My Favorite Things to Say to KidsJun 21, 2023
Three Favorite Things to Say to Kids
If you listen to my podcast or videos, you’ve heard me parroting hypothetical dialogues between parents and children to give suggestions on how to talk to kids. But do I actually do this myself? Not always (I am a mere mortal), but in general, YES!
Here are 3 of my favorite things to say to kids and real-life examples from my own parenting to back them up. See if you can find the common theme in all of them:
I'm sure you'll choose whatever’s right for you.
When setting boundaries or giving choices, it can look like we have an agenda, or at least our kids think we do. Saying this helps kids see that the situation really is up to them. My 9-year-old, who tends to procrastinate and dawdle in the face of chores, threw a tantrum the other day because he couldn’t read SuperFudge until his chores were done:
"You know what? You can do your job now or later. Whatever you choose, I'm sure you'll pick what’s right for you, and we can read as soon as you're done."
That reminder isn’t just for kids. It reminds ME - I’m not the decider, and I’m not supposed to be.
How do you suppose that will work?
Say this with genuine curiosity (ZERO sarcasm), and it can help your child think through a situation. Real-life example #2: A talk with my daughter who was struggling with a bully in school:
Me: “That sounds really hard; what do you think you want to do about it?”
Daughter: “I'm just gonna push her back next time, and we'll have a fight.”
Me: “Well, how do you suppose that'll work out?”
Daughter: “Probably we'll both get into trouble.”
Me: “Yeah, that might happen. What do you think?”
Daughter: “Well, maybe there's something else I can do.”
This question lets us be an agent for introspection and curiosity for our kids.
You know yourself better than anyone else does.
Many kids never hear that they themselves know what's right for them - that their opinions, gut feelings, intuition, and comfort give useful information. Try this with picky eating, for example (I don't want to eat this. - Ok, cool. You know yourself better than anyone else. You know if you're hungry better than I do.).
What’s the common theme?
I am not the boss in the dynamic. I’m here to inspire my kids to think deeper, own their situations, and recognize that they're the leaders in their lives.
Using these phrases, you're not just queuing your kid; you're queuing yourself! Over time you start to actually believe: I don't know what's right for my child, but they do. And I trust that through the course of time, my child's life will unfold and reveal itself to me. I am neutral and believe in my child. Imagine how joyful and free parenting becomes when we feel this way!
This is the cornerstone of creating an amazing relationship between you and your child that's not characterized by codependency or dominance but instead by true attunement.
If this is where you want to go with yourself, your family, and your personal work, I am beyond excited to help you get there. Set up a Discovery Call today, and let’s get this show on the road.
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