by Joy Burgess
We are generally aware of what we say to our teens. We try to be positive, not use negative language, try to speak clearly so that there is no question about what you are trying to communicate to them. But did you ever think about what you don't say to your teen? Are there things that you aren't saying to your teen that they want or need to hear? "What do you wish your parents would say to you?" This was the provocative question posed on the website Words are Powerful: The Love Project.
The answers ranged from simple to complex, from funny to heartbreaking, but through it all, a pattern emerged. There are some consistent things that children not only want, but need to hear from their parents. Words are powerful, but the words we don't say can be just as powerful. Just because you think it, does not mean that your child automatically knows it, or doesn't need to hear it.
Have you said these ten things to your child recently?
1) I love you
Of course you love your child, no doubt about it, but when was the last time you actually said it? Sometimes we get so wrapped up in what we are doing in our jobs, in our personal lives, in our relationships that we forget to say the obvious but important things. Don't take it for granted that your child knows that you love him or her. Say it. Sometimes they just need to hear the words.
2) I am proud of you
There are things about your child that make you proud. Maybe they have a gentle, giving heart or maybe they have an exceptional artistic ability. Find at least one thing in your child that you are proud of and let them know about it. When you talk about your child to others, what do you say? What elements about him or her do you mention, even brag about to others? If you find that you are only seeing the negative, then it is a good time to find something positive, something good. Then let them know about it. You might be surprised in the attitude change that a simple "I am proud of you" can bring.
3) I support you in the things you want to do in your life
Your teen is not you. They have different likes and dislikes, they have different interests. To many teens, the feeling that they are not recognized as individuals is very real – and very frustrating. Maybe they grew up in a family of lawyers, but they want to be a writer. Maybe they feel drawn to a different religion or lifestyle. Maybe they grew up in a large family with lots of kids, but have chosen to only have one or two children when they "grow up" and start a family. Whatever the differences are, there is usually at least some anxiety involved when they tell you about it. As a loving, supportive parent, just saying "I support you in the things you want to do in your life" can make all the difference.READ More on Ten Things your Teen would like to Hear you say to Them