One of the key tenets in the book is that what you say to or in the presence of your kids makes a difference.

For me, I remember lots of things my mother said. One thing she said was not to me, but in front of me: “Just give him a little time, he’s shy.” My mother was wonderful, supportive, and protective. She made this comment with good intentions but harmful effect. 

Another thing I recall was when I began my first math homework on fractions and decimals: “Paul, I can’t help you any more,” she said. “You are working on things I simply don’t know. But I expect you do to all the work, and do it well.” Being responsible for my own results has never let me down.

Recently, I asked a class to go home and ask their kids what they heard most from their parents. The next morning, one mother was eager to share her story.

“I asked my eight-year-old daughter what I said most often. Her first answer was, ‘You tell me that you love me.’ Her second answer came with a big smile: ‘Keep your face over your plate!’ My daughter is very animated and playful. And I guess I don’t need to tell her that anymore.”

What do you remember your parents saying that had an impact on you?

What will your kids tell you that you say all the time? I’d be interested to hear what you discover!

Feel free to comment below or email me directly at [email protected].

Thank you for reading,



Your relationships are shaped by the pattern of your conversations. If I were to ask your teenagers to identify what they can expect to hear from you every week, they could tell me. And that pattern of conversations would most likely define their sense of their relationship with you.”  —from page 15 of Ten Powerful Things to Say to Your Kids