Some say parents are destined to ruin their children, in one way or another.
Maybe I've already ruined my kids a little. But I know it's not too late to fix the damage I've done.
See, I have a daughter who's changed over the past few years.
Once a barrel of sunshine, now she's full of tears and anxiety. Once confident in her abilities, she now calls herself stupid, even "the dumbest kid in the world".
I'd like to believe that none of that came from me, but I have to be honest with myself.
I can't believe you got a D. I know you know this stuff. What's wrong with you?
How can you forget your homework again? Why is it so hard for you to remember? Everyone else remembers!
Though the words are said in frustration and usually apologized for, words have a very strong power over us. Especially words from someone you love and trust.
So this year, I have a goal to say these four little words more often.
I'm proud of you.
Sure, experts warn us not to use praise too often, that kids will stop hearing it if it's not sincere.
They don't mean for us not to use it at all. And I think I've forgotten many times to praise my children for work well done, for struggles overcome, for doing something hard.
So the next time she remembers her homework all week, I'll tell her I'm proud of her for working hard to remember. When she takes a test, I'll give her a hug and tell her I'm proud of how she studied and prepared. And even when she struggles, I'll make sure she knows that I love her, no matter what.
I believe in the end, as long as our children know our love for them is unconditional, they will be all right.