Children look up to their parents for support, for validation, and for encouragement. They look up to their parents to emulate them, to teach them right from wrong and to hold their hands when they falter. So the onus on us to be all that to them is even more than we would like think! It’s an oft repeated statement that we should be careful of what we speak to our kids and what we speak when they are around. It is equally important what we say to them through our gestures and words. Kids are like those highly absorbent sponges, soaking in everything they see us do or hear us say.
Here are seven important things you must say to your kids –
I love you – I say this to my kids every single day, as they leave for school, as they retire to bed and anytime in between. My kids light up every time I say it, and they tell me that they love me too. It’s an obvious thing, but it needs to be said. Hugs and kisses are other forms of showing your love. All these verbal and physical forms of love makes kids feel secure and cared for.
Thank You – I have this cute video of my little one when he was just about 2 years old, and he’s handing me stuff to arrange it in my cupboard and each time I thank him, he thanks me back. I say ‘Thank You’ and he goes, “tat um”!! Kids not only feel good to be thanked for what they did but they also learn to show gratitude to people around them.
I’m sorry – You could have failed to keep a promise because you got stuck in office or you accidentally threw away your kid’s precious collectible. Say sorry. And ask them if you are forgiven. Mean it and make it up to them for your lapse. When kids know parents can make mistakes and acknowledge it too, they learn to do the same. They will learn to own up and apologise for their mistakes. It is such an important lesson.
Great effort – We as parents know, that competition is inevitable and so are comparisons. But by only focusing on the results we make the kids efforts look futile. At our home, we have this policy of celebrating participations and laud the child for his effort. We never celebrate success. The most we do to celebrate success is, give each other a high five. But a participation and effort put into an event is always celebrated anyway the child wants to, could be with an ice cream treat, an outing, whatever! So my kids know that putting effort is way too important than winning.
I trust you – Always trust your child. Always. And tell the child that you do. And mean it. You will be amazed what the power of your trust in the child can do to his self esteem, confidence and sense of security. And trust me, when you do this, and mean it, your child will never let you down. I remember my dad always telling me that he trusts me, with my decisions, with my words, and with my actions. It made me all the more obligated to keep his trust. More than that, his faith in me did wonders to my self confidence.
Failure is good too – As kids we stumble more than we walk. When our kids stumble, when they fail, when they are hurt, tell them that it’s ok to lose, it’s ok to fail. Failure is good because it lets them know their shortcoming; it lets them know what they should work on. Teach them that before they fail. Don’t wait till they fail and are no longer receptive to what you say. We hear of so many kids who commit suicide because they failed in some exam. Teach them why life is more valuable than benchmarks set by others. Teach them to keep trying and never to give up. Tell them you are with them no matter what.
What’s your opinion – When we make certain decisions at home; we ask our kids what their opinion is. And especially if it is about them, they definitely get to have a say. We never decide on their behalf. That makes the kids so much more responsive. Being involved in decision making helps them have a sense of self worth; it lets them think instead of just being told what to do, it tells them that you believe in their ability to make decisions and it makes them confident.
Kids grow up well when they feel valued, cared for and loved. They will learn whatever we teach them. It’s not fair to expect them to do things we ourselves don’t follow. When they keep hearing us say the right things, and do the right things, they invariably pick up those traits too.
My name is Shubhangi Srikanth and I write under the pen name Titli. I started my blog “The Little Princess” and it helped me channel my thoughts in the proper direction. After having worked for more than 12 years in the Pharmaceutical and Banking sector, I now freelance as a content writer for medical and health websites. I have two adorable boys, who have taught me more about life than I could teach them. Being a mother is one of the most fulfilling roles of my life, one that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world!