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 has a way of demanding ALL of the attention. It shifts the focus to what feels scary, or too big, or impossible, or what needs to be avoided, or what feels bad, or what our kiddos can’t do. As the grown ups who love them, we know they are capable of greatness, even if that greatness is made up of lots of tiny steps, (as great things tend to be).
Physical activity is the natural end to the fight or flight response (which is where the physical feelings of an anxiety attack come from). Walking will help to burn the adrenalin and neurochemicals that have surged the body to prepare it for flight or fight, and which are causing the physical symptoms (racy heart, feeling sick, sweaty, short breaths, dry mouth, trembly or tense in the limbs etc). As well as this, the rhythm of walking will help to calm their anxious amygdala. Brains love rhythm, and walking is a way to give them this. 
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Try to help your young one access their steady breaths while walking, but it is very likely that they will only be able to do this if they’ve practised outside of an anxiety attack. During anxiety, the brain is too busy to try anything unfamiliar. Practising will help to create neural pathways that will make breathing an easier, more accessible response during anxiety. If they aren't able to access strong steady breaths, you might need to do it for them. This will be just as powerful - in the same way they can catch your anxiety, they will also be able to catch your calm. When you are able to assume a strong, calm, steady presence, this will clear the way for your brave ones to do the same.
The more your young one is able to verbalise what their anxiety feels like, the more capacity they will have to identify it, acknowledge it and act more deliberately in response to it. With this level of self-awareness comes an increased ability to manage the feeling when it happens, and less likelihood that the anxiety will hijack their behaviour. 

Now - let’s give their awareness some muscle. If they are experts at what their anxiety feels like, they are also experts at what it takes to be brave. They’ve felt anxiety and they’ve moved through it, maybe not every time - none of us do it every time - maybe not even most times, but enough times to know what it takes and how it feels when they do. Maybe it was that time they walked into school when everything in them was wanting to walk away. Maybe that time they went in for goal, or down the water slide, or did the presentation in front of the class. Maybe that time they spoke their own order at the restaurant, or did the driving test, or told you there would be alcohol at the party. Those times matter, because they show them they can move through anxiety towards brave. They might also taken for granted by your young one, or written off as not counting as brave - but they do count. They count for everything. They are evidence that they can do hard things, even when those things feel bigger than them. 

So let’s expand those times with them and for them. Let’s expand the wisdom that comes with that, and bring their brave into the light as well. ‘What helped you do that?’ ‘What was it like when you did?’ ‘I know everything in you wanted to walk away, but you didn’t. Being brave isn’t about doing things easily. It’s about doing those hard things even when they feel bigger than us. I see you doing that all the time. It doesn’t matter that you don’t do them every time -none of us are brave every time- but you have so much courage in you my love, even when anxiety is making you feel otherwise.’

Let them also know that you feel like this too sometimes. It will help them see that anxiety happens to all of us, and that even though it tells a deficiency story, it is just a story and one they can change the ending of.
During adolescence, our teens are more likely to pay attention to the positives of a situation over the negatives. This can be a great thing. The courage that comes from this will help them try new things, explore their independence, and learn the things they need to learn to be happy, healthy adults. But it can also land them in bucketloads of trouble. 

Here’s the thing. Our teens don’t want to do the wrong thing and they don’t want to go behind our backs, but they also don’t want to be controlled by us, or have any sense that we might be stifling their way towards independence. The cold truth of it all is that if they want something badly enough, and if they feel as though we are intruding or that we are making arbitrary decisions just because we can, or that we don’t get how important something is to them, they have the will, the smarts and the means to do it with or without or approval. 

So what do we do? Of course we don’t want to say ‘yes’ to everything, so our job becomes one of influence over control. To keep them as safe as we can, rather than saying ‘no’ (which they might ignore anyway) we want to engage their prefrontal cortex (thinking brain) so they can be more considered in their decision making. 

Our teens are very capable of making good decisions, but because the rational, logical, thinking prefrontal cortex won’t be fully online until their 20s (closer to 30 in boys), we need to wake it up and bring it to the decision party whenever we can. 

Do this by first softening the landing:
‘I can see how important this is for you. You really want to be with your friends. I absolutely get that.’
Then, gently bring that thinking brain to the table:
‘It sounds as though there’s so much to love in this for you. I don’t want to get in your way but I need to know you’ve thought about the risks and planned for them. What are some things that could go wrong?’
Then, we really make the prefrontal cortex kick up a gear by engaging its problem solving capacities:
‘What’s the plan if that happens.’
Remember, during adolescence we switch from managers to consultants. Assume a leadership presence, but in a way that is warm, loving, and collaborative.♥️
Big feelings and big behaviour are a call for us to come closer. They won’t always feel like that, but they are. Not ‘closer’ in an intrusive ‘I need you to stop this’ way, but closer in a ‘I’ve got you, I can handle all of you’ kind of way - no judgement, no need for you to be different - I’m just going to make space for this feeling to find its way through. 

Our kids and teens are no different to us. When we have feelings that fill us to overloaded, the last thing we need is someone telling us that it’s not the way to behave, or to calm down, or that we’re unbearable when we’re like this. Nup. What we need, and what they need, is a safe place to find our out breath, to let the energy connected to that feeling move through us and out of us so we can rest. 
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But how? First, don’t take big feelings personally. They aren’t a reflection on you, your parenting, or your child. Big feelings have wisdom contained in them about what’s needed more, or less, or what feels intolerable right now. Sometimes it might be as basic as a sleep or food. Maybe more power, influence, independence, or connection with you. Maybe there’s too much stress and it’s hitting their ceiling and ricocheting off their edges. Like all wisdom, it doesn’t always find a gentle way through. That’s okay, that will come. Our kids can’t learn to manage big feelings, or respect the wisdom embodied in those big feelings if they don’t have experience with big feelings. 
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We also need to make sure we are responding to them in the moment, not a fear or an inherited ‘should’ of our own. These are the messages we swallowed whole at some point - ‘happy kids should never get sad or angry’, ‘kids should always behave,’ ‘I should be able to protect my kids from feeling bad,’ ‘big feelings are bad feelings’, ‘bad behaviour means bad kids, which means bad parents.’ All these shoulds are feisty show ponies that assume more ‘rightness’ than they deserve. They are usually historic, and when we really examine them, they’re also irrelevant.
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Finally, try not to let the symptoms of big feelings disrupt the connection. Then, when calm comes, we will have the influence we need for the conversations that matter.

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