10 phrases your child should hear often

By Janis Meredith | Posted 4/10/2018

Our words have power. They can hurt, encourage, motivate and destroy. Think of all the words you say in a day. Many could be meaningless and harmful.

I saw a movie called “A Thousand Words,” where a man only had 1,000 words left to speak before he'd die. Everything he said, from ordering food in a restaurant to asking for directions, had to be weighed to see if it was really worth using his valuable words. Suddenly, he became very stingy with his speech. He thought about what he wanted to say and put heartfelt meaning into each word.

If you had a quota of words to use each day, would you choose them more carefully?

RELATED CONTENTSports Parenting 101: Football practice isn't day care

Are you the parent of a youth, middle school or high school football player who’s looking for more tips or resources? Check out our Parent Guide, Parents 101 course, nutritious recipes and more.

If you had to ration your words, what would you be sure to say every day to your child? Would you waste it on nagging, yelling or gossip? Would you choose to dispense words that have the power to nurture, heal, motivate and guide?

To foster security, self-esteem and strength in your child, be sure your daily word ration includes phrases such as these:

1. I love you (and nothing you do or say will change that): You can never, ever say this too much. You may think it’s going in one ear and out the other, but trust me, it isn't.

2. I'm proud of you: My dad looked deep into my eyes and told me this often. I believed him.

3. I believe in you: Words like those help your child soar.

4. Will you forgive me?: Not easy, I know. But sometimes it’s the only right thing to do.

5. I'm listening: For this to be believable, put down your phone, iPad, book or newspaper and look at them eye-to-eye.

6. I forgive you: Say it and then show them you mean it by not bringing up the past over and over again.

7. What do you think/feel?: You don’t have to agree with what they say, but listening will validate that their opinions and ideas are worthwhile.

8. How was your day?: You may not get an answer, but don’t stop asking. It’s your way of saying “I care, and I’m interested in you.”

9. Let’s talk: This is easy when kids are small, but the older they get, the more resistant they may become to good communication. Don’t give up on them. Let them know you're always available to talk, listen and love on them. Let them know it's an ongoing invitation and you're there when they're ready to share.

10. You can do this: Encourage your child to not quit, keep pursuing dreams and fight when things get tough.

What would you add to this list? 

Janis B. Meredith is a life coach for sports parents. She provides resources to help parents raise champions. Learn more about how she can help parents have Less Stress and More Fun in youth sports.

This is an updated version of a blog that originally published July 21, 2014.