As parents, we’re usually guilty of uttering more words of criticism more those of praise. Indeed, words like “no!” and “don’t do that!” trip off our tongues far easier than supportive ones like “You can do it!”. Yet, reassuring words from a parent can really strengthen your child’s confidence and self-esteem. Psychologist Daniel Koh from Insights Mind Centre shares five easy phrases that will mean the world to junior, encourage him, as well as reinforce his ability to tackle tough times head-on.
1) I know you feel sad and I can see that you have done your best.
Koh stresses that it’s critical that you are aware of your child’s emotional well-being. This is how you can reinforce positive thinking or reassure them of your support and approval. He adds that this will encourage them to try again, versus sulking in disappointment or wallowing in self-pity if they fail to reach their ― academic or otherwise ― goal.
2) I can see what you are going through, would you like to share it with me?
Your children WILL tune you out if you insist on forcing your opinions on them. This can sometimes create more issues instead of fixing problems. Koh says, “Listening shows that you care and love them enough to set aside judgement. It’ll also pave the way for further discussion on the issues that are affecting them.” And even if your child isn’t ready to talk just yet, what matters is that she knows she’ll have your ear when she is ready, he adds.
"Koh explains that it critical that parents encourage their children to be positive about trying new things, without the fear of failing."
3) Take a break and give yourself time to rest. Observe what is happening and what you can change.
When dealing with disappointments and failures, it is understandable if your tween feels stressed and confused about the decisions he has made, and also, what direction his life is taking. Koh asserts, “Help them break away from the negative spiral and give them time to recharge and restart; help them regain a sense of control.”
4) Perfection is not everything ― learning and trying are.
Junior’s mind should not be clouded — or stressed — by thoughts of achieving total perfection, or he would never get round to taking that all-important first step. Koh explains that it is critical that parents encourage their children to be positive about trying new things, without the fear of failing.
5) You are important to me.
Parents should strive to state that they value junior for who he is, rather than set too much store by what he has to become in order for him to gain your approval. Koh notes, “This also implies that you are never giving up on them.”
Daniel Koh is a psychologist at Insights Mind Centre.
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