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4 Simple Words that Improved My Parenting

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​One simple phrase that has made parenting for me easier is: “I believe in you.” It’s a hard thing to say and an even a harder thing to put in practice. But it works wonders!

As I was growing up I remember hearing it from my parents over and over: “I believe in you.” These words have always played in my head as I learned how to ride a bike, as I chose my college, as I embarked on my first entrepreneurial venture. These words gave me the courage to make bold decisions and trust my instincts. I felt empowered to follow my beliefs and my heart.

These words empowered me to make the right decisions, and to understand the enormous trust my parents place in me. I knew that they had faith in me making the right choice. Years went by and I still hear these words in my head. And whenever I face a tough decision I still hear them.

Now that I am a parent I practice saying these words to my kiddos all the time. What surprises me is that they never fail!

Your child needs to know that you have faith in him. Your child needs to hear the words. Say them to your child and say them often:

“You’re capable!”

“I believe in you!”

“You make the right choices”

“I have faith in you”

“I raised you well!”

Morning rush will be less stressful when you avoid the usual battle of what to wear to school. Instead of saying, “Are you crazy, it’s 15 degrees out and there’s snow EVERYWHERE and you want to wear a tee shirt, leggings and converse to school?” Just say, “I trust you’ll make the right decision” AND LEAVE THE ROOM. Even if she wears clothes, which aren’t warm enough, it’s still okay. She’ll get cold, learn her lesson and tomorrow will wear something warmer. Just don’t say, “I told you so!” Let her learn from her own mistakes. Try it! The outcome will surprise you.

Need help in a kitchen and your child is resisting setting the table or helping you out? Just say, “I believe in you! You make the right decisions.” You will always have a helper in the kitchen!


Step back and give your child a chance and a space to step up. Your child needs to have room to explore and make mistakes. This is how he learns. It’s difficult not to problem solve and try to protect him from everything. However, when you supervise every move, protect from every mistake or disappointment, he might grow up not believing in himself and his abilities.

Take a deep breath, step back and watch from afar.

I remember the anxiety I felt when my preteen daughter opened an Instagram account. I knew what some kids posted and shared and wanted to protect “my baby” for as long as possible. So my husband and I sat her down to discuss the rules and expectations. She smiled and said, “Mom, you know how you raised me! I won’t make stupid decisions.”

I remember watching my son learn how to rollerblade. He struggled, fell a bunch of times, got up and kept going. I gasped and felt his pain every time he fell. But I still stood at a safe distance and watched him struggle, fall, get up and try again.

Elevate the positive. Have you ever noticed how easy it is to notice and focus on bad behaviors rather than the good ones? Focus on the positive behaviors and behaviors you want to see and praise for them. By noticing and praising your child’s positive behaviors you encourage similar behaviors. Your child will feel more confident in his abilities. The more confident your child feels, the more helpful and empathetic he becomes.

Now say, “I believe in you!”

Written by Julia Berger, founder of Visit for more positive parenting tips and solutions

This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.