May 27, 2019

Interview Transcript

Dr. Gellner: Being a parent can be a joy, or it can be completely frustrating. How do you make sure your kids know how much you really care about them on a daily basis? Sometimes a few kind words can go a long way.

Announcer: Keep your kids healthy and happy. You are now entering "The Healthy Kids Zone" with Dr. Cindy Gellner on The Scope.

Dr. Gellner: We've all heard the expression sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me. Well, that's not true. Words can hurt. I'll admit it, I am far from perfect when my kids are complete knuckleheads. What I am trying to get better at is affirmations to them on a daily basis to let them know I think they're amazing.

For example, if my boys help clean up after dinner, I'll thank them for being so helpful. If they're struggling after getting a bad grade, they're a bit Type A like me so a B is a bad grade for them, I'll ask if they did their best work. If the answer is yes, then I validate that. If there's a situation like a missing assignment, I'll ask if they want to handle it themselves. If they tell me yes, then I let them know I trust them, and I trust that they will take care of the situation. And the good news is that they do take care of the situation. That gives me another chance to validate how glad I am that they followed through.

My boys also hear me constantly bragging about them to the point where I get, "Stop talking, Mom." And, finally, every night I tuck them in bed and, after we say the goodnights, which is where we list everybody in the extended family, including the dogs, and I end it with, "And all other friends. Did we get everybody?" We always say I love you to each other before I close the door.

When they start getting worked up, I try to calm them down, look them in the eyes, and let them know I'm listening to them. My teenage son gave me a huge compliment the other day after I helped him calm down. He said, "Thanks for always being my emotional anchor, Mom." Talk about words that will bring a mom to tears. It may seem like kids know these things, but, like everyone else, it helps to have that validation.

Some sayings that go a long way to a child are: "I'm so proud of you." "Don't give up." "It's okay to be afraid." And most importantly, "I love you." Take note of the little things your kids do, and give them a verbal boost every day. If they hear it often enough, they will hopefully start to believe it.

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