Kids can smell a phony a mile away. After I would attempt to build up my children following a disappointment or even an event that went well, my kids used to say, “You’re my mom. You have to say that. You don’t count.” So… I have learned to make my words COUNT.

When we encourage our children, we must be honest. 

Often when we give our children words of encouragement, we generalize. We will say, “Good job!” Or  “Way to go!” Sometimes we may even fake it, “Oh, you did that really well.” (When they really didn’t.)

Romans 12: 9 gives parents the best advice for speaking words that make a difference. It says, “Love must be sincere.”  

Being sincere and specific are the best ways to impact our kids. 

“All the colors you used in your drawing really makes the scenery pop. Beautiful.”

Here are four more tips to effectively impact and motivate your children over the course of their lives.

H : Be humble and honest in your approach. Admit you are not perfect. No one can do everything well. You may even want to ask, “What do you think needs improvement?”

E : Show empathy while being effective. Listen to your child when he is expressing frustration with a particular task. Then offer up guidance and show your child how to navigate the experience. “How can I help you?” or “Here is a way in which you can do this.”

A:  Express your affection by speaking words of affirmation. Let your child know you have confidence in his abilities, that he is capable.  “I know you can manage this task, you possess the quality of determination.”

R: Relate to your child by spending recreational time together. Hang-out and have fun together. Give him the present of your presence.

As parents, we desire to positively influence our children. In order to do so we must be real not “stinky” while we are building them up.

And let’s remember to…. H.E.A.R.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up…
1 Thessalonians 5:11a

© LoriWildenberg. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Lori Wildenberg is a licensed parent and family educator, parent coach, and co-founder of 1Corinthians13 She has written 6 books including Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home; The Messy Life of Parenting: Powerful and Practical Ways to Strengthen Family Connections; and her most recent book, Messy Hope: Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety, Depression, or Suicidal Ideation. Contact Lori for your next event or for parent consulting or parent training courses. Lori can also be found mentoring over at the MOMS Together Group on Facebook.

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