By Katherine Ryan on November 4, 2016


“Your kids require you most of all to love them for who they are, not to spend your whole time trying to correct them” ~ Bill Ayers

Recently a friend of mine shared with me a posting she had seen, “101 Affirmations Every Child Wants to Hear”. That is one extensive list, ranging from “You are so handsome/beautiful.”, not one of my favorites because it focuses on the outside and is beyond the child’s control. As an alternative I would suggest, “I love seeing how your eyes light up when you are doing something you love such as_____”.

Another one I don’t care for is “You make me smile.” A child could interpret that it is their job to make a parent happy, smile. An alternative could be directly reflecting what it was that made you smile, “Hey, that was a funny joke, you have a great sense of humor.” And there are some others on the list that I take exception with.

Giving the matter further thought I think that we really don’t need “101 Affirmations” and I absolutely do agree that our children need to hear 5-7 times more positive statements than negative statements, which may seem daunting to some parent . Here are my Top 5 Affirmations that I believe children and teens and adults want to hear:

1. “I love you.” (not said quickly or as habit but taking the 5 seconds to stop, make eye contact and deliberately say those 3 words)
2. “You really tried hard, that’s a great quality to have.” (I feel that we are often focused on the result, be that the score of a game, a grade, a project… & often times we overlook the effort)
3. “Good job!” (focus on what was done, not what wasn’t done)
4. “You handled that situation really well.” (often we focus when situations are not handled well)
5. “I am glad you are part of my life.” or “I am glad you are here.”

So, that’s my list. I think the above affirmations can be used in a multitude of situations and it is impossible to wear them out! I hope you find it helpful.
KMR07. re-size 3 07.14 D  Katherine Ryan is a LMHC (Licensed Mental Health Counselor) & “Soul Stitcher”. Her private practice (Harmony Counseling) is located in Topsfield, Massachusetts. Katherine enjoys helping adults, children and teens become unstuck through psychotherapy, mediation or equine assisted growth and learning opportunities. You may reach her @ 978-561-1927 or


239 Boston Street, Topsfield, MA 01983