With the trend of mindful or gentle parenting going strong, phrases such as “I’m so proud of you,” or even “I love you,” are typically everyday phrases in a household.
And while there is no perfect way to encourage, raise, and love a child, there are definitely some things that the older generations of parents might have been lacking in when it came to a nurturing, cared-for environment in the 70s, 80s, and 90s.
For some adult children, there are verbal affirmations that were rarely (or never) uttered in their home growing up that would still mean so much if said to them today.
TikTok creator Barb Schmidt who goes by @PeacefulBarb on TikTok, shared her list of the “7 Things Adult Children May Need to Hear” from their parents, and it quickly went viral as adult children identified with some of the messages that they have missing from their lives.
The video is a great reminder for current, in-the-trenches parents who may need some guidance on encouraging, loving things to say to their kids, and also a deeply healing and rectifying journey for any adult children who never got that kind of verbal affirmation from their parents as a child.
Schmidt is an international best-selling author, motivational speaker, mindset coach and mindfulness teacher with two grown children of her own — so she knows a think or two about families, communication, and healing.
Verbal affirmations for children and adult children
Her list is as follows:
I'm so proud to be your parent.
I'm sorry for any parenting choices I made that hurt you.
I'm here to listen if you want to tell me about it.
You are incredibly precious to me.
I will always love you no matter what.
My life changed for the better because you are in it.
Your worth is not determined by your productivity, job title, or your relationship status.
Tell me about your hopes and dreams for your life. I want to know more about what matters to you.
The video quickly went viral with over 1.1 million views and 100k likes. Thousands of TikTok users also commented on the clip listing their own personal phrases they wish their own parents would have said to them growing up.
“I trust you with the decisions you’re making in your life,” one user wrote.
Another said, “you dont have to live your life based on our fears. Go and live your life how you see fit. We trust you."
Another commented on the generational trauma that comes with body image.
“I wish my mom would believe and say that my worth isn’t tied to the size of my body. I wish she’d believe it about herself too,” they wrote.
One user said that they don’t even need to hear these specific phrases, but more of a general apology follower up an admission to do better and work at themselves.
“A simple, sincere apology is all a lot of us need to hear. Follow that up with ‘I’ve started seeing a therapist to work on myself,’ the user remarked.
“I’m desperately trying to make my mother understand that this is what I need to hear from her. But she doesn’t get it,” another hurt user wrote.
Another echoed, “This makes me a bit teary because yes, I absolutely want to hear those things and have my parent mean them.”
Benefits of affirmations for kids
Experts agree that simple verbal affirmations for kids like, “I am so proud of you” or telling a child your love is not conditional can have positive affects on their development later in life.
“Positive verbal praise is an incredible encourager for little ones, and when the praise is about their unique traits, you can see their sense of self blooming,” says Christina Furnival, LPCC, a child and family counselor and mom of two told The Bump.
“A child will think, ‘My parents think I’m kind, caring, smart, funny and lovable, so I must be!’”
Verbal affirmations can also act as a coping mechanism when children feel upset or overwhelmed.
“You can help remind your child of their abilities or strengths with an affirmation during a negative situation to help your child regain a state of calm,” Furnival continued.
How to practice verbal affirmations with kids
To help your child see the benefits of affirmations, have them practice the phrases at a time when they are neither upset nor overjoyed.
“You could use the mirror during a quiet moment in the morning to have your child practice saying the affirmations to themselves, or you could highlight your child’s strength throughout the day and do a recap over dinner where they repeat their strengths back to you,” Furnival suggested.
One key is to pick one or two phrases and stick to those. The routine and repetition of those key phrases will stick as opposed to continually switching it up.