Encouraging words give your child a boost and demonstrates your genuine interest and support. Children that feel encouraged are much more likely to feel confident, capable and have a healthy sense of self esteem.
Using encouraging words helps your child believe in their ability to attempt, fail and accomplish just about anything.
Encouragement focuses not on perfect results, but on the learning process.
Encouraging words can boost your child’s self-esteem, but more importantly, it will teach your child to face any challenge, without fear or pressure to be perfect.
According to Adlerian psychology (which provides the basis for positive discipline) encouragement is the process of developing a child’s inner resources and providing courage to make positive choices.
The more you believe in your child, the more they believe in themselves.
Different from praise, encouragement focuses on effort, improvement, appreciation and voicing our confidence in our child’s interests and abilities.
So, here are six phrases that focus on encouraging, showing faith and building your child’s inner sense of capability:
- I see you: When your child is working on something, a new project, a new skill, “I see you” is a great way to let them know you are there, present and supporting them. Saying “I see you” also helps us skip offering instructions and “fixing” which takes away from their own learning experience.
- Not Yet: If your child is struggling with a new skill, it can be very encouraging to reflect what they are saying and offer encouragement with the phrase “Not Yet” You haven’t figured out the puzzle piece YET. OR You don’t understand that math homework YET. This small word implies you have faith in their ability to figure it out. Research on grit and resilience from Dr.Carol Dweck says that children that are encouraged with words like NOT YET are more likely to stick to the project at hand until they succeed!
- I believe you: There are quite some emotional times in our children’s lives and how they perceive certain events may be vastly different than how we perceive them. Your child may feel scared, worried, anxious or cheated at times. It may seem simple or straightforward to you, but these feelings are very real to your child. It’s very encouraging to a child when we believe and honor their genuine feelings. I believe you might sound like: I believe you are scared. I believe you didn’t like the way your friend treated you. I believe you don’t want to take that test. Believing isn’t the same as agreeing, it is simply a way to validate your child’s feelings.
- How was that? Letting children own their own experiences before we assign value to them can be quite boosting to their esteem. I really like asking my children after they have accomplished, attempted or failed at something “How was that for you?” because it allows them to reflect on their own experience or efforts without any judgement on my part.
When my son received a gold medal in his very first Karate tournament, we were all very surprised. Not because he isn’t capable, but because the weeks leading up to the tournament, he was very nervous and worried about it. I had encouraged his progress and validated his struggles. After each class asking “How was class for you today?” And he shared about his many struggles and small successes. And I got to listen.
The day of the tournament, when he got off the podium, I knew exactly what to say: … “How was that for you?” and he was so excited “Amazing, so amazing. I can’t believe it. I won gold! Gold. This feels so good. I did it. I really did it. All that practice was so worth it. ”
It was his moment, and he owned it. Watching him reflect on his own effort and accomplishments: priceless!
- You figured it out: This is an excellent phrase to acknowledge their effort without judgement. If it took three or three hundred attempts, “You figured it out” puts the emphasis and encouragement in the right place — your child for sticking with it and finally getting it done!
- I love you: Tried and true, I love you never gets old! Every child, in a moment of failure or accomplishment wants to feel and know that they are loved. Also just randomly and completely unrelated to any tasks, make sure you are letting your child know you love them. This can be with acts of kindness, a small surprise or a squeezy hug.
When it comes to encouragement, speaking from the heart is so important.
Children carry our words in their hearts for the rest of their lives.
What you say influences your child’s concept of self.
“You can do it” eventually becomes “I can do it!”
“I see you” becomes “I matter.”
Want to raise a child with a strong sense of capability and good self esteem? Watch your child with the intention to notice and encourage. Allow time for learning to unfold at it’s own necessary pace. Notice progress and believe in your child’s potential.
Peace & Be Well,
Latest posts by Ariadne Brill (see all)
- Want to correct your child’s ‘bad’ behaviour with positive parenting – Try this. - July 4, 2022
- Child Misbehavior: Here’s How to Make Lasting Changes and Teach your Child How to Behave Better. - May 18, 2022
- These are the Most Encouraging Words Every Child Needs To Hear From Their Parents - May 3, 2022