Four Phrases Every Parent Should Use

Over the years, I've learned that parenting is less and less about what I'm teaching my children, and it's more and more about recognizing my own weaknesses. Kids learn despite my flaws, and they bounce back from setback quicker than I do. I, on the other hand, need constant reminders about what's actually important in life. Here are four phrases I'm learning that every parent should embrace:

No.

I know the power of saying no to something, but I also end up filling my plate to overwhelm before I even realize it. Saying no to bad things is easy. It's harder to say no to the great art class or the great sports program or the extra field trip or the shiny new organizational system. It's harder to maintain a simple and peaceful life when I'm constantly taking advantage of every opportunity that comes my way.

YES!

When I'm not engaged with my kids, I slip into saying no to everything. The "nnnnnn" forms on my tongue before my daughter even finishes asking the question about painting. When I get in my "No Stage," I'm almost always distracted, tired, or stressed. If I can learn to say "No" to outside distractions (see above), I know my "YES!" will become easier to say to my children: "Can we make a Trojan Horse model out of a cereal box at 7:00 AM?" "YES!"

I Don't Know.

Growing up, I was the baby sister, so saying, "I don't know," showed weakness. This phrase proved I was younger, more immature, and less experienced at life than my brothers. I hated admitting I didn't know something. As I've grown, I've learned the power of "I don't know." Admitting I don't know a way out of a problem or the answer to a difficult question opens up doors for learning. I want my kids to understand that "I don't know" is a key, not a dead end.

Will You Forgive Me? 

I want grace to flow freely in my home. Embracing an attitude of grace starts with me. I constantly stumble and fall flat on my face as a parent, but I am learning to recognize when I make mistakes and to ask my children for forgiveness when I mess up. I want to model sincere apology to them, admitting my mistakes and asking for their forgiveness. 

What is a phrase you use that helps you be a better parent? 

Kelly Wiggains