“Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them.” – Lady Bird Johnson
That is one of my favorite quotes related to children. I think it sums up our role as parents perfectly. We don’t have control of who they become or what they do as they approach adulthood, but we can help to shape them into strong and confident people. The following poem is another favorite and one that I like to read occasionally to remind myself:
Children Learn What They Live
- Dorothy Law Neite
If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight.
If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy.
If a child learns to feel shame, he learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement, he learns confidence.
If a child lives with praise, he learns to appreciate.
If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice.
If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith.
If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself.
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship, he learns to find love in the world.
My two children are 8 and 10 and now that they are becoming their own people, sometimes I forget to tell them things they should hear often. I tell them I love them all the time but I don’t always think to say the other encouraging words that might give them more confidence. I did when they were smaller, but most likely now is when they need to hear it more. I’m always open and honest about everything and when things come up we talk about it. I think the random boosts of confidence work wonders though. Hey, we are all just trying to do our best, right? I put together a list of positive things we can say to our kids that might just give them the boost they need to face their next challenge. Let’s try and use these words a little more often:
1. You are important.
2. I believe in you.
3. I missed you and I think about you when you’re not here.
4. I’m so happy that you’re my son/daughter!
5. You are so smart!
6. I trust you.
7. You can trust yourself.
8. I can see you are trying very hard and you almost got it!
9. Being your Mom/Dad makes me happy.
10. I love you no matter what. Nothing you can do or say will change that.
11. You rock.
12. You are so good at…(insert talent or hobby here).
13. You are the best gift I could ever receive.
14. I love your hugs.
15. You are a great friend.
16. If I’m sad, all I have to do is think of you and my sadness goes away.
17. That was a nice thing you did for…(insert name of friend or sibling).
18. Tell me about your dreams and goals.
19. You are really trying hard in school and I know you are doing your best.
20. I will do anything for you and you can always count on me.
Are there any special things you do or say to your kids to make them feel loved and important? Share them below. We can all learn from each other. And remember parents: You rock, too.