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11 Things Kids Secretly Want You To Tell Them Every Day

11 Things Kids Secretly Want You To Tell Them Every Day

It’s the little things that make a difference. Think back to your childhood. What did your parents do or say that most encouraged you? Children are highly sensitive, and uttering the right words and phrases on a regular basis can dramatically shape how they perceive themselves and the world around them. Here are 11 things parents should be telling their kids every day.

1. “I love you”

All children want their parents’ love, and they will never get tired of hearing how much Mom and Dad adore them. A study published in the International Journal of Intercultural Relations showed that females tend to say this more frequently than males, so if you’re a father then take note! Your children will really benefit from having a male role model who isn’t afraid to show his feelings, so tell your kids how much you love them.

2. “I appreciate your efforts”

Research with young children suggests that when they are praised for their efforts rather than their grades, they are more likely to try harder in the future. This sets up a virtuous cycle whereby they put more effort into their work, obtain higher grades, feel a greater sense of self-satisfaction, feel inclined to try harder, and so on.

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3. “I’m so glad to spend time with you”

Many parents are forced to juggle multiple responsibilities, such as working a full-time job, keeping a household running smoothly, and caring for elderly relatives. Children can pick up on these pressures, and appreciate it when their parents let them know how much they enjoy spending time with them.

4. “You’re wonderful”

Children are now under more pressure than ever before. They have frequent tests at school, the pressure to get a good job starts at an increasingly young age, and they face a barrage of media messages telling them how they should and shouldn’t look. This means that a simple “You’re wonderful” can go a long way for modern kids, who need reassuring that they are fine just the way they are.

5. “Keep trying”

Kids want and need their parents to encourage them when they fail. Research shows that this is especially useful and important for kids from disadvantaged backgrounds. 

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6. “You’re on the right track”

When children aren’t quite sure whether they are on course to meet a personal goal or learn a new skill, they often look to their parents for reassurance and guidance. A simple “You’re getting there!” or “You’re on the right track!” can keep a child motivated when they would otherwise have given up.

7. “You’re so kind”

Recent research indicates that children are more likely to value high grades and academic ability over being kind and caring towards others. What can we do to reverse this trend? Start by celebrating kindness in your children whenever possible. It will give them a warm glow to have their caring nature recognized.

8. “You’re special”

Every child is special to their parents, but how often do we remind them that they are irreplaceable? Everyone likes to feel as though they are accepted and honored for who they are, whatever their age.

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9. “Let’s have fun”

Even the most advanced, studious of kids need to have fun from time to time. Whilst it’s important for them to play with others their own age and develop the skills needed to get along with peers, having fun with their parents is a great way of building fond childhood memories as well as deepening the parent-child bond.

10. “I trust you”

Kids like to feel as though they can take on grownup responsibilities. Research shows that what we expect of children is usually what they give us by way of return, so start treating them as responsible adults-in-training and let them rise to the occasion.

11. “You can do that, I’m sure”

The world can be a tough place, but parental support can make all the difference. Children face challenges every day, whether it’s learning to tie their shoelaces or transfer to a new school. Getting some much-needed encouragement from Mom or Dad can instil self-belief that lasts not only in the short-term, but well into adulthood.

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Parenting is a demanding job, but taking just a few seconds each day to remind your child just how great they are will pay off in the future. As adults, they will thank you for believing in and supporting them.

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Jay Hill

Freelance Writer

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Published on January 30, 2019

How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

In roughly 60 percent of two-parent households with children under the age of 18, both parents work full time. But who takes time off work when the kids are sick in your house? And if you are a manager, how do you react when a man says he needs time to take his baby to the pediatrician?

The sad truth is, the default in many companies and families is to value the man’s work over the woman’s—even when there is no significant difference in their professional obligations or compensation. This translates into stereotypes in the workplace that women are the primary caregivers, which can negatively impact women’s success on the job and their upward mobility.

According to a Pew Research Center analysis of long-term time-use data (1965–2011), fathers in dual-income couples devote significantly less time than mothers do to child care.[1] Dads are doing more than twice as much housework as they used to (from an average of about four hours per week to about 10 hours), but there is still a significant imbalance.

This is not just an issue between spouses; it’s a workplace culture issue. In many offices, it is still taboo for dads to openly express that they have family obligations that need their attention. In contrast, the assumption that moms will be on the front lines of any family crisis is one that runs deep.

Consider an example from my company. A few years back, one of our team members joined us for an off-site meeting soon after returning from maternity leave. Not even two hours into her trip, her husband called to say that the baby had been crying nonstop. While there was little our colleague could practically do to help with the situation, this call was clearly unsettling, and the result was that her attention was divided for the rest of an important business dinner.

This was her first night away since the baby’s birth, and I know that her spouse had already been on several business trips before this event. Yet, I doubt she called him during his conferences to ask child-care questions. Like so many moms everywhere, she was expected to figure things out on her own.

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The numbers show that this story is far from the exception. In another Pew survey, 47 percent of dual-income parents agreed that the moms take on more of the work when a child gets sick.[2] In addition, 39 percent of working mothers said they had taken a significant amount of time off from work to care for their child compared to just 24 percent of working fathers. Mothers are also more likely than fathers (27 percent to 10 percent) to say they had quit their job at some point for family reasons.

Before any amazing stay-at-home-dads post an angry rebuttal comment, I want to be very clear that I am not judging how families choose to divide and conquer their personal and professional responsibilities; that’s 100 percent their prerogative. Rather, I am taking aim at the culture of inequity that persists even when spouses have similar or identical professional responsibilities. This is an important issue for all of us because we are leaving untapped business and human potential on the table.

What’s more, I think my fellow men can do a lot about this. For those out there who still privately think that being a good dad just means helping out mom, it’s time to man up. Stop expecting working partners—who have similar professional responsibilities—to bear the majority of the child-care responsibilities as well.

Consider these ways to support your working spouse:

1. Have higher expectations for yourself as a father; you are a parent, not a babysitter.

Know who your pediatrician is and how to reach him or her. Have a back-up plan for transportation and emergency coverage.

Don’t simply expect your partner to manage all these invisible tasks on her own. Parenting takes effort and preparation for the unexpected.

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As in other areas of life, the way to build confidence is to learn by doing. Moms aren’t born knowing how to do this stuff any more than dads are.

2. Treat your partner the way you’d want to be treated.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard a man on a business trip say to his wife on a call something to the effect of, “I am in the middle of a meeting. What do you want me to do about it?”

However, when the tables are turned, men often make that same call at the first sign of trouble.

Distractions like this make it difficult to focus and engage with work, which perpetuates the stereotype that working moms aren’t sufficiently committed.

When you’re in charge of the kids, do what she would do: Figure it out.

3. When you need to take care of your kids, don’t make an excuse that revolves around your partner’s availability.

This implies that the children are her first priority and your second.

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I admit I have been guilty in the past of telling clients, “I have the kids today because my wife had something she could not move.” What I should have said was, “I’m taking care of my kids today.”

Why is it so hard for men to admit they have personal responsibilities? Remember that you are setting an example for your sons and daughters, and do the right thing.

4. As a manager, be supportive of both your male and female colleagues when unexpected situations arise at home.

No one likes or wants disruptions, but life happens, and everyone will face a day when the troubling phone call comes from his sitter, her school nurse, or even elderly parents.

Accommodating personal needs is not a sign of weakness as a leader. Employees will be more likely to do great work if they know that you care about their personal obligations and family—and show them that you care about your own.

5. Don’t keep score or track time.

At home, it’s juvenile to get into debates about who last changed a diaper or did the dishes; everyone needs to contribute, but the big picture is what matters. Is everyone healthy and getting enough sleep? Are you enjoying each other’s company?

In business, too, avoid the trap of punching a clock. The focus should be on outcomes and performance rather than effort and inputs. That’s the way to maintain momentum toward overall goals.

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The Bottom Line

To be clear, I recognize that a great many working dads are doing a terrific job both on the home front and in their professional lives. My concern is that these standouts often aren’t visible to their colleagues; they intentionally or inadvertently let their work as parents fly under the radar. Dads need to be open and honest about family responsibilities to change perceptions in the workplace.

The question “How do you balance it all?” should not be something that’s just asked of women. Frankly, no one can answer that question. Juggling a career and parental responsibilities is tough. At times, really tough.

But it’s something that more parents should be doing together, as a team. This can be a real bonus for the couple relationship as well, because nothing gets in the way of good partnership faster than feelings of inequity.

On the plus side, I can tell you that parenting skills really do get better with practice—and that’s great for people of both sexes. I think our cultural expectations that women are the “nurturers” and men are the “providers” needs to evolve. Expanding these definitions will open the doors to richer contributions from everyone, because women can and should be both—and so should men.

Featured photo credit: NeONBRAND via unsplash.com

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