Your motherhood language.
My kids are old enough to voice out their concerns now, and shockingly remember things I said or did when they were as young as three. This revelation has paved the way for very open conversations with my children.
We speak about what goes on in school and their everyday lives but we don’t just focus on the things they do – we sit and we talk about how they FEEL about the things that happen.
I always knew my words and body language make an impact, but certain situations and my reaction to them seem to make a bigger impression.
For example, admitting I make mistakes (and big ones too) and like them, I am still learning as I go, come as a shock to my kids so when I use this to help soften the blow of their failed attempt at something, it almost always makes them feel better and motivated to try again with oomph!
These are a few other phrases I use that result in the best outcome FOR US. You may have your own or you may want to tweak these to suit your child because every child is unique and the language you’re most comfortable with is your best bet.
Everyone makes mistakes.
In the eyes of many children, their parents are flawless. To them, we have it all together and we’re good at everything we do – by making a mistake they may feel they are a disappointment. Letting them know that even you – the parent they’ve put on a pedestal makes mistakes too help make the blow less severe.
Things are always hard the first time. Let’s practice together.
Learning something new can be intimidating. What seems obviously easy to you, may be a challenge for your child. Doing it together can help ease him into something unfamiliar and makes it less intimidating.
That was very considerate of you.
We rarely fail to point out our child’s mistakes. But praise isn’t usually as freely given. Letting your child know they’ve done something wonderful will give them a confidence boost AND let them know they don’t just catch your attention when they’ve been bad.
It's alright. I saw how hard you tried, I’m proud of you.
We learn more from failure than we do success. Let them know this. Acknowledge the hard work they put in because it will inspire perseverance and resilience.
You were so brave.
There’s a reason why children admire superheroes – they’re blown away by a superhero’s bravery and ability to save the day. Letting them know that they are brave even for the smallest endeavour, successful or not, lets them know that they too are little heroes in their everyday life.
Did you do that all by yourself? How did you know that? That's wonderful!
That feeling of accomplishment, no matter how menial the task may be, are stepping stones for greater achievements tomorrow.
I don’t stop loving you because you made a mistake.
As parents we tend to overreact. Our kids pick up on that and it sometimes leads them to think we’ve given up on them or love them less because of the mistakes they’ve made. Remind them, often, that making mistakes doesn’t equal to you loving them less.
There is a very special place in my heart for you, no matter what.
Let them know, often, that they have a special place in your heart and not just when they’re being good. Tell them even when they’re angry or upset and sad. This is different from just being special. This gives them (in their minds) a physical space within your being. A place they can always rely on and turn to for refuge.
I’m not sure. Shall we google it | go the library | watch a documentary?
You don’t know everything so don’t pretend to. Let your child know this so he never gets insecure about not having an answer to something. Take the opportunity to learn and explore something new together – you’d be surprised to find that you’ll learn a little something new about yourself and your child.
I love all of you.
Kids get insecure. While it may seem little and inconsequential to you, it means a great deal to them. First, let them know you love all of them – all their quirks, smells, sounds, body parts. Everything. Then let them know in your own way about how diversity is a beautiful thing. How boring would a zoo with ONE kind of animal be?