For a variety of reasons, T and I parent with a positive parenting style. That is, we try to do a lot more praising for good actions vs. disciplining for less-than-good actions. Obviously, there are times when we have to say “no” or “we don’t do that.” (Literally twice a day I have to say, “We don’t eat the dog’s food.”)
I’ve noticed myself saying the same phrases to my daughter everyday. They’re essentially words of encouragement. This kind of happened without my meaning it to… I didn’t sit down and write out a list of phrases I wanted to say intentionally. But after hearing that kids respond well to positive messages (if I can remember where, I’ll come back and update this with a notation!), I made sure to say more positive things each day.
These are the six phrases I say everyday:
I’m proud of you.
Usually this is because she tried something she was previously afraid of at swim class, or she shared with a friend, or something like that. When we’re leaving swim class, I’ll tell her that I’m proud of her for working really hard to be brave. I don’t know if it’s the tone of my voice or if she really does understand what I mean. But I get a really big smile in return.
I missed you when I was gone.
As a kid I had a really hard time being away from my parents. I want my daughter to know that she’s important to me and that I think about her even when we aren’t together! This is usually met by a big hug, which is so wonderful.
I really liked it when you …
I had such a proud mom moment this week when E shared a hula hoop (a prized possession) with a kid she didn’t know. She had two, he didn’t have any, and when I mentioned to her that maybe we could share with our new friend, she offered him one of the hoops. He looked so delighted, and I was so proud of her for sharing so well. (Sharing at this age is a very difficult thing to grasp.)
I think you’re a lot of fun.
When you have a kid who makes life a lot of fun, it’s important to let them know! My daughter is funny, sweet, and kind-hearted; and I want her to grow up knowing how much I appreciate her presence.
Thank you for …
E is a huge helper, whether it’s emptying the dishwasher or doing laundry. Yes, the tasks take 3x as long to complete, but it gives me a reason to say thank you and gives her a reason to feel accomplished.
I love you.
Something everyone should hear!