As a parent, a key responsibility is to teach your children important life lessons in life. To instil the right values and principles in them, saying the right key phrases will give junior self-confidence as they go through life. So, make your words count with your daughters with these insightful expressions:
1) “Try not to worry so much”
Sounds simple but everyone struggles with putting this into practice. Besides putting one in a lousy mood and creating unnecessary frown lines, worrying is pointless. Says Elvira Tan, a family life specialist from Focus on the Family , “Paranoia and worries seldom materialise, so encourage your daughter to not waste life worrying about things that might never happen.”
2) “Focus on what you can change”
In life, you should exercise control over what you can change rather than waste it worrying. Dr Hana Ra Adams, a psychologist at The Change Group Counselling, says that you should encourage your kid to figure out which aspects of her concern she can actually exercise control over and work on those, “and learn ways to let go of the things you cannot change”.
3) “Rehearse the positive and reject negative thoughts”
Urge your tween to make a conscious decision every day to choose to do what’s good for herself or the world around her daily. Visualising being better at whatever she is struggling with can help her overcome that obstacle, too. Theresa Bung, principal therapist at the Family Life Society, says that it is important for your child to “make a mental note to do the positive and not to entertain the negative”.
“Help [her] realise that she deserves to be treated with dignity and respect by the boys she is with.”
4) “Being strong does not mean not crying”
Explain that she should never confuse tears with weakness. Tan says, “Let your daughter know that she can feel free to cry in front of you and never to feel the need to bottle up her feelings and suppress her emotions.” Dr Adams explains that crying is a good release of emotions although there are also other ways to manage stressors or obstacles, such as venting to friends or writing in a journal.
5) “You are not in competition with your friends”
There will be times when your daughter will feel jealous of her pals. It’s important that she has confidence in the skills they she is sharpening. Dr Adams says that jealousy arises when your child starts becoming competitive, nor is it in the least helpful to compare her strengths to others. She explains, “There will always be someone who is smarter or taller, but those characteristics don’t mean [your kid is] any less.”
6) “You must expect to be treated with respect by the boys you are with”
Talk to your daughter about the quality of the relationships she maintains ― it’s vital that she does not feel demeaned by friends — especially partners. Tan notes, “Help [her] realise that she deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. [And] should not have to tolerate any behaviour she is uncomfortable with.”
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7) “Help me to understand where you think I have not been able to”
Being parents does not mean we make fewer mistakes. Tan reminds that you give your daughter the chance to share how she wishes for you to communicate with her. She adds, “[This] also ensures that conversations are not one-sided with you talking down to her — dispensing advice and never seeking to listen to her point of view.”
8) “My anxieties over you are not meant to put you down but a reflection of my love and concern for you”
There will come a point when your tween will start to assert her independence. When your daughter and you do not see eye to eye on certain issues, Tan urges that you use this phrase, especially in times of conflict.
9) “Nothing worth having is easy to get”
To get to what you want, you will always need to work through all of life’s obstacles, but that makes your success that much sweeter! Tan points out that developing a good work ethic and having perseverance will get your kiddo through her roadblocks. Dr Adams adds, “Most of the time, we learn from our mistakes. So, don’t shy away from challenges, meet them head on and decide what you can learn from a situation.”
“Get up each morning reminding yourself that you are strong and capable and readier to face any challenge.”
10) “Be proud of the unique person that you are”
Your mini-me is inundated on a daily basis by visuals of supposedly “healthy” or “desirable” body images in the media. Dr Adams explains, “Your daughter needs to know that we are all different shapes and sizes because that is what makes us unique and strong. Don’t try to be like everyone else. Be unique. Be yourself.”
11) “I love you as you are and not for what you can achieve or the way you look”
With social media so prevalent among tweens — even younger kids — the pressures of looking good or performing better than her peers has never been greater. Tan says, “Impress upon her that you cherish her as a unique and special lady and nothing will diminish your love for her.” She needs to know you are the pillar of support she knows she can rely on.
12) “Happiness starts with you, not with money or relationships”
Bung says this phrase encourages your child to determine her own happiness and not let it be determined by material objects. While money plays an important role in life, we must not overstate its importance. She adds, “Concentrate on things that money cannot buy.”
13) “Life is tough, but so are you”
Although life is not a bed of roses and there’ll always be low points, she has got what it takes to soldier on. However, it is equally important to remind your child that it is all right to slow down when she meets with bumps in the road. Dr Adams suggests reminding your daughter that life is about learning lessons and gaining insights into how we face each day. “So, get up each morning reminding yourself that you are strong and capable and readier to face any challenge.”
Elvira Tan is a family life specialist from Focus on the Family. Focus on the Family's Date with Dad is an exclusive event for daughters to connect deeply with their fathers. Check out the next installment coming in March 2017. Dr Hana Ra Adams is a psychologist at The Change Group Counselling. Theresa Bung is a principal therapist at the Family Life Society
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