1. I’m so proud of you : – Your children need to know that they ‘make the grade’. Even if they’re not as talented as you’d like them to be, and don’t work as hard as you wish they would, they desperately need to hear those words – ‘I’m so proud of you’. Don’t let them feel that they are not ‘good enough’, because they haven’t met a standard that you have imposed on them.
2. I love you no matter what: – Unconditional love.It can be so hard to give sometimes, but that is what they need. Whether they obeyed you that day, or drove you to distraction, they still need your love. In fact, when they’re at their worst, is the time that they most need to know that they are loved.
3. You’re so good at that (whatever ‘that’ is): -It may be a struggle to find what your child excels at, if they’re not particularly ‘able’ compared to their peers. It doesn’t matter. There will be something that they can do better than anything else they do. It’s not a comparison between them and anyone else, but a chance to get them to beat their own score. With your encouragement, something that they are moderately good at, can become a skill they master, as they develop it under your direction.
4. I am sorry : – Don’t think that you have to pretend to be perfect as their parent. It’s better to humble yourself and say sorry when you know that you have wronged them. They will hugely appreciate that, and you’re setting an example for them to build good relationships with others in the future. It will also keep them from building a wall between you and them. Kids are amazing at forgetting how we hurt them, if we make sure that we make it right when we need to.
5. I forgive you : – Don’t keep score, and remind them of past wrongs or mistakes. It’s good to discipline them when they’ve disobeyed you, but afterwards, they need to know that the slate is clean. They also need to know that their naughty acts don’t ‘define’ them as naughty, but are just that -behaviours, not a label of who they are.