My eldest son was struggling as a junior in high school. When confronted with questions about why he was struggling inside and outside the classroom, he revealed he felt pressured to live up to the standards his older, honors-student sister had set. Once we reassured him he was being held to his own standards, not his sister’s, he eased up, settled in, and improved in school and with his overall behavior.
Helping our kids navigate life is a vital and rewarding part of being a parent. There are things you should say to your child that will help him or her live a full and happy life. Making sure our kids understand these points is an important part of parenting. Here are 5 things you should say to your child all the time.
1. “Failing is part of life.”
For some reason, many modern parents believe they should shield and protect their kids from failure. Like us, kids need to fail and learn from it to grow. It’s vital your kids understand that failure is a learning opportunity and that it’s not the falling down that defines them. It’s how they react to that failure that really counts and helps them cope and get better moving forward.
2. “Don’t compare yourself to others.”
Like the story of my son’s struggles to “keep up” with his older sister, too many times our kids compare themselves and their success to others in their peer groups. Knowing they don’t need to compare what they do or how they do it with others is important. Reinforcing this notion is something that should always be on the list of things you say to your child. Everyone’s journey is different and each person is who he or she’s supposed to be.
3. “If something doesn’t feel right, walk away from it.”It’s vital to encourage kids to walk away from situations or people that make them feel uncomfortable.
Kids face a constant onslaught of information and stimuli that makes trusting their own intuition difficult. This is especially true as technology has become a dominant force in the lives of kids. It’s vital to encourage kids to walk away from situations or people that make them feel uncomfortable. It’s among the things you should say to your child continually. Telling kids to trust their instincts and never regret saying no if something just doesn’t feel right is an important piece of advice you must repeat often.
4. “Spend time with people who make you better.”
As our children age, and strike out on their own with peers and friends, your influence becomes smaller as they look to others for comfort, advice, and friendship. That’s why it’s vital they surround themselves with friends who enrich their lives and encourage them. Telling them to stay away from those who are negative and take too much of their time is important as well. Of the things you should say to your child, this one is key to helping him or her understand the importance of a healthy support system.
5. “Always tell the truth.”
Always on the list of things you should say to your child, this is probably one you already say all the time. We teach our kids from an early age to be honest. But as kids age, the importance of truth-telling and being an honest person may lose some of its value as we don’t put it into context other than to say it’s “the right thing to do.” Telling your kids to always tell the truth should include the lesson about being at ease when you’re not hiding even difficult truths. Teaching them that honesty sometimes comes at a price is a key lesson for kids of all ages.
Sound off: What are some other things you should say to your child all the time?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “Who is one person in your life who makes you better?”