Parenting isn’t easy. With children changing and growing so quickly, it’s difficult to keep up with your child’s needs. As soon as you think you’ve figured out how to show your child love and respond to their challenges, they’ve transitioned into another season. Here are some things your child needs to hear from you on a consistent basis regardless of the season.
I love you.
These three words are powerful. Saying “I love you” is important for your child’s development, your relationship with your child, and the relationships your child has with others. Saying “I love you” builds trust in your child-parent relationship and assures your child that they will always have you in their corner. When we say “I love you” to our children, we offer them value, courage, joy, and confidence that they take with them into adulthood. It also acts as modeling behaviour — by loving your child, you are teaching your child to love themselves and others. You may also want to look out for the different ways your child says “I love you” back — everyone’s got their own love language!
You are enough.
Children are often faced with endless expectations from peers, parents, teachers, cultural norms, and family values. Help teach your child that they can reach these expectations or their own by setting and achieving goals, but ensure them to measure themselves against themselves, and not against others. Tell your child that they’re enough and promote self-improvement and growth rather than comparison and competition.
What can I do to help you?
Sometimes children feel like they’re a burden, especially when mom and dad have other children, work stress, arguments with each other, and the family dog to worry about. Take time out to ask your child how you can help. Maybe that’s giving your child dating or friendship advice, finding them a tutor or testing them on their study notes, giving them that much needed quiet time, driving them around with their favourite music in the car, surprising them with their favourite snack after school when you know they had a big test that day, or a simple warm hug. If you sense that something in particular may be on your child’s mind, you may want to further this and ask, Is there anything you want to talk about? It’s not the easiest for kids to open up — help them get there by asking these questions. And when they answer, listen to your child.
It’s okay to make mistakes.
Kids make mistakes, just as adults do. Help teach your child that mistakes or accidents happen, and that this is a normal part of life. In fact, these mistakes will help us make sense of life by shaping future decisions and behaviours. Your child’s worth is not based on how few mistakes they make. Help demonstrate this for your children by highlighting mistakes you’ve made and be intentional to show how you acknowledge, accept, and move forward from your own mistakes.
I’m proud of you.
Your children want your love, they want your attention. Your child may be doing a lot of good and receiving praise through good grades and sporting awards, but they still want your approval that they make you proud. Acknowledge and celebrate your child’s small successes. Assure them that you are proud of them unconditionally and that your pride in them does not depend on school or sport performance, but on effort.
It may seem simple to say these five things, but remember to also show these words, and be consistent with your kids! You may find that saying “I love you” is more powerful in some moments than others. Take the time to reflect on the best time and way to share these messages with your children when they may need to hear them most!
It can be difficult to incorporate news habits into your parenting, we are here to help. Click here to book your free 20-minute parent coaching consult.