I raised five kids who are now in their late twenties through early thirties. At the beginning of this life journey, I was idealistic and optimistic, and determined to always be a positive force in my children's lives. I would always be supportive and speak powerful inspiring words, and I would always protect them from anything bad happening to them.
I am now a few decades into this and rather than hoping and guessing about how it would be, I know all too well how it went.
I didn't always come off so great. I didn't always manage to be a positive force for my kids. But man, I sure tried to be.
Looking back, I can remember things I said that were detrimental to my children's well-being and to their trust in me. I can see where I had taken someone else's word for how to interact with my kids, and sometimes the results rang hollow. Those were not powerful words. Live and learn.
I can also look back and see ways in which I was able to reassure and build up my children, that encouraged them to follow their own paths and be compassionate and sensitive to others, people of integrity and courage.
I had been given a gift, a chance to nurture and guide and strengthen five young people. An awesome and overwhelming opportunity and responsibility.
Some good things sprang out of bad scenarios. In those situations, humility and honesty were most effective for all concerned.
Here are some of the powerful things you as a parent can speak into your children:
1) "I'm sorry."
Tempted to fake it and try to cover up the fact that you've just blown it? That is a supreme waste of time, and kids generally see through it. Their respect for you will only go down. Better to tell the truth.
2) "I was wrong."
This is related to my above points. If I put my own ego ahead of how my child is affected by my wrong words or actions, that's not going to strengthen our relationship. It will breed mistrust and disrespect.
You want to be a good role model — So is that really how you want your kids to act when they are wrong?
3) "You were right."
Nothing like vindication, especially from a parent.