Kids need a lot from us as they grow. They don’t always realize it, but we do. We see it in their faces when they have had a bad day and need a hug. Their eyes show what they don’t say. When our child falls and skins a knee, they might want to act tough but yet, the tears show up. If the injuries are worse from a harder fall, we’re there to bring them up. When they are sick, there we are with soup and hugs.
As they get older, kids become more aware of the world and other people around them. Sometimes this means that their self-esteem takes a hit. This can get a bit hard for us to watch, but it’s even harder for them to take. Kids don’t always want us to see what they’re dealing with, so they sometimes hide it from us. Hiding their feelings from us can become detrimental to their lives, so it’s important that you watch for signs like becoming withdrawn, changes in eating/sleeping habits, etc. These can lead to major issues that can require outside help.
WHAT ARE AFFIRMATIONS?
One way that you can help your child during hard moments, or even days, is using affirmations. These are phrases that you can use to remind your child of how amazing they are and encourage them to keep going. Your child will remember that you care and it will give them the boost they need to push on. They might think you’re a bit of a nuisance at first and may even try to brush you off, but keep trying.
Kids run into bouts of low self-esteem or self-worth for many reasons. Their looks, talents, grades, battles with siblings, and that’s just the beginning. It’s a big world out there, even in elementary school. It’s hard to compete with other kids, including in the sports and other activities that they love so much. Sometimes that competition gets to be so much it drives them away.
We’re raising a generation of kids that is a lot different from we were- texting wasn’t a thing when I was 14, the age my oldest child is. I didn’t get my first cell phone until 2001 when I went to college. My oldest got one earlier this year and he’s heavily monitored. Social media is an interesting world. Our kids need to know that they’re cared for just as they are- not what they think they should be for others.
Affirmations also promote positivity, self-esteem, and bring positive thoughts back to the mind when someone is in a negative mindset. Everyone can use that bit of help sometimes.
- “I am strong”
- “I can do hard things”
- “I am beautiful, inside and out”
- “I love life”
- “I am safe”
- “My opinions matter”
- “Everyday is a fresh start”
- “I can do anything I put my mind to”
- “I am worthy of love”
- “I am loved”
If doing this face to face doesn’t work for either of you, you can try these ideas:
- Writing the affirmations on a post-it note and leaving them somewhere your child can easily find them
- Sending them via email/text (teens love texting)
- Drawing pictures of the affirmation (ex. A heart with the words inside) if you’re really artistic and leaving it on their dresser, on the kitchen table, etc.
- Leaving it as a message on their voicemail
- Creating a meme including the affirmation
Kids need to know that someone cares, especially their parents. This is vitally important. They feel loved and worthy, which leads to more positive actions from them, and they can spread this to others. There’s always the chance this can go in the opposite direction, but it usually doesn’t. When kids don’t get the love and attention they need, they’ll go somewhere else for it, which can lead to negative actions and consequences.
There are many ways that we, as parents, can show our kids that we care about them. Every child is different and should be celebrated for that. It doesn’t take a lot of time, as many of us have learned, but time is what kids want the most. Like most kids, my kids don’t really want my husband and I to spend a lot of money on them (even though they won’t complain if we do). They just want us to hang out with them. Some of their best memories are likely of us just hanging out at home or playing in a nearby park. The time we spend with our kids reminds them that they are worthy and loved.
Affirmations are a reminder of that love and kids can take that with them wherever they go. They are a tiny and fast booster that can serve as another parenting lesson on the go.