Top 10 Things We Must Tell Our Children

Dr. Leesha’s love messages to her children

  1. I LOVE YOU – While our children “know” that we love them, we need to daily demonstrate our love through our words and our actions.
  2. I BELIEVE YOU – Kids may not always tell the truth, but many times they are speaking honestly from their hearts. They need to know that we believe them, especially when having difficult conversations.
  3. I AM SO PROUD OF YOU – Be careful not to put more focus more on the negative behaviors such that you fail to recognize all the good things your children are doing. Our children desire mastery and competence in the classroom, in the creative pursuits, and on the athletic field. They seek approval and validation from parents, teachers, coaches, and their peers. Tell them, “I am so proud of you!” Build them up. Grow their confidence.
  4. I TRUST YOU – As parents, we lay the foundation. We outline our rules and expectations for life. We hope our children will continue to make the right choices even when they are outside of our reach or no longer living in our home. Please tell them that you trust them. You trust them to be kind, to show compassion, and to live righteously.
  5. I’M LISTENING – In the era of smart phones and social media, it is very easy to disengage from people. Our heads are stuck in our phones, even at the dinner table. We risk missing critical moments to connect with our children. So, put down your phones and devices, turn off the TV, and talk. Let them know that you are tuned in and connected, ready to hear all they wish to share.
  6. I UNDERSTAND – Sharing feelings requires honesty and vulnerability, a task that is rarely easy, especially for our kids. Even when you don’t agree with what he or she is saying or doing, it is incredibly powerful to tell your child, “I understand. I hear you.” You are creating a safe space for them to open up to you while validating their emotions.
  7. I ACCEPT YOU – It often seems that the world approves or disapproves based on the external – do you rock with the “in crowd,” are you on trend, how attractive you are, what designer labels you wear, what kind of car you drive, or where you live. Our kids are trying to sort all this out, cultivating their identity and being comfortable with who they truly are. As parents, we must show our babies that whatever the bring to the proverbial table, we accept them fully.
  8. I AM PRAYING FOR YOU – I have witnessed the power of prayer in my life and in the lives of my family and friends. I know that God is a God of miracles, of love that He lavishes upon his children, and of grace and mercy. We won’t always have the answers, but our children need to know that we serve a God who delights in the impossible if we dare to pray and believe. Pray for your children daily and encourage them to do the same, and watch God show up and show out!
  9. I GOT YOUR BACK – No matter what, good, bad, or ugly, our children need to know that we will be there for them. Now that still requires consequences for misdeeds, but we won’t turn away from them in their time of need.
  10. I APOLOGIZE – Neither parents nor kids are perfect. We all make mistakes. I believe it is critically important for parents to apologize to their children when they err. Healthy parenting requires intentionality, praise > criticism, modeling desired behavior, and correcting undesirable actions. How can we expect children to learn and grow in the absence of positive examples? Apologize to your children.

What are you saying to your kids?

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