With the Teen Challenge I issued last week, quite a few people were wondering if I had any other ideas for more sincere compliments that can be used to help your teen feel loved, even if there is a lot not going right, so I rounded up a few! I hope they help you reflect on and improve your relationship.
Remember, if a sincere compliment feels a little awkward right now, you can text one or put it in a note. As your relationship opens up, you will be able to say them with more ease. I am going to share some general ones you can tailor to fit your own kids. Have one that always works in your family? Share it in the comments!
I have noticed you have really be trying to ___________. Thank you so much for doing that. I know it isn’t easy but it makes a difference. (I like this because you can be honest without them having to be super awesome yet. You are showing that their effort matters to you).
You bring so much __________________ to our family. It would be so sad/boring/crazy without you. (I like this because it shows them how important they are to you and that you enjoy them as a person, even some of their harder qualities).
I really loved spending time with you today. Sometimes I forget how smart/engaged/interesting/creative/fun you are but I got to see so much of that today. I hope we get more days like this. (I like how this shows how much you genuinely like them and that you value their good qualities. It also encourages spending time together).
You have gotten so good at __________. I can tell you have been working hard at it. (This allows you to show them that what they think is important is important to you and you notice their efforts. Maybe you wish their efforts were spent on something different or were more successful, but remember, no qualifiers!)
You have been so responsible with _________ (school work/waking up on time/showering/planning their weekend). It has really impressed me lately. (You may have to start REALLY small on this one, but encouraging independence and responsibility in any way is great during these stages).
________ told me that you were especially ____________ (relate a compliment someone told you about your child). It feels so good to know that you understand how to act with others. Thank you! (This one is good if someone says something great about your child. Makes it easy to give a compliment, so don’t pass it up.)
Today when you ________ I saw a side of you that I really love. I am so glad I am your mom/dad. (If you have had an especially great day or they do something small that reminds you of their best self make sure you notice that and bring it to their attention.)
I so appreciated when you ___________ (put away your laundry/put your plate in the sink/hung up your towel). That really helps our family run smoothly. (Sometimes these are VERY small and you wish they were doing so much more, but start noticing the little things without being mad about the big things.)
Thank you so much for letting me know _______(where you were going/what time you would be home/if you needed a ride). It makes me feel so much more comfortable when I know where you are. You are awesome. (Small reminder of how communicating = trust. You can do this one often via text…positive reinforcement is awesome.)
Wow. I love your _______hair/outfit/make up/shoes. I know I was never as good at putting things together when I was your age. (Approving of the way they look can be a big deal at this age, so if they are doing something right, let them know!)
It was so mature of you to __________ let your sibling win/give up your seat/turn your homework in early/volunteer for prayer. It is so cool to see all the positive changes you are making. (Recognizing small ways they are improving or showing self control is always a good thing).
When I watched you __________(whatever activity they are in) I was so amazed by __________(you might have to go really basic here, but look for the good). Your time and effort is really making a difference. (You are buying in to what they are doing and encouraging them instead of lecturing them. Win/win)
I am so grateful I am your mom. You have taught me so much about _________ friendship/resilience/letting go/loyalty/not taking myself too seriously/kindness/determination and I am better because of it. (So important to let them know the good qualities and attributes you see in them and that what they are doing is noticed and makes a difference to you).
I can tell that you are going to be a really awesome adult because __________ (what is something you see in them now that will be important in their adult years? It can be nice to have a long term perspective about certain qualities)
Today you were so pleasant and happy when we ___________ (whatever they did when they had a good attitude). I am not sure if you noticed, but you really helped set the tone for our family, and it was so great. You are such a influential personality, people really look up to you. (Reminding them about how crucial they are to your family).
Thanks so much for _________(chatting with me for a minute today/babysitting/coming to the family activity). I know it isn’t your favorite thing, but I sure love it, so it meant a lot to me. (Recognizing what they don’t love and when they go out of their way to do it anyway and how much you appreciate it).
Your ________(part of their personality you love) is so great. This is something I want to work on in myself (this shows you value their best attributes and really know and understand them).
I was just thinking back to ________ (share a favorite memory you have with them). We really need to plan another day like that together (great reminders of the best times in your relationship and also tells them you want more of them in your life).
I have really appreciated the way you have _________(gone to bed on time/plugged your phone in/come home for curfew) lately. I know you don’t always love our rules but it shows so much respect when you obey them.
I was just checking your grades and I saw that ________ (something positive…an A on a quiz/no missing assignments in math/you’ve been on time all term). I’m so impressed with your effort. (This will shock them, since usually conversations about checking grades end negative. This also can be a challenge not to talk about the bad, but leave it at the good!)
I hope these get you thinking and loving them even more!