In contrast to my article advising things to never say to your teenager, this article offers 8 words to say – and say often. As you read you will notice that many, if not all, of the words were included in our training of our children as they grew up. Somehow, as they grow older, we stop the training course and, in fact, sometimes do the opposite. I want to encourage you to keep training your teenager; you just have to change the method. Replace the repetitive demands with a good example. If you use these words frequently you may well discover your teenager following your example.
Word 1 – Please
Saying please costs so little but has great benefit. Regular usage indicates that we are not bossing people, insisting on immediate obedience or using our authority. Rather it indicates choice and requires a willingness to help. It changes an order to a request and it’s basically polite.
Words 2 and 3 – Thank You
An attitude of gratitude is a wonderful thing, it indicates an appreciation that is rare these days. Young people particularly live in a world where adults expect, even demand, obedience without question. “This assignment is due on Friday”; “Take the trash out today after school”; “Tidy your room”.
How much better will they feel if you say thanks – and how easy is it for us to do? Try it – not because you have to but just because you can.
Words 4 and 5 – I’m Sorry
Whoa – now I am pushing you too far! These words are some of the biggest you might ever come across and they just get bigger when you have to say them to your children. But that should not stop us from saying them when we can.
If we struggle to think of times when we should apologise to our children then we are running the risk of thinking that we are perfect or that we never make mistakes. Think of the life lesson you can teach by admitting when you have made a mistake – humility, forgiveness, humanity, reality.
Saying sorry doesn’t imply weakness, in fact it demonstrates strength.
Words 6 to 8 – I love you
I fully understand that if you never heard your mother or father say these words to you then it won’t be easy for you to say them to your children. I want to encourage you to break the cycle and work hard at saying the words to your children.
Many young people [and older ones] explain to me that [usually] their fathers never say that they love them. They don’t doubt the fact that they are loved but they long to hear the words.
Live on the edge! Leap off! Give it a try! Not only will they be released but so will you. Touch your son or daughter on the shoulder, look into their eyes and tell them you love them. Go ahead – make their day.