After writing my last post, I spent quite a bit of time thinking about how I communicate with my children. There are things that I want my children to always remember, and I think sometimes I don’t say them enough. It’s easy to go about the business of our day, thinking that our children know exactly how we feel by the way we treat them. In reality, they need to hear you say it too!
I narrowed down a list of some of the most important things that I want to say to my children more regularly. I hope my actions send the same message; but just in case, I’m going to say it too!
- I love you. I try to remember to tell all of my boys that I love them at least once a day. While I know how much my parents love me, I always wished they had said it more as a child. When I became a parent, I made a vow to tell my children often how much I love them, even though they know how much I do.
- I’m sorry. Many of us spend a lot of time correcting our children’s behavior and making them say sorry when it’s appropriate. However, we often forget that we need to model the same behavior. If you say something you wished you hadn’t or the situation requires it, say you’re sorry. It’s not a sign of weakness to your child, but rather letting them now that we all make mistakes (see below), even parents!
- It’s okay to feel sad, upset, embarrassed, angry or any other feeling for that matter. As the mother of 3 boys, this one hits close to home for me. I often feel like boys are criticized for showing their feelings too much: “don’t cry like a baby,” someone might say when a young boy is upset about something. I want my children to know that it’s okay to feel different ways; there are healthy ways to show feelings. It’s my personal opinion that a lot of youth today struggle with how to express their feelings, and things end up coming to the surface in unhealthy ways. If you’re sad I tell them, it’s okay to cry sometimes.
- I’ll always be there for you, no matter what. Enough said.
- Sometimes doing the right thing is also the hardest thing. This one bears repeating time and time again. It can be easy to look the other way or not speak out when you see something that is wrong. It’s not always comfortable to stand up for what’s right, but it’s one of the most important things you can do to be a good citizen of the world.
- I’m proud of you. Your kids will always want your approval and praise. When you catch them doing the right thing and working hard at something, tell them how proud you are. Seeing a child swell with pride is a beautiful thing.
- We all make mistakes. We have ALL made mistakes, but hopefully we have learned from them. Be humble and let your child know that you aren’t perfect either. In today’s world, children are under a lot of pressure to perform, whether it’s at school, sports, or other activities. They can feel like they are letting everyone down when they make a mistake. Let them know they aren’t alone. We all have room for improvement! 🙂