Kids Become Happy Adults When Parents Repeat These 13 Phrases

Photo: Ketut Subiyanto | Pexels 
Dad inspiring child to be their silly self

Actions indeed count in parenting. Your kids are watching and modeling your behavior. At the same, though, your words matter tremendously to your child and their emotional development. Most parents want their kids to be well-adjusted, confident, optimistic, compassionate, resilient, capable, self-reliant, and emotionally intelligent. Some children are born with more of these qualities and parents can work to reinforce them. Other kids, however, need more guidance and encouragement to develop these outcomes.

Regardless, what it takes is time, effort, presence, and care. Your care. Your beautiful words. Words that uplift, inspire, and empower them to be the best version of themselves. No amount of professional talk therapy can make up for what a mother or father can do to affect their child's positive view of themselves. Having happy, healthy children starts with you.

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Here are 13 inspiring things parents should tell kids to help them be healthy, happy, and confident:

1. "I'm grateful for you."

My daughter and I met with a new doctor recently. I was asked the usual things about her medical history and then my daughter announced, "I was a miracle, you know!"  She was. She is. Your child needs to know how you feel about being their parent. Telling a child you are grateful for them and what they have brought into your life makes them feel special. It also teaches them gratitude.

2. "I'm proud of you."

To develop self-esteem, kids need to get validation and encouragement. Tell them "I'm proud of how you handled this challenge." Let them know what they did that made you proud specifically so that they can repeat it.



3. "You are brave."

When they are scared, they need to know that they can dig deep and find the courage to get through it. Whether it's a trip to the hospital or dealing with a bully, they can imagine themselves as a superhero, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!

4. "You've got this!"

Whatever the challenge, kids need to be reminded that they can handle anything. Give them hope and confidence and help them to build trust in themselves.

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5. "Great try!"

Recognize the effort, not always the outcome. "Great try" tells your child they should be proud of giving it a shot and putting forth their best attempt. Failing is okay. Life is about the journey and the lessons along the way.

6. "Good choice."

Kids will need to make many decisions in their life starting with choosing friends and extra-curricular activities. Little choices every day, lead to more significant decisions such as selecting a school and career and picking a life partner. Let them know when they've made an excellent decision, and they will have the self-assurance to make more of them as they grow up. Ultimately, they'll have to rely on their wisdom.

7. "No one is perfect."

Perfection just does not exist. The sooner kids learn this, the better. Everyone makes mistakes and they will, too. Sometimes people seem perfect on the outside, but really, everyone has something. It could be a visible or hidden disability, a growing edge, or a past hurt that they're carrying around. When kids learn this, they develop compassion for others and begin to accept themselves. They are enough.

8. "I'm sorry."

The way kids learn to say "sorry" is by hearing you say it. Forcing them to apologize tends to create shame. Telling them when you're sorry teaches them that you're human; you make mistakes, too! They will develop tolerance and a sense of ownership as a result.

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9. "I'm so happy to see you."

No kid wants to be greeted by reminders, questions, or nagging when they get home from school. Stop. Forget about your busy day or everything the kids have to do that evening. Take a deep breath and look at your child as if for the first time. Express that seeing them has been the best part of your day. Make their day.

10. "Tell me more."

This goes beyond "I'm listening." It shows that you want to deepen your understanding and know what they've experienced. It is listening with your ears, eyes, heart, and mind!

11. "You are special."

Every kid has that one quality that makes them unique. Perhaps they are creative, kind-hearted, they have a fabulous sense of humor or they're a beautiful dancer. Tell them what it is and they will pride themselves on it for their lifetime. Knowing that talent will also help them choose a vocation. Support your child in bringing their specialness to the world to enjoy!

12. "I love you."

Parents often take it for granted that their child knows they love them. They think that they tell them enough. Parents have their love language or way of expressing their love. However, "I love you" can never truly be said enough. There will be difficult days when a child will wonder if they are loved. Don't leave any doubt. Give them the security of knowing that they are loved and that nothing will ever change that.



13. "I will always be here for you."

When your child has been dealt a crushing blow or when they are confused, scared, or in trouble, they need to trust that no matter what, they can go to you. You will be there to dry a tear, talk it out, or pick them up. Whether they are 6 or 36. You can make a difference in your child's development through the words you say. By giving your child these important messages, you will help them to build their self-esteem and create an unbreakable bond between you.

And it's not enough to say them once. Kids need to hear these magical words daily so that they become a part of who they are. As you interact with your child over the next week, start with a few of the statements. Say them, repeat them, and get them into your child's brain. You'll be amazed at how positively transforming these words can be. Say them each day and your child will be poised to grow up happy and healthy, giving their best self to the world.

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Lisa Petsinis is an ICF-credentialed life and career transformation coach who works with women to build lasting life skills — like confidence and resilience — that will help them achieve their life goals.