We know there are things we should never say to a child, but, since I am the positivity guy, it might be nice to tell you what you should say to your children.
This came from early in my career when I was introduced to Foster Klein and Jim Fay, the guys who created “Parenting With Love and Logic.” As I was listening to a presentation they were giving, they said something that has stuck with me all of these years. Tell your kids you love them.
That is number 1 on our list. I love you no matter what and even if. There is nothing that you need to do in order to qualify for my love. Find some way to say that to your kids every day. They need to hear it, they need to feel it. It doesn't have to be specifically in those words, you might find another way to express the message — I love you unconditionally, no matter what and even if.
The second thing to say to your children every day in some form is: “If you have any questions, ask.” This is your way as a benevolent, generous, loving parent to provide a resource to your children. Notice the way this is phrased. “If you have any questions, ask.”
Too often as parents we get so tied up in what we want our kids to learn that we end up just beating it into them somehow and they end up resenting it. We feel frustrated. Everybody gets annoyed and irritated. We are going to back off.
I have used this with teenagers sometimes and it drives them nuts. Because I'll say something like, “You know, I have some ideas about that thing that you're dealing with. If you ever want to hear what my ideas are, let me know.” It drives them crazy. They're like, “Well, you're going to tell me anyway.” And I say, “Oh, no. I don't want to cram it down your throat. So, if you want to hear it, just let me know.” Almost always, they come back to me with, “Okay, fine. Tell me what it is.” They have got to know. This is the approach that you take. This will help you to be less of a nagging parent and more of a trusted consultant.
The third thing that you should see in some way to your children every day is “Good luck.” Say it with a little smile and a little lilt to your voice. Raise your eyebrows just a little bit “Good luck.” This is your way as a parent of backing out of the micromanaging I'm- trying-to-control-your-life kind of a role, which irritates and annoys children anyway. Put yourself into the position of the trusted consultant. You are acknowledging to your child that they are going to have some hard times and you are expressing with this message your confidence that they have what it takes to handle whatever comes up in their life. The alternative is rant, rave and rescue. It's the old bawl-them-out and bail-them-out approach. We don't want to go there. I think what we want to do is instill confidence that they can handle anything that happens in their life, and when the consequences come, they can handle that too. So, you simply wish them good luck. You might not say it in exactly those words but that's your attitude.
If you need some help with your parenting, schedule a breakthrough call with a Live On Purpose Coach at www.drpauljenkins.com/breakthroughcall.
These are powerful messages that will make a huge difference.