This is a common phrase in almost every home. A kid falls down, gets a scrape, drops their food, messes up on their project, breaks a toy, or starts crying out of sudden sadness. The parent meets the child in their moment of distress and responds with “You're okay”.
The truth is that most of the time the child is actually just fine. They typically are okay. Culturally we feel like we need to teach our kids to be tough and to get up and move on. In some regard being tough and resilient is good, but as a culture we have also been known to throw aside vulnerability believing that it’s weak.
When we are constantly meeting our kids pain and sadness with the same response that they are okay we can only assume that they will grow up to push aside all their emotions that link to fear, pain, and sadness. They will begin to stuff, numb, and hide those feelings because “they are okay”.
Kids don’t need to be told that they are okay. They don’t need to be told that their emotions are unnecessary, exaggerated, or invalid.
Kids need to be asked “Are you okay?”. This gives them the opportunity to analyze their own situation, think for themselves, and come to their own conclusion. By switching the language of this phrase around you empower your kids to think for themselves and you teach them to become emotionally aware children. They will not be afraid of pain and sadness, (like most adults are nowadays) nor will they stuff their emotions away. They will be confident to express, feel, and deal with every emotion.
Vulnerability is the key to raising healthy and confident children.