids to share their thoughts, feeling, and ideas is a great way to help them develop listening skills. Moreover, encouraging your kids to share with you signals that you do indeed care and are interested.
- Say “yes”. “No” of course is still a viable option at times, but parents are often too quick to use it. Create a pattern of “yes” and you will find out that the “no’s” will come less often than not.