There are times everyone can use a good pep talk, even your children. It’s more than just saying what you think they want to hear.

A good motivator is a good listener.

By being attentive and listening, you as a parent are more likely to discover whether the child needs cheering up or encouragement to make a change. Empathy or trying to identify with your child’s situation may come into play. Take a quick walk down memory lane in order to put yourself in your child’s shoes.

Sometimes all that’s needed is providing an opportunity to talk about the issue and the related feelings.

Listening, empathizing, and showing support through a hug might do the trick. It never hurts to ask your child how you can help. He or she may have a ready answer for that question. Your child might be looking for, or willing to consider, help in solving the problem. That can come in the form of advice or involving the child and brainstorming together.

Avoid minimizing the problem or situation.

If it is “a big deal” to the child, it is a big deal. Don’t ignore your child’s issue and attempt to distract him; rather, acknowledge it. Now is the time to point out what he has done well and guard against arguing with your child if he disagrees with what you’re saying.

A good pep talk and a moment of motivation reinforces the fact that you are there for your child.