Everybody pretty much agrees that how you raise your kids can make them or break them. You are your child’s first teacher. How we parent has a great impact on the kind of adults our kids turn out to be.
Here are five powerful phrases that parents and kids can keep in mind as they grow together:
1 | “Everything is figureoutable.” – Marie Forleo
When we teach kids that there is always a solution to whatever may come their way, we teach them to believe that nothing is too big to attempt or overcome.
What you can do:
Foster less-structured environments. Evidence suggests that when we ask our kids the right questions, listen to them and provide environments that allow them to practice decision-making, we help foster self-directed learning and teach them to be comfortable making decisions.
Less-structured environments are those in which kids are provided with different opportunities and resources, then left to freely express themselves. Remember that taming the toys could ignite creativity.
2 | “Likability is not an essential part of you.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
In a speech given during the acceptance of the “Girls Write Now” award, the writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie spoke about why it’s okay to not be likable. She viewed how people changed their behavior to conform to others’ expectations as dishonest.
Although she spoke about girls and women, Chimamanda’s speech really applies to everyone:
I think that what our society teaches young girls, and I think it’s also something that’s quite difficult for even older women and self-professed feminists to shrug off, is that idea that likability is an essential part of you, of the space you occupy in the world, that you’re supposed to twist yourself into shapes to make yourself likable, that you’re supposed to hold back sometimes, pull back, don’t quite say, don’t be too pushy because you have to be likable.
And I say that’s bullshit.
So what I want to say to young girls is forget about likability. If you start thinking about being likable you are not going to tell your story honestly, because you are going to be so concerned with not offending, and that’s going to ruin your story so forget about likability. And also the world is such a wonderful, diverse and multifaceted place that there’s somebody who’s going to like you, you don’t need to twist yourself into shapes.
3 | “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” – Cicero
There is evidence that shows gratitude makes us better, physically and psychologically. People who practice gratitude are also more optimistic.
What you can do:
- Make gratitude a family routine
- Slow down and teach your kids to enjoy simple pleasures
- Practice. The more kids practice gratitude, the more likely they are to develop a grateful disposition
4 | “Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do.” – Oprah Winfrey
Few things in life are in black and white. There are grays and pinks and blues in between. When we teach our kids that failure, like success, is a part of life, we give them the tools to view failure as a temporary process and as a learning moment.
When we teach our kids to view negative events as temporary rather than permanent or personal, we help them develop optimistic mindsets. In his book “The Optimistic Child,” Martin Seligman provides guidelines to help children eliminate negative self-talk. He argues that when we teach our kids that they can control how they react to life events, we set the ground for a happier adulthood.
What you can do:
Teach your child to view events from different (not more positive) perspectives. Seligman, who describes this as “explanatory flexibility,” has found that kids able to provide alternative explanations are more optimistic and more able to face challenges.
5 | “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
When we teach our kids that they have all they need within them, we give the gift of self-acceptance. Self-acceptance is about teaching kids that they don’t have to be anything else. It’s about teaching them that everything they need they already have.
Kids develop their sense of self from how they believe others perceive them so nurture their self-esteem. Parents especially play a central role in helping kids develop a positive sense of self. Kids’ self-acceptance is often determined by the degree to which they feel accepted.
What you can do:
Reinforce positive self-talk. Although much controversy surrounds the value of positive affirmations, some studies suggest that positive self-affirmations are beneficial if used right. They can improve problem-solving and creativity under stress, lead to psychological well-being, and increase confidence and self-compassion and pro-social behaviors.
What other phrases do you think kids should know? Let us know in the comments section.