Guilt is one of the biggest emotions that can weigh us down. But it also gives us feedback on our behavior so that we can work on what needs to be corrected.
Wait, why am I talking about guilt here?
It is because I see it a lot in parents. The guilty feeling stems from the beliefs that “I am not a good mother”, or, “I am not doing as much as other mothers do for their kids”, etc.
I experience it myself too. At the end of the day, when I look at my sleeping kids, I feel guilty about so many things and I take the resolution to work on them.
As parents, the words we speak to kids are of utmost importance. The words we speak to them have a role in determining their confidence, abilities, happiness, and well-being.
What I have found is, talking positively and saying encouraging words help me to push the needle further in my journey of becoming a better parent.
How you may ask?
BENEFITS OF SPEAKING ENCOURAGING WORDS TO CHILDREN
- When they are dependent on you, you are the world for them. Kids absorb whatever you say, like a sponge. It becomes their internal dialogue even long after they become adults. If your parents or anyone used to say any encouraging words to you when you were smaller, you might still hear those words in your ears. And it’s the same with negative words too.
- Children learn by imitating. When you speak positive and kind words, they learn to speak in the language of kindness too.
- They feel loved and supported.
- It increases their self-esteem and builds confidence.
- When they feel supported, they also learn to become resilient and develop a sense of positivity towards challenges in life.
HOW TO SPEAK POSITIVE WORDS TO KIDS?
Even though speaking positively is beneficial, it’s important that you don’t overdo it.
When you overdo on praise, it can reduce their intrinsic desire to do a task. Instead, they might do it only for praise and rewards.
Hence, speak encouragingly, when kids are trying to learn something which is beyond their comfort zones.
Also, another general rule when it comes to praising is, praise their efforts rather than achievements.
It helps them to develop a growth mindset as well because in a growth mindset the focus is on the effort and improvement rather than on the outcome.
Sometimes, I also make it a point to let them “overhear” when they are behaving well so that I can let them know that the effort they take doesn’t go unnoticed and unappreciated.
Sometimes, we all need to feel appreciated for what we do right? Even if what we do is daily chores and what seems to be boring and monotonous tasks, it gets hard if we don’t have someone in life who appreciates it.
And also when a child does well, instead of saying “You are smart”, you can say “You worked hard”. Because when a child doesn’t do well, he might automatically think “I am dumb that’s why I couldn’t do it”, just the opposite.
But when you are praising his effort rather than his character, he knows he can get better with effort.
The same rule goes with negative words. Instead of demeaning a whole person, if you correct only his action, he can understand it and improve on it. But if you blame a child saying “You are selfish, mean”, etc, the child starts to see him as such and that will reflect in his behavior formation.
THE BALANCE BETWEEN CRITICISM AND POSITIVE WORDS
Our kids need our feedback while growing up as they try to figure out everything around them. But if we are all about “Don’t do this”, “You shouldn’t have said that’, “You never listen to me”, all the time, that is constant criticism.
A child’s brain is not developed enough to distinguish between the criticism of his actions and his own sense of worth. To a child, depending upon age, criticism can feel like an attack on his worthiness rather than his actions.
So when they face constant criticism kids will often feel resentment towards you causing a distance in your relationship. This leads to secrecy or withdrawal because of all the emotions resulting from the negativity they face.
The 5:1 rule is a good one to follow to strike a balance between giving negative feedback and positive enforcement.
According to this rule, in healthy realtionships, there is a ratio of 5:1 positive interactions for every one negative interaction.
Now, let’s move onto the list of encouraging phrases and words you can use with kids.
GENERAL WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT
- No matter what, you are loved and will always be loved
- I believe in you
- I am so happy to see you back! I missed you when you went to …………
- When you are away, I miss you and think about you
- Our home is not the same when you are not here
- That’s so creative!
- You are fun to be around
- I always look forward to spending time with you
- I am so lucky to have you in my life
- You don’t need to do what everyone else is doing. Follow your own path!
- I trust in your abilities
- If you need help, you can always ask
- I love you just the way you are
- You are irreplaceable
- There is only one you in the world, so be yourself
- I am grateful I have you
- My life is better because I have you
- I love it when you try new things
- You can always tell me the truth because I am here to help you if you make mistakes
- I love listening when you talk about your day
POSITIVE THINGS TO SAY TO KIDS DURING CHALLENGES
- I know you did your best and that’s enough
- I see that you are trying
- You can start fresh again
- It’s okay that you made a mistake. We all make mistakes and that’s how we learn
- I can see you are improving
- Your only competition is with you, not anyone else
- It’s okay to be scared, we all feel scared sometimes
- You can change how you feel about any situation with a positive attitude
- Your attitude determines your happiness
- We can’t please everyone and we should never try to
- Keep going! I am with you on this!
- Not everyone will like you and that’s okay
- I know you can handle this
- I know you are strong enough to try again
- It’s okay to cry
- It’s a joy to see you working on your confidence
- I trust you will find your own lesson from this experience. Remember every obstacle teaches you something.
- Patience is the biggest virtue you can develop during this time
- Participation is important than winning
- Nobody is perfect
- Take a deep breath, everything will be okay
- Be patient, there is always light at the end of the tunnel
- Your strength is bigger than this obstacle
- You can always start again
- I know this is hard for you. But you are strong to overcome this
- It seems like you are having a bad day. It happens to everyone. If you are comfortable, let’s cuddle and talk about it.
- When I feel sad/disappointed, I like to count my blessings and give thanks for them. It makes me happy. You can try that too.
- We all are work in progress. It’s okay not to be perfect.
ENCOURAGING WORDS TO SAY FOR GOOD DEEDS
- I love how you are taking care of your sister/brother
- Your help makes my job easier, thank you!
- I love how you two worked together in harmony
- That was such a kind thing to do!
- You were so generous with your friends today!
- You have great ideas
- Thank you for being so thoughtful!
- You did it all by yourself!
- I appreciate how empathetic you were with that boy
- Your determination to win helped you accomplish this
- I love how you spoke for yourself today
- Thank you for being a good listener. It’s a great skill!
- You worked so hard on that
- I love how you found a solution to that problem on your own. You are a problem-solver.
- You must feel so proud of yourself!
- It was brave of you to do that
- Look at how you are helping each other. You two make a great team!
- That was a good choice!
- That’s a creative way to solve the problem!
- That took great effort! You must feel proud that you didn’t give up.
- I feel loved when you (insert with something sweet that your child does)
- That’s a great question!
MORE POSTS ON PARENTING:
- How to get started with positive parenting
- How to discipline kids without breaking their hearts (15 positive discipline techniques that work!)
- What every daughter needs from her mom
- 10 ways to teach a growth mindset in kids
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