The language we use with our children, even when they’re itty bitty, is integral to their development. Dr. Colleen Reichmann, who happens to be a psychologist mom, is going viral on Instagram—and for good reason. She shared five phrases she uses with her young kids, and they might surprise you.
She shared the following words of affirmation and connection in a reel:
“I believe you.”
“I’m sorry. Mama made a mistake.”
“Thank you for sharing that feeling with me.”
“That really hurt, didn’t it buddy? It’s ok to cry, I don’t like getting hurt either.”
“Sure, you can have more of that food.”
In the caption, Dr. Reichmann assured parents that she’s still learning and growing as a mom (we all are) and encouraged grace both for the child and the parent. “Full disclosure- I am sharing this as someone who DEEPLY knows that I have so much growing and learning to do as a mother. Seriously. I know so little. If you read along with the reel, you’ll even note that one of my most common phrases that I say to my children is ‘I’m sorry’ because I am so often falling down and getting back up with them,” she wrote. “With that being said, here are just a few of the affirmations and things to say to my kids that feel good and important at the moment-take what feels right and leave the rest.”
Dr. Reichmann’s post is an example of “gentle parenting” — a popular technique for this generation of parents. The method gets a bad rap from some who believe 1) it’s too permissive and/or 2) it’s not gentle to the parent; however, the true ethos of “gentle parenting” is to relate to, validate, and connect with your child, and be mindful about regulating your own emotions so you’re able to better help regulate your kid’s when they’re feeling dysregulated. Like anything with parenting, it is hard, oftentimes exhausting work, but it will pay off in the long run.
Other moms sounded off their support in the comments.
“Yes to the “that hurt buddy”. I hate hearing “you’re okay!” Like they wouldn’t be crying if they were okay. We have to validate their pain!” wrote one user.
“Yes!!! You can have more food. I’m so happy you added this bc it’s SO important,” said another.
“Yes to the apologies! My kids are older now but I also let them know that I’m learning and growing as a mother.. I remind them I’ve never been the mother of this stage of their lives before and that I will likely get things wrong but I’ve been in their shoes as the child and if we can meet in the middle with honesty and respect we’ll get through a lot,” shared another parent.
At the end of the day, kids are humans too, and if we want ours to grow up to be resilient, emotionally stable adults, we need to treat them with respect and teach them to respect us and others in the process. Remember, your kiddo watches everything you do, and they’ll mirror your words and actions. So just like the age-old saying goes, treat them how you’d like to be treated.