My husband had been under a lot of stress from work. He decided to work off some of that energy by cleaning our garage over one weekend. He asked my son to help him out. After a short time, my son came back into the house and went straight to his room. I checked on him and found him in tears.

"Mom," he told me, "I really love Dad, and I want to please him. But he just points out everything that I do wrong. I can't remember the last time he told me I did a good job."

Ouch. Sometimes, we get too caught up in the responsibilities of parenting. We guide and correct and teach, but we forget that our children need to hear words of encouragement as well.

Psychologist, Kathy Eugster says that sending our children messages of acceptance helps them develop a strong identity and positive self-esteem. It allows our children to feel safe and secure, so they become more open with us. Our relationships with our children become stronger and closer.

Our kids hear so many negative messages from their friends, classmates, teachers and the media. They need us to balance those messages with love. Here are twenty ways we can tell our children we love them.

  1. Thank you.

  2. Good job.

  3. I can tell you really worked hard on that.

  4. I'm sorry.

  5. I forgive you.

  6. You look really great today.

  7. I'm proud of you.

  8. Yes, I'll watch you.

  9. Yes, I can play with you for a moment.

  10. Can I help you with that?

  11. You have a kind heart.

  12. You crack me up.

  13. I know you can do it.

  14. You are a good friend.

  15. I can tell how much you've improved.

  16. Can you help me?

  17. I believe in you.

  18. Tell me more about that.

  19. I know you'll do your best.

  20. I'll always be here for you.

I sat on the side of my son's bed and I was at a loss for words. I didn't know how to comfort him. I asked if he would be brave enough to tell his father what he had told me. He said yes, so I sent my husband in to talk to him.

After awhile, my husband came out of the room. My son followed shortly. Neither said anything to me, but later, they were both back in the garage, working together. This time, they were laughing and having a good time.

I suspect my husband told my son that he did a good job.

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