Each day, children need to hear their parents say:
- I think you are marvelous: We have to correct, nag and direct them all day. Sometimes they need to hear from us what they are doing right and well. Try to balance your positives to negatives at least two to one.
- You can do it. This is usually a better thing to say than “I can do that for you” because more than doing for them, we need to let them know that they are fully capable of doing for themselves.
- Good Job. Praise after a job well done is very important. As young adults, they still need praise and encouragement.(We all do!) Saying an unconditional “Good Job” without the added comments of advice, or ways to improve, is money in the bank.
- You are capable of better. They also need to hear the truth from us. If they are not giving their all to an effort and the end result is poor, we need to tell them so, constructively and without letting them off the hook.
- What was good about your day? This is a better variation of “How was your day?” because it invites them to open up if they want to. But its not so trite. They need to know that you want to hear about their lives…everyday.
- Can you help me _________? There are so many things that your teenager is better at than you. (Electronics comes immediately to mind!) Asking for their help accomplishes many good things. It engages them in the household and your life. It equalizes the power in your relationship. It makes them feel good about their skills. And it makes them feel valued by you.
- I Love You: Just because they seem uncomfortable with the mushy stuff, doesn’t mean they don’t need, crave and want it.