4 Important Things Your Children Need to Hear

4 Important Things Your Children Need to Hear

As parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and teachers, there is no more important of a job than raising the kids in our lives into successful adults. It would seem as if they are like little sponges, soaking up every bit of the environment around them. They will even pick up on things you didn’t realize they know about.  

Being an amazing role model can often be difficult at times. How we react during times of stress, like those times in a fit of road rage or when we accidentally drop something on our foot, is how they will often react to those things too. Sometimes, we’re not exactly sure what to say or how to discipline.

It’s not just our actions they take to heart, but how we talk to them and mold them. Our words have a bigger impact than you might even imagine. Children will often shape their view of themselves and the world around them by how they are treated by their parents. You hear stories of little kids desperate for their parent’s attention and if neglected, will often go about getting into trouble to ensure they get the attention they desire.

Yet, when you speak a message of hope to them and are honest, you can see a total difference in their eyes. If you also encourage them and help them grow, and not just constantly negative, it will have amazing results in how your kids see themselves. You’re essentially molding your child’s future a single word at a time. Groza Learning Center shares four things your child needs to hear:

#1: I’m Proud of You.

Who doesn’t like to hear that they’re doing a great job? Children might not have the responsibilities weighing them down like adults do, but they often work hard to accomplish goals put before them. If they consistently do their chores well without any arguments or regularly bring home good greats, there’s nothing wrong with saying you’re proud of them. This encouragement will keep them on the right track, where negative words and added pressure to ‘do better’ might discourage them.

#2: That’s a Good Choice.

Kids often love to be independent. They want to make their own choices, especially as they get older. The problem is, they can’t see the big picture. They don’t know why they can’t touch the stove until they get burned and realize actions have consequences. A lot of times, parents only punish kids when they do wrong, but fail to tell them when they made a good choice. You don’t have to celebrate every good decision they make, but acknowledging it helps them learn what’s right as much as punishment helps them learn what’s wrong.

#3: Have fun!

It seems as if this world forces our kids to grow up quicker and make more adult decisions before they’re ready. That’s unfortunate. They’re so busy being forced to act like adults that they forget how to have fun and be kids. A kid’s life should be full of fun times, wild imagination, and making memories that will last a lifetime. So make sure they know it’s okay to have fun.

#4: I’m Happy You’re Here!

It’s not rare for a child to question their place within the family unit, especially if they have many siblings. With bullying rampant in our schools and times becoming increasingly difficult, kids can begin to question who they are and whether or not they belong. This is especially true if their parents spend a lot of late nights working. They might not understand the whole financial situation and think work is more important than they are. So take the time to make sure they know how important they are to the you and to the family as a whole.

Our kids are precious. You will never do anything more important than to raise your kids to become upstanding citizens. It goes far beyond keeping them away from trouble, but you’re also in charge of how they feel about themselves. One wrong word can have devastating or healing effects.  


 About the Author: Scott Groza

Scott Groza has more than ten years experience teaching. Through both public and private school positions, he has seen how students can be overlooked, pushed aside, and virtually become invisible in the schools they are in.

In 2002, Scott and his wife founded The Groza Learning Center, located in California. It started as a vision from Scott and his wife to aid those students who were struggling in their academic endeavors. The center offers integrative learning experiences for all students in grades pre-K through college level through a holistic approach to learning that not only considers the requirements of local school boards for graduation, but also the individual needs of the students and their families. Each student is immersed in an environment where they feel welcomed, comforted and treated as the success story that they will become.

4 Comments

Jerilee

I wish I could send my 2 year old to this school. It sounds fabulous. Great job guys and lovely article really enjoyed it. Shall definitely quote.

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Anxiety is a sign that the brain has registered threat and is mobilising the body to get to safety. One of the ways it does this is by organising the body for movement - to fight the danger or flee the danger. 

If there is no need or no opportunity for movement, that fight or flight fuel will still be looking for expression. This can come out as wriggly, fidgety, hyperactive behaviour. This is why any of us might pace or struggle to sit still when we’re anxious. 

If kids or teens are bouncing around, wriggling in their chairs, or having trouble sitting still, it could be anxiety. Remember with anxiety, it’s not about what is actually safe but about what the brain perceives. New or challenging work, doing something unfamiliar, too much going on, a tired or hungry body, anything that comes with any chance of judgement, failure, humiliation can all throw the brain into fight or flight.

When this happens, the body might feel busy, activated, restless. This in itself can drive even more anxiety in kids or teens. Any of us can struggle when we don’t feel comfortable in our own bodies. 

Anxiety is energy with nowhere to go. To move through anxiety, give the energy somewhere to go - a fast walk, a run, a whole-body shake, hula hooping, kicking a ball - any movement that spends the energy will help bring the brain and body back to calm.♥️
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#parenting #anxietyinkids #childanxiety #parenting #parent
This is not bad behaviour. It’s big behaviour a from a brain that has registered threat and is working hard to feel safe again. 

‘Threat’ isn’t about what is actually safe or not, but about what the brain perceives. The brain can perceive threat when there is any chance missing out on or messing up something important, anything that feels unfamiliar, hard, or challenging, feeling misunderstood, thinking you might be angry or disappointed with them, being separated from you, being hungry or tired, anything that pushes against their sensory needs - so many things. 

During anxiety, the amygdala in the brain is switched to high volume, so other big feelings will be too. This might look like tears, sadness, or anger. 

Big feelings have a good reason for being there. The amygdala has the very important job of keeping us safe, and it does this beautifully, but not always with grace. One of the ways the amygdala keeps us safe is by calling on big feelings to recruit social support. When big feelings happen, people notice. They might not always notice the way we want to be noticed, but we are noticed. This increases our chances of safety. 

Of course, kids and teens still need our guidance and leadership and the conversations that grow them, but not during the emotional storm. They just won’t hear you anyway because their brain is too busy trying to get back to safety. In that moment, they don’t want to be fixed or ‘grown’. They want to feel seen, safe and heard. 

During the storm, preserve your connection with them as much as you can. You might not always be able to do this, and that’s okay. None of this is about perfection. If you have a rupture, repair it as soon as you can. Then, when their brains and bodies come back to calm, this is the time for the conversations that will grow them. 

Rather than, ‘What consequences do they need to do better?’, shift to, ‘What support do they need to do better?’ The greatest support will come from you in a way they can receive: ‘What happened?’ ‘What can you do differently next time?’ ‘You’re the most wonderful kid and I know you didn’t want this to happen. How can you put things right? Do you need my help with that?’♥️
Big behaviour is a sign of a nervous system in distress. Before anything, that vulnerable nervous system needs to be brought back home to felt safety. 

This will happen most powerfully with relationship and connection. Breathe and be with. Let them know you get it. This can happen with words or nonverbals. It’s about feeling what they feel, but staying regulated.

If they want space, give them space but stay in emotional proximity, ‘Ok I’m just going to stay over here. I’m right here if you need.’

If they’re using spicy words to make sure there is no confusion about how they feel about you right now, flag the behaviour, then make your intent clear, ‘I know how upset you are and I want to understand more about what’s happening for you. I’m not going to do this while you’re speaking to me like this. You can still be mad, but you need to be respectful. I’m here for you.’

Think of how you would respond if a friend was telling you about something that upset her. You wouldn’t tell her to calm down, or try to fix her (she’s not broken), or talk to her about her behaviour. You would just be there. You would ‘drop an anchor’ and steady those rough seas around her until she feels okay enough again. Along the way you would be doing things that let her know your intent to support her. You’d do this with you facial expressions, your voice, your body, your posture. You’d feel her feels, and she’d feel you ‘getting her’. It’s about letting her know that you understand what she’s feeling, even if you don’t understand why (or agree with why). 

It’s the same for our children. As their important big people, they also need leadership. The time for this is after the storm has passed, when their brains and bodies feel safe and calm. Because of your relationship, connection and their felt sense of safety, you will have access to their ‘thinking brain’. This is the time for those meaningful conversations: 
- ‘What happened?’
- ‘What did I do that helped/ didn’t help?’
- ‘What can you do differently next time?’
- ‘You’re a great kid and I know you didn’t want this to happen, but here we are. What can you do to put things right? Do you need my help with that?’♥️
As children grow, and especially by adolescence, we have the illusion of control but whether or not we have any real influence will be up to them. The temptation to control our children will always come from a place of love. Fear will likely have a heavy hand in there too. When they fall, we’ll feel it. Sometimes it will feel like an ache in our core. Sometimes it will feel like failure or guilt, or anger. We might wish we could have stopped them, pushed a little harder, warned a little bigger, stood a little closer. We’re parents and we’re human and it’s what this parenting thing does. It makes fear and anxiety billow around us like lost smoke, too easily.

Remember, they want you to be proud of them, and they want to do the right thing. When they feel your curiosity over judgement, and the safety of you over shame, it will be easier for them to open up to you. Nobody will guide them better than you because nobody will care more about where they land. They know this, but the magic happens when they also know that you are safe and that you will hold them, their needs, their opinions and feelings with strong, gentle, loving hands, no matter what.♥️
Anger is the ‘fight’ part of the fight or flight response. It has important work to do. Anger never exists on its own. It exists to hold other more vulnerable emotions in a way that feels safer. It’s sometimes feels easier, safer, more acceptable, stronger to feel the ‘big’ that comes with anger, than the vulnerability that comes with anxiety, sadness, loneliness. This isn’t deliberate. It’s just another way our bodies and brains try to keep us safe. 

The problem isn’t the anger. The problem is the behaviour that can come with the anger. Let there be no limits on thoughts and feelings, only behaviour. When children are angry, as long as they are safe and others are safe, we don’t need to fix their anger. They aren’t broken. Instead, drop the anchor: as much as you can - and this won’t always be easy - be a calm, steadying, loving presence to help bring their nervous systems back home to calm. 

Then, when they are truly calm, and with love and leadership, have the conversations that will grow them - 
- What happened? 
- What can you do differently next time?
- You’re a really great kid. I know you didn’t want this to happen but here we are. How can you make things right. Would you like some ideas? Do you need some help with that?
- What did I do that helped? What did I do that didn’t help? Is there something that might feel more helpful next time?

When their behaviour falls short of ‘adorable’, rather than asking ‘What consequences they need to do better?’ let the question be, ‘What support do they need to do better.’ Often, the biggest support will be a conversation with you, and that will be enough.♥️
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#parenting #positiveparenting #mindfulparenting #anxietyinkids

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