1. Hurt kids hurt kids.

Hearing that your child is being bullied or socially isolated can be devastating to hear. But understanding that bullies hurt others because they have pain inside can be a powerful lesson for children.

When a child is hurting, he wants to hurt back. If a child is happy and secure inside, he shouldn’t feel the need to be mean. When a child is happy, he will laugh and smile, spreading joy to those around him. I would even add that happy kids make others happy.

2. Thank God life is not fair!

Every parent has heard this phrase: “It’s not fair!” Nip this complaint in the bud by responding, “Yes! You’re right, life isn’t fair. But trust me, if life were fair, you would be very unhappy. You have it pretty good.”

Try it on your kids, and even on yourself, when you start to feel anger because things seem imbalanced. For example, there are millions of people starving and suffering without basic food, clothing, and shelter. If we were to collect and redistribute all the resources of the world equally, we would surely end up with a lot less than what we currently have.

3. I love you too much to argue

The book Love and Logic by Jim Fay and Charles Fay, Ph.D. shares this phrase as a great way to stop an argument in its tracks. It especially works wonders if you have a little negotiator in your midst. Some children naturally take a mile when you give an inch, and this phrase really cuts out arguments.

This mantra can also be used in front of others – like guests – if you want to avoid an embarrassing exchange. Simply state, “I love you too much to argue.” If you find that your child just won’t stop asking, you can respond with a calm “end of discussion,” and walk away. Argument over.

4. Everything you need is inside of you.

This phrase originates from a song my daughter learned in camp this past summer. Not only was it adorable, but extremely empowering for her – and me – to hear repeatedly.

This phrase combats jealousy, feelings of inadequacy, and mental weakness. A child may express the above feelings by whining, “I want ___, why can’t I have it?” She may also claim a frustrated, “I can’t do it. It’s too hard!”

God knows exactly what we can handle and has given us the precise tools we need to become our best selves. Wearing someone else’s glasses to see is futile. We don’t need that other person's shoes, house, or life. Everything I need is inside of me.

A similar phrase that may work with older children is, “We always get what we need, but we don’t always get what we want.”

5. You are so much stronger than you even realize.

In circus performances when baby elephants are initially brought in, they are kept behind a low fence to prevent their escape. At first, many try to climb the gate but realize their efforts are futile and give up. As time passes, they grow to become exponentially stronger and larger. Adult elephants could easily climb that same fence if they were to attempt it. However, they don’t realize their adult strength and obediently remain behind the tiny fence, despite the low threshold. Even though elephants are supposedly smart, they maintain the weak mentality of their smaller selves.

We too are so much stronger than we realize. Each day we gain strength and capability – albeit a small amount – but the cumulative effect over the years is amazing.

We can utilize these five phrases to help our children – and ourselves – overcome daily challenges, both big and small.