Have your parents told you something truly unforgettable?
Children’s emotional and mental development is primarily shaped by how their parents nurture them. Many of the childhood memories follow into adulthood. Whether these memories make one happy or sad, however, is something different for everyone.
Here are seven phrases children need to hear from their parents.
1) “I liked how you …”
Did your child do something that you want to praise?
Saying blanket statements like “I’m proud of you.” or “You’re a smart kid.” can turn into white noise if said too often, leaving little effect. Instead, phrases that encourage a child on how they achieved their accomplishment can be more beneficial and long-lasting.
Explaining the reason for your validation like, “I’m proud you got A+ – you must’ve studied very hard.” or “I like how you picked up the trash and made everything tidy.“ helps them better understand and reflect on the positive result of the action.
2) “You’re sibling looks up to you”
Are you motivated by praise?
Older siblings at a younger age can feel jealous and act out once their younger sibling starts getting more attention than them. Instead of telling them to stop misbehaving, Dr. Katharine Kersey, a child psychologist, suggests that you praise the older sibling and highlight their role in the family. Saying something like “Your sibling looks up to you” in a genuine way gives them a feeling of responsibility and validation without the tension.
3) Although what you did made me angry, I still love you
Did you ever do something bad as a child?
Whether it’s throwing tantrums, disrespecting teachers, or not doing chores – parents can be reasonably mad or hurt over their child’s actions. While some children at a young age don’t understand the severity of their actions, they may suffer long-term consequences and feel like a disgrace if a parent verbalizes hurtful words like “I’m ashamed of you.” or “I’m disappointed in you.”
Instead, apply a more loving approach by expressing your concerns while still making them feel valued by saying the phrase above.
4) Let’s work on this together
Has your child ever encountered a difficult challenge? How do you respond to it?
When a child fails to get something right, like tying their shoes, it can be tempting as parents to do it for them instead.
But by doing this, you’re promoting a habit where they become highly dependent and will lack the confidence to be able to do things by themselves. Not extending help isn’t the right course of action either. Instead, guide them by telling them what they should do to get them to achieve their goal. Be by their side and work on the task together, while allowing them to exert decent amounts of effort to feel happy with what they did.
5) Playtime’s almost over, should I wait one minute or two?
Giving your child the illusion of picking between two options makes them feel less defiant compared to being instructed. This doesn’t apply to just playtime, but for other things too, like choosing to eat between two vegetables or what time to go to the dentist.
If a parent does the opposite and commands them otherwise (like by saying “Come here now.”), it may be harder for them to give in to your wishes.
6) I’m listening
How does it feel when you’re always talked over and lectured?
For children or young adults, lecturing them may not always come across as helpful or motivating. It could even worsen lead to the opposite effect, and worsen their mental health. Giving the children the spotlight and listening to what they have to say, on the other hand, can nurture a healthier two-way street between parent and child. By lending an open ear, you deepen your bond with them and boost your kid’s self-esteem – giving them the idea that their thoughts and ideas are worthwhile.
7) Mind showing me how you did that?
Sometimes, your child will be able to do things of their own will that they’ll be proud of.
Whether they’ve solved a Rubik’s cube, performed a cool Magic trick, or planted some flower seeds in the garden, showing encouragement and praise to your child helps improve their confidence and sense of self.
Even if the results weren’t particularly impressive, praising for effort can motivate your child and give them an optimistic mindset to take on future challenges with esteem and confidence.
We hope you’ve learned about the phrases that children need to hear from their parents. Do you relate to any of the phrases above? Are there other phrases that we have missed? Let us know in the comments section below.
That’s all for now, Psych2Goers!
Raisingchildren. Aug 31, 2020. Praise, encouragement and rewards. Retrieved at https://raisingchildren.net.au/toddlers/connecting-communicating/connecting/praise
HealthyFamilies BC. Why Talking is Important. November 30, 2014. Retrieved at https://www.healthyfamiliesbc.ca/home/articles/why-talking-important-children
Shipp, J. (n.d.) The 7 Things Every Kid Needs To Hear. Retrieved at https://joshshipp.com/7-things/
Eberhart, J. May 18, 2019. 19 things you should never say to kids. Care. Retrieved at https://www.care.com/c/stories/5208/19-things-you-should-never-say-to-kids/
Wong, D. January 8, 2020. 7 Phrases That Children Need To Hear From Their Parents. Retrieved at https://www.daniel-wong.com/2014/10/14/7-phrases-children-need-to-hear-from-parents