Everybody knows that my boys are my everything.  They listen, they help, they are kind to others...(most of the time)...They handle themselves well in stressful situations. Tanner is quite outgoing, but I actually worry about the other two...They tend to keep to themselves and are very quiet in social settings.  So is it because of me?  Did I make them insecure by complimenting them TOO MUCH?

Since they are really great people...I think I did alright.  (So far),   But...as a parent, I always want to be ready to say the right thing when they come to me with a problem. So when I went searching the web for just the right things to say, I found that it's possible I've been saying a lot of the WRONG things all these years!  Here's a list of things that you shouldn't be saying to your kids, followed up with a list of suggested "better" alternatives to help them become more independent.  See what you think.


  • Great job!
  • Way to go!
  • Good girl/boy.
  • Be careful.
  • Let me help.
  • Practice makes perfect.
  • You're okay.
  • Hurry Up!
  • Don't talk to strangers.


According to the "Experts", tossing out general comments when your child cleans their room, or gets an A on a test, makes them more dependent on the prize, which is the comment from a parent, to continue their good behavior. So next time you DON'T do it, they may not perform, or might feel inadequate if you don't say something. Also, some of the phrases above can create unnecessary fear, that will limit them in their life learning experiences.  Especially if you are a one child parent, or a first time parent, learn to not be "overly protective" .


  • I love you.
  • I miss you so much...but I'm glad you're having a good time.
  • It's so cool to watch you grow up.
  • You make me happy just by being you. ( I think this one came right off of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood).
  • If there was one thing you could change about me as your mom, what would it be?
  • What do you think?
  • You're one of the best gifts I've ever received.
  • I love doing ______________with you.
  • I made your favorite.
  • That looks great on you.
  • You handled that so well.
  • That was so courageous.
  • I had no idea you could do that! You impress me.
  • Do you feel like I'm understanding you?
  • You know that I was a kid once, so if you ever need to talk about ANYTHING AT ALL, I'm here for you, and I will listen, AND... I Won't tease you. (Okay...that's mine...BUT...It is important to let them know they can talk to you).


Encouragement that doesn't leave your children dependent on you, is a great way to get them to build self esteem, which will hopefully keep them striving to do better, and try new things with or without a comment every time. Your heartfelt words are heard, and your children can feel the difference.