Whether or not we realize it, most of us operate on default based upon the messages our parents communicated to us as children. If we were lucky enough to have folks who made it their mission to empower us, the chances are better that we take a sense of high self-esteem into the world every day. As we groom our own children to become the planet’s future leaders, remember that what we tell them will influence how they show up for life. Keeping that in mind, here are the 10 best things every mother ever told her child:
1. “I love you.”
There are people in this world who don’t ever hear their parents say, “I love you.” We all want to hear it. We all need to feel it. Not hearing the words, “I love you,” could impair a child’s future ability to express love and affection to others, causing the cycle to repeat.
“What the world needs now is love, sweet love.” We each have the chance to make that happen. We can start by telling the child in our lives that we love them…every day.
2. “You can do it.”
In the eyes and heart of a child, the smallest of things can look and feel scarier than they should (Santa Claus, for example). A mother who tells her child they “can do it” is teaching that child to face life’s obstacles with courage and resolve. This child will grow into an adult who will be willing to take risks by looking fear straight in the eye and saying, “Let’s do it!”
The willingness of any individual to keep pushing the boundaries will ensure his or her personal evolution and the expansion of our species. (Think Ben Franklin and the light bulb here!)
3. “Everything is going to be OK.”
In today’s world, kids face different challenges than any of us ever could have imagined even a decade ago. Unfortunately, more kids are turning to permanent solutions (like suicide) to solve temporary problems. When your child is going through pain, make them a promise.
Promise your child that if they just hold on, the pain will pass, and everything will be OK. By helping to strengthen your child’s determination when life gets to be too much, you will be empowering them with the sliver of hope we all need to feel sometimes. Your child will also learn hard times aren’t forever, and by experiencing pain, a person can come out the other end stronger, wiser, and happier.
4. “Be kind.”
People can be mean. In fact, sometimes these mean people can be our own siblings. The best way to disarm someone else’s meanness is with kindness.
When your child is dealing with a Mean Girls situation, remind them that responding with unkindness will only breed more hostility and drama. It is important for a child to stand up for themself in a situation where they are being mistreated, but coach your child to do this with dignity and respect. If your child will be placing themself in harm’s way by responding (even with kindness), give your child permission to do what they can to remove the mean person from their life (with your support, if necessary).
5. “Be yourself.”
This is the mantra of many parents. It is, however, difficult for parents to truly allow their kids to be themselves. We sometimes treat our children as though they are here to please us. As a result, we can punish them for acting in ways we don’t approve of, but that might be authentic for them.
The fact is that each of us, including our children, are here to realize our own purpose. It’s difficult to let kids make their own ‘mistakes’ when we ‘know’ how things are going to turn out. As parents, we should understand our children’s decisions are necessary for their personal growth. The lessons they learn from acting authentically will be much stronger than any lesson they might learn from parents just telling them ‘how it is’ or how they ‘should’ be.
You can still coach, guide and reprimand your child. However, by giving your kid some freedom to grow into their fullest potential, you give the both of you a gift: the gift of letting go (for you) and the gift of expression (for them).
6. “After you eat your broccoli, it’s time for bed.”
Moms really know what they are talking about here. To keep your body and mind in optimum performance mode, you must take care of yourself by (drumroll)…eating right, getting exercise, and getting enough rest.
Lead your children by example; give yourself the gift of whole, healthy food and adequate sleep. Help your kids in removing the physical, mental and emotional issues that come with poor health and lifestyle choices. Raise your little ones to be thankful for their beautiful, perfect bodies and to treat those bodies with love.
7. “Time out.”
Life isn’t fair. We don’t always get what we want. When this happens to kids, many go into meltdown mode. Actually…this can happen with adults, too; when our plans are derailed by something or someone, it can cause an individual to react out of anger or descend into a bout of despair.
When things go sideways, cultivate in your child the value of taking a ‘time out.’ By learning to stop, step back, and breathe, your kid will learn to regroup. A time out will allow your child the chance to consider a different perspective and potentially redefine the situation in a way that works for him or her. The ability to do this as an adult enables us to create our own happiness by choosing how we will manage things that don’t go our way.
8. “Say, ‘Thank you.’”
Raise a child to say, “Thank you,” so they can learn good manners. More importantly though, teach your child to feel gratitude in their heart for every minute of every day. Regardless of what drama and pain might be happening, there is always an opportunity for something greater in that difficult experience. By raising a child to be thankful in the midst of turmoil, you will be nurturing a resilient human with the power to shift any circumstance into something amazing.
9. “Never quit.”
Life can be hard, even for a kid. School gets tough. So do relationships. As we get older, competition for jobs, money and status turns fierce.
Whatever it is your child wants to accomplish, they should remember to keep on trucking even after failure strikes once, twice, or hundreds of times. Your child should understand that just because they haven’t gotten something ‘right’ yet, things aren’t over. Tell your child that if they hold a dream, they should never quit, and should take little steps every day for as long as they have that dream in their heart.
10. “It’s OK to quit.”
Sometimes dreams change. Sometimes we realize we don’t want something we once did. However, sometimes giving up the pursuit of a dream feels like failure even if we really don’t want the dream anymore.
Give your child permission to call it quits. Remind them that if they are quitting something because that is what they truly want, there is power in quitting. This will serve your child well as they grow into an adult who wants to make a change—be that from a college major, a job, a career, or a life partner.
If you are a parent, remember the force behind these 10 best things every mother ever told her child. Choose your words wisely. Those words will be largely responsible for your child’s destiny and our collective future on this planet.