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5 Things Kids Want To Hear

2010 July 25

I was thinking about this the other day and decided to try to come up with a few things I do to push my son Tyler and challenge him to think and try harder.  I looked at this not from my point of view as the parent – but as Tyler and what would I want from me in order to really push hard and reach my goals … here are my thoughts on 5 things every kid wants to hear from their parents

1. No … Because – Nobody wants to be told “No” … especially when there is nothing backing up the decision.  How many times did you hear the phrase “No, because I said so!”  Then we as kids, would just walk away shaking our head thinking “well that didn’t make any sense at all” … but as kids, our attention span was the equivalent of a puppy so we quickly moved on.  The inquisitive nature of kids will always test and push your boundaries on what is and is not acceptable behavior, activities, language, mannerism.  It is our job as parents to provide the boundaries for the kids and then teach them how to use the boundaries to get the most out of life.  When they push the boundaries to far, it is up to us to correct and teach.  If the answer is “No” … explain why.  How else are they going to learn where the danger zones are?  “No, because if you touch the hot stove you will burn your hand” for example.

2. I need you to {insert goal here} – Kids need to be pushed … they need to be challenged.  If you do not start challenging early it is only making your job as a parent harder.  Last year Tyler moved down to live with Dawn and I.  It was a HUGE decision for him to make and he really put some thought into why he was moving away from his mom and brother and starting a new life with Dawn and I in a strange town.  Tyler has struggled in school always … I was very clear in what my expectations were regarding his school work and grades.  I set the bar very high for Tyler early .. A’s and B’s only on his semester and end of year report card.  Every day we talked about the progress, we had a countdown calendar for the semester and end of year.  I heard EVERY excuse in the book (my favorite was “The teacher gave us the wrong test … I studied chapter 3 and the test was on chapter 4!)  However, at the end of the first semester Tyler made Honor Roll (4 A’s and 3 B’s) and at the end of the year he finished with 3 A’s and 4 B’s … There are no words that can explain the pride Tyler felt and showed on the last day of school when he found out he actually DID IT!  Trust me – the 9 month journey was frustrating and hard … but I think that made the victory even sweeter for Tyler.  Kids want challenge … they need challenge … it is up to us as parents to set the bar and support them 100% in their pursuit.  This does not mean we should DO it for them … let them fail along the way … after all – how else will they learn?

3. You can do it!!! – Who does not LOVE a cheerleader in their corner?  This one is pretty self explanatory … support your kids while they are working to reach the goals you have set for them.  How hard do you work and how proud are you when you reach a goal and get nothing from those around you?  Kids look up to their parents … they strive to please their parents.  I pushed Tyler last year hard … at the same time, I told him every day “You can do this!”  Even when he gave me 186 excuses why his Chemistry teacher was not doing a good job … my response was “It is not his job to get the grades … it is his job to make sure you are in class and receive the material he is going to test you on.”  I knew Tyler was able to do it … and I pushed him to accept nothing less than a B and he DID IT.  So … I guess that would mean “I WAS RIGHT!”  When you set goals for your kids … cheer for them along the way … Its FUN!

4. I am proud of you – No matter what the outcome … be proud of your kids.  Try it sometime … out of the blue, when your kid does something … just say “I am proud of you!”  They might pretend to not care, but I promise they will remember that statement for a long time.  There were times when Tyler wanted to give up during the year … I supported him and kept him focused on the goal.  I gave him help, hired a tutor, emailed his teachers … I was involved.  I told him he could do it … and I believed that he could.  He struggled and accomplished the goal.  The icing on the cake was when Dawn and I looked Tyler in the eye and told him “We are so proud of you!”  He smiled … he pretended it didn’t matter … but his actions told a different story.  He walked prouder, he felt prouder … and I over heard him on the phone a few times telling his mom, brother, grandma and grandpa – “I did it!”  I am proud of Tyler … and in 4 weeks we start all over again.  I am soooooo ready!

5. I love you – Kids do everything they can to please their parents.  They look for acceptance from their parents and they are hungry to learn how their mom and dad feel about them.  Every day I tell Tyler I love him … and every time I talk to Bryan I tell him too.  Believe it or not – Kids care about what their parents think about them.  If you have not told your son or daughter you love them lately … START NOW!  For one reason – so they can never say “I dont know if my parents loved me” … and that statement usually comes out during a therapy session or an interview from a jail cell.  Kids want to know … kids beg for attention … give it to them – and watch what happens.

I am sure there are other things kids want to hear … leave a comment and tell me what you tell your kids and how you challenge them.

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One Response leave one →
  1. Pam permalink
    July 25, 2010

    Great job as always, Bill!

    One thing we learned relatively late in parenting was to set clear expectations and then step away. For instance, I would make an agreement with Jonathan to clean his room BY 2:00 PM, then leave him alone. At 2:01 PM I’d either thank him for keeping his word or have the conversation (and consequences) for not keeping it. Works so much better than nagging…

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