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9 Things Your Kid Wishes You’d Do But Doesn’t Know How to Tell You

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Kids are honest. They tell us the brutal truth in almost every situation. Like when you wake up with a lovely zit right on your forehead and your kid feels the need to point it out to you at their first waking moment, as if you didn’t already know.

They haven’t formed their filter yet and so children have a way of telling it like it is. Which isn’t a bad thing, you just gotta be ready for it when it comes.

9 things you kid wishes you would do

But there are some things our kids don’t always tell us. Things they should but don’t have the capacity to find the words. Or they just have no idea how to tell you. These are things they desperately need us to do for them, that often times go unmet. Tough, right?

This is a sticky situation for both the kids who need them and the parents who unknowingly fail to deliver.

That’s why I created this list. To help moms like you and me shift our focus just a bit because parenting is hard and complicated and we all miss it from time to time. Until we watch an inspirational video or read a post online that hits us between the eyes and helps us get where we always wanted to be.

This has happened to me a million times since becoming a mom over a decade ago.

Related: The Secret to Raising Happy and Confident Teens in an Image Focused World

9 Things Your Kid Really Needs

We have the power to meet our children’s deepest felt needs with purpose and intention. When these needs go unmet for long periods in a growing child, it leaves a deep hole that they desperately look to fill with something or someone else.

If you read this list and feel that you’ve been missing one or a few needs, please don’t feel discouraged, judged, or condemned. Just take intentional action to reconnect in that area. The wonderful thing about children is their resiliency and their ability to forgive without question.

You may also read this list and think, these are no-brainers. Well, congratulations you’re probably a fantastic parent. But take a moment and look around at your kid’s school, at their soccer games, and dance recitals. Talk to many of your children’s friends. You’ll quickly see these aren’t happening for every child as they should.

We need to get it out there and talk about it. Not so we can be finger-pointers and parent shamers, but to shine a light on what’s lacking in this world. And how we as moms can make such a huge difference in this world through the gift and privilege of motherhood.

When we raise happy, resilient, and kind adults… we’ve made a tremendous impact in this world! And that’s what this list is all about.

Now let’s find out where we are…

Related: 60 Fun Questions to Ask Your Kids to Get to Know Their Heart

1 – Love Them Intentionally

What does it mean to love someone intentionally? It means to give thought and purpose to how we actively show love to another person, in this case, our kids. It’s not enough to love them by providing a good home and sending them to a good school. Our kids need much more than that.

Money is the smallest thing our kids need from us… even though it doesn’t always feel that way. Parents, myself included, tend to work our fingers to the bone to give them a better life. In the end, our kids aren’t looking for that alone. Sure, they want their basic needs met and, yes, kids love asking for and spending money. Whew! I know mine do!

But what they really need is for us to lovingly learn who they are and how they need to be loved. That’s where the power and beauty of love languages come in. If you know your child’s love language it can make all the difference.

Simply showing up and taking an interest in what your child loves can go so far… even when their interest is gross, boring to you, or just plain annoying. Because sometimes they just are!

Related: 50 Ways to Show Love to Your Child in Their Own Love Language

Family Time Made Simple Checklist

2 – Be Present and Pay Attention

This is a really huge need for children and doesn’t go away as we become adults. There are many adults in marriages where the spouse provides a good home, puts food on the table, but isn’t really there. When your spouse doesn’t make any attempt to connect with you, it hurts deeply. I know because I’ve seen it happen.

It’s the very same with kids. They want you there physically but much more, they want you there emotionally. My daughter played soccer for a couple years and she was really good and it was fun watching my little girl dominate the field with both girls and boys. During this time, I saw a lot of different parents on the sidelines.

One in particular stuck out to me. There was a little boy who obviously played soccer for many years and was very good. He would ferociously kick the ball into the goal again and again like he was in the World Cup. The crowd would cheer and you could see him immediately look where his parents were sitting to catch their approval and instead would repeatedly see his parents walking around talking on their cell phones… never looking at the field.

When I’d look back at that child, every time you could see the disappointment in his eyes. Though we could applaud his parents for both being there physically, we can see that week after week they weren’t really there.

In this amazing article, there was a study done of College athletes that asked them what their parents contributed to making them feel joy during and after their games. The answer will shock you.

It showed the power in 6 words a parent can say that can make ALL the difference, ” I love to watch you play.” Wow! That’s it! Parenting can feel complicated and overwhelming at times, but our kids are really as simple as needing us to just show up.

Related: Present Parenting: What it is and Why Our Kids Need us to be Living it

3 – Support Them No Matter Their Choices

I know my Type-A moms are wincing back at this one. Stay with me for a second… please. I didn’t say “accept” all their choices, I said to support them no matter what their choices are. Support your child, not the choices.

Life is hard and we all need a support system. We also all make mistakes and miss the mark from time to time. And it’s really hard to live life feeling like when we make a bad choice or totally screw up, that our support system is always in jeopardy.

Sure, it sucks to have a kid that can’t seem to get it together or a teenager or young adult that looks on the surface like a total disappointment despite how you raised them. I know this because I was that screw-up kid. I was an angry, hurt, and messed up kid for a lot of reasons I can’t get into here. But the one thing my parents did was support me every step of the way. NEVER my awful choices… ME.

How did they do this? By always keeping their loving doors open, never shaming me even when it was justified, and praying incessantly for me. They never gave up on me. And though my parents weren’t perfect, I always knew I was loved. And they taught me about Jesus who loved me unconditionally. And that was what I believe made all the difference in turning my life around.

Related: 2 Effective Ways to Teach Your Child Personal Accountability 

4 – Say No And Give Them Borders

Yes, I said it. Our kids need us to say no and they need us to give them safe and healthy borders. Kids that have parents that say yes to almost anything, even the questionable things, are telling their kids they don’t care about them.

It’s true. Though your kid may be kicking and screaming because they can’t go to the slumber party at Amy’s house, they know way under the surface that you care. That might not be helpful right at the moment, but it’s the hardest decisions of love that linger the longest.

In this crazy, upside down world we live in, I say NO a lot. I don’t really have a choice because I love my children. And it’s my job to protect and lead them through the tough choices and teach them how to make better decisions. For example, at my daughter’s sixth-grade orientation last year, her teacher mentioned a tip about taking your child’s phone and keeping it in your bedroom at night.

At the time, I’d never thought of this because my daughter never gave me a reason. I’m so glad I heard this tip because it made me see the importance of simple ways I can remove the opportunity for her to be accessed at all hours of the night. It’s unnecessary and has the potential to be dangerous.

I treat social media accounts the same way. Our children don’t need unfettered access to unfiltered content on social media at very young ages. You can read more on why here.

Creating borders helps your child know how to place healthy borders for themselves later on.

5 – Let Them Live Their Purpose

I believe every person born on this planet has a God-given purpose. A purpose that was given to them by their creator. We may have grown them in our wombs, but God gave them life and purpose. We need to honor the gifts they’ve been given and help them grow in them.

Our kids need us to tell them they are special and unique and even when they’re scared and feel totally unqualified. That they need to discover and pursue their purpose with passion and intention.

Too often parents want their kids to pass on the family business, whatever that may be. Or to choose a more “sensible” profession instead of the one in their dreams. And I’m talking about when they’re older and not their dream of becoming a princess or Superman.

We often try to create a life plan for our kids without ever considering they already have one. Our job as parents is to help them find it and to embrace it.

There are millions of depressed, suicidal, and hopeless adults who were pressured to pursue a “sensible” career that was totally outside of their purpose. And though they may have attained success in the world’s eyes… they feel empty. Though we may not understand it, we owe it to our kids to lead them into their purpose instead of away from it.

Related: How to Naturally Lead Your Child to Their Purpose

6 – Discipline Them

Just like our kids need to be told no, they also need and want to be disciplined. The Bible teaches that we discipline those we love. There’s so much truth to that. Discipline isn’t necessarily punishment, it’s the intentional act of shaping and molding into the right behavior. And that takes work and compassion.

It doesn’t require love to want someone who’s done something terrible to face punishment. But it does require love to allow them to face that punishment while teaching and guiding them into the right behavior.

We don’t want to discipline our kids with the “rot in jail and throw away the key” mentality. Yes, punishment and consequences are all a part of the discipline process because that’s what prepares them for real life. But it’s also the compassionate and sometimes time-consuming teaching of the right behavior that makes all the difference and shows how much we love our child.

Related: How to Get Your Kids to Listen Without Yelling

7 – Give Them One on One Time

Tricia Goyer shared this concept from her book Balanced: Finding Center as a Work-at-Home Mom. It was so simple, yet profound. But it does require endurance on your part. And it’s an investment of your time, depending on how many children you have! Yet, it’s time well spent.

If your spouse and your children each have your undivided “eyes only” attention each day, it sends a powerful message to them – YOU Matter. And there’s no revelation more powerful than that. Try carving out small 10 minutes times for each person, each day. And then work your way up as you develop discipline in this habit.

Here are my kids and I playing at the park after a very long day. But our sacrifices go a really long way!


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Fulfilling my promise to make it to the park today no matter what. 💪🏼 . Parks honestly aren’t a whole lotta fun for me. 😬Maybe because I choose to go inside the park and play with my kids instead of sitting on the bench. And that takes work. 🙈😆 . I go to the park, race my kids, slide down the slide, and act silly because that’s what they want and what they really need. ❤️ . And what I really want and need is to look up and see those sweet faces who are genuinely happy. And that makes the sore back, sweaty clothes, and adult boredom totally worth it. . My prayer is that I never stop making sacrifices to be ever present and available for my kids. That in all the harsh emptiness that the world freely gives, they will always know how much they are cherished by Us and their Savior. . . . #cherisheverymoment #parentingtips #positiveparenting #momliferocks #mompreneurlife #kidsplay #childsplay #lovedbygod #joyinparenting #lovemykids❤️

A post shared by Brandi Michel (@familyfelicity) on


8 – Give Them Independence

Kids need space and independence to grow and learn how to make good choices. This may seem to be in opposition to “be present” but it isn’t. Giving your child independence simply means allowing them to work things out on their own… with your guidance.

This teaches them about how their actions have both positive and negative consequences. And as they get older they need to be able to safely make both good and bad choices. You’ll find that in doing this they learn to self-correct at a much faster rate than us always doing it for them.

Just remember to give large doses of grace as they will make mistakes!

9 – Embrace and Love Their Uniqueness

In this “fit in or get out” world we need to be intentional about embracing our children’s uniqueness. Our kids need us to affirm that though their uniqueness makes them stand out, it’s that uniqueness that makes them special.

As a child’s minister years ago, I taught my kids that it feels uncomfortable to stand out and be different. And we have this desire to blend in with what the world says is beautiful, talented, or cool.

But I asked them to think about the biggest stars and icons in the entertainment industry and describe what makes them more of a star than all the other entertainers. And the majority of the answers were… the biggest stars worked very hard to stand out and be different.

Think of Lady GaGa and Michael Jackson. Their biggest claim to fame is doing what no one else has done before… to produce a sound no one else has heard before. That takes guts, confidence, and the ability to fully embrace their uniqueness.

As parents, this is probably the hardest thing to do. But no matter how many times you tell your daughter her curls are beautiful or that your son’s bright red hair is amazing, and they brush it off… keep saying it. Until they believe it.

Related: How to Raise Kind Kids in a World Full of Mean Kids and Bullies

I hope this list gives you some inspirations on ways to be more connected with your kids. Let’s face it, we all fall short of hitting these perfectly – especially in busy seasons.

Perfection is the enemy of progress and it’s better to be aware and make changes than to try for perfection any day. What are your thoughts on this list? Did I miss anything? Please add in the comments below!


We all want to meet the needs of our children. But what about the needs they do know to ask for? Find out exactly what your child needs even if they never ask. #kidsandparenting #parenting #momlife #kidsEvery child has a specific set of needs both physical and emotional. This list show the important things your kid needs but may not even know how to tell you. #kidsandparenting #parenting #parentingtips #parenting101 #kids #momlifeEvery kid wishes we would do these things as parents, but they honestly don't even they do or even how to ask. Here's the list! #kidsandparenting #parenting#parentingtips #teens #kids




Parenting can be hard and sometimes we miss the important things. This list reveals the things your kid needs the most that they don't know how to tell you. #parenting #kidsandparenting #momadvice #momlife #kidsIt's very easy to get distracted on the wrong parenting priorities, this list helps to remind us of the most important and often surprising things our kids really need! #kidsandparenting #parenting #momlife #mom #kidsEvery child has real physical needs and emotional needs. Too often we are busy meeting the urgent needs and forgetting the most important needs of all. Find out what they are here! #kidsandparenting #parenting #kids #momadvice #familyThe most important things your children really needs isn't something they usually know how to even ask for. Get the list to see how you're doing! #kidsandparenting #parenting #momlife #kids

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I know I need to be a better parent. Its just so hard and I can get so discouraged and not know what to do. I’m very grateful for this post. I need to work on many of these and now I understand how, I just have to put it on my to do list. “To do: Buy bread. Spend 10 mins of alone time with son”. It sounds weird but putting it literally on my To do list is what will help me to be intentional. Thank you for helping me be a better parent. I’m so scared my… Read more »


Loved it. Thanks for writing. Will definitely be implementing these in the very near future!

Tamanna Fatema

THis post is beautifully put together. I am also a little emotional after reading this. Thank you for writing this and reminding us how to be really there for our kids

Gayatri Shenoy
Gayatri Shenoy

This is an amazing article Brandi. It is really credible how much pains you have taken to be a good mom and shared that experience with others. I am sure you are the best mom in the world for your lucky kids. Keep up the good work, I think this is “your purpose’” in your life. You have “found” it indeed.
God Bless.


I think this was a great article. Gave me a lot to think about. And a lot of encouragement. However, i am curious as to how my troubled and failed childhood is keeping me from my fullest potential with my kids. Mental illness is a strong influence and struggle for me. Are there any pieces on how to over come that? Or how to cope with it and still be the best possible for your kids?

Jennifer Weed

This is great! Just the other day my son asked me if he could eat his M&Ms while we were in the car, and I said yes because I was too tired to take them away to listen to him whine the whole way home. The next day he saw his M&Ms crushed up in his carseat. He told me, “Next time, tell me no I can’t have the M&Ms in the car.” See, they do want borders and for us to show our love, even when it isn’t easy.


Thank you for posting this! Great reminders of just how important being present and actively loving our kids is – even more in our screen society!

Mommy & Mia Homeschool Chronicles

I enjoyed this blog post something many parents should consider in reading great tips.

Mommy & Mia Homeschool Chronicles

You hit the nail right on the head with this blog. Parents should really read and consider these tips.


I love this! As a new mom, it’s important to be reminded of these things. I find myself wanting to guide and protect her every move, but also know I need to let her explore and gain her independence. Thank you for sharing!


Yes to all of these, especially acceptance and support of their choices!


Love this!! Yes! All of these are things our children need. One that really irks me is seeing other parents trying to live vicariously through their children. I resolved a long time ago to let God lead my children to their own purpose. It’s not about what I want for their lives. Of course I believe in planning, and there is nothing wrong with family businesses, but we have to be able to let go if the Lord is leading them down a different path. And knowing their love language is so crucial to having a strong relationship, and to… Read more »

Mommy & Mia Homeschool Chronicles

This was a well thought out and written blog that many parents should read.


Wouldn’t we all be awesome parents if we did all of these things every day with our children no matter what their age. We tried our best to do all of these things with our children when they were growing up. They are all wonderful people with loving and caring hearts that give back service to others.


When my daughter was growing up I didn’t spend as much time with her as I should have. And some of the issues she is dealing with now is because of that and now I’m raising her daughter. I’m doing better with my granddaughter but I feel guilty for things in the past, what I should of done and that was being there with her and for her. Thank you for the post it hit home for me.

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