Being a parent deems it necessary for you to know just what you should and should not say to your child. Everything that you say doesn’t necessarily have to be in your little ones’ best interest – there are actually a number of wrong, terrible and damaging things that you might end up saying to your little one.
What may surprise you is the fact that even the most seemingly harmless phrases have the potential to trigger feelings like resentment in kids. Apart from that, certain phrases may even dent your child’s self-esteem or trigger other sentiments in him that are truly undesirable. As a parent, you have the best of intentions, but as a human, you may at times say things to your child without thinking as to how it may get perceived by him – and this is just where things may start going wrong.
Experts suggest that some of the most seemingly positive and commonly used phrases that are used with kids these days can end up having destructive results. Even with the best of intentions, such phrases teach children to do as little as they can, deceive others, and just give up when things start getting hard. With that, here’s a list of the 7 things that you should completely remove from your vocabulary right now for the benefit of your child:
7 Leave me alone!
Parents obviously crave an occasional break – those who don’t, well, I’ll just label them a saint or a martyr or something that has lost all sense of what recharging after a long, hard day is all about. But the problem here is that when you keep telling your kids things like, “I’m busy”, “Don’t tease me”, “I’ve got work to do”, they start internalizing that message. To them, it becomes pointless talking to you for the simple reason that you always brush them off and ask them to leave you alone. If this keeps on happening, there is a good chance that your children will refrain from communicating with you or telling you things as time passes by – there might be a huge distance between you and your kids by the time they get older.
Right from infancy, it is vital for kids to develop the habit of seeing their parents relax a bit all by themselves.There are multiple pressure release valves that you can use for this very purpose. These include trading off childcare with a friend of yours or your partner, signing up with a babysitting co-op, and even getting your kids to watch a bit of TV so you can relax for a while.
What else should I say to my kid?
In case you are preoccupied or overstressed, there are parameters that you need to set up in advance. For instance, if you are busy working on a project that you are about to finish, tell your child, “I need to finish this project, and I would appreciate it if you can play with your toys for a while. Once I’m done, we’ll go to the park”. However, you need to stay realistic at it – you really can’t expect your kid to amuse himself for a full hour.
6 Good job
One of the foremost reasons why you should avoid using this statement is that once you start saying it, you’re going to find yourself using it way too frequently. At times, you may even end up saying it for things that your child hasn’t even put much effort into. Eventually, your child will think he’s perfect as long as mom and dad say ‘good job to him.
For most parents, it becomes more of a habit to say ‘good job’ even if their child has not put any effort whatsoever to achieve or accomplish something. Tossing out this phrase in such cases can prove rather detrimental for your child’s developing personality. What research further shows is that saying such generic phrases to your child all the time, or each time that he masters a new skill, has the potential to make him more and more dependent upon your affirmation. With time, he is going to lose his motivation of actually getting something done – the only thing that he will be concerned about is that of your affirmation and appreciation.
So should I just stop saying it completely?
No. Don’t stop saying it – but save it for times when you think it is truly warranted. Also, it is highly recommended for you to be rather specific. Instead of just saying ‘good job’, say something like, “That was great. I like how you used the red crayon to color the flower”. You can also use phrases like “You tried really hard – that’s so nice”. This way, you will basically focus on your child’s effort and will teach him that it isn’t always the end result that matters – it’s the effort.
5 Why can’t you be more like your sister/brother?
Wherever there are siblings, there’s sibling rivalry and anything you say that paves the way for comparison is only going to fuel that flame. So if you say something like, “Your sister is wonderful at playing the piano – why can’t you do that too?” you basically tell your child that playing the piano is something his sister excels at, and he isn’t being able to measure up to her abilities. If you keep comparing your children with each other, you will eventually end up slotting them into categories –the athlete, the smart kid, and the dumb one. This, trust me, will go a long way in discouraging your child from trying the things that his sibling excels at.
Yes, you might want to hold out a sibling or a friend as an example to your kids, but this comparison can have detrimental effects too. The one thing that you can be assured of is that comparisons just about always backfire. You need to understand that your child is an individual and can’t be expected to be good at everything his siblings are good at. As a parent, you may want to put up a frame of reference for your child, but comparing him to his siblings isn’t the way to go about it all. Each child grows and develops at his own pace and has his own personality. When you compare your child to someone else, you basically imply that you wish he was different.
You need to encourage your child
Making comparison doesn’t help change behavior. What helps is encouraging your child on his current achievements. If he’s put on his shirt all by himself, appreciate him for it. If he tells you when his diaper needs to be changed, say thank you to him.
4 Good boy (or good girl)!
Although this statement is typically used with good intentions, it tends to have the opposite effect. Most parents believe that saying such things would help boost their child’s self-esteem, but the outcome isn’t what they want. This is because when you say “good boy/good girl” to your kid after he has performed a task you asked him for, he is going to assume that you only consider him good because he’s done what you have asked him to. In the long run, this is going to get to the point where your child becomes afraid of losing his ‘good kid’ status. Apart from that, their motivation with time becomes completely dependent upon receiving the positive feedback that they have become so used to.
As a parent, it is necessary for you to encourage your child so he may do things without focusing on just the feedback he receives. Apart from that, saying things like these to your child all the time will make him think he’s perfect – that he can do no wrong. This isn’t the sort of attitude that you should encourage in your child. He needs to know that not everything is perfect and he can make mistakes at times. But if you keep praising him all the time, he may find it hard to accept his faults in times to come.
What you should say instead
Try saying something like, “I really like it when you finish your food”. This way, your child will know just what you want him to do and how much you appreciate him for it. If possible, don’t mention your feelings at all so your child repeats the action out of his internal motivation – instead of doing it just to hear you please him!
3 I’ll give you something to cry about if you don’t stop right now!
Threats that are given out of pure frustration don’t hold much meaning and are rarely effective. As a parent, you may give out warnings like, “I’ll spank you if you don’t stop”, “Do this or else” etc. But, there’s a problem. Your threats are eventually going to lose their power if you don’t make good on them. The worst part is that in most cases, such threats may lead to spanking or other forms of punishment that are known to be rather ineffective in terms of changing behavior.
The one thing that you need to bear in mind is that children take very long to understand a lesson – it takes time to sink in. As per research, there is an eighty percent chance that a two-year-old will repeat a mistake that he has been stopped from later in the same day, that too irrespective of the mode of disciplining being used. If truth be told, there is no certain strategy that will give you guaranteed results. You can’t expect your child to listen to you and stop doing something right at the first go. Remember, he is still just a ‘child’ and will continue to make mistakes.
The right way
No matter how old your child is, be it 2 or 8, there is no disciplining technique that can give you surefire results instantly. For this reason, it is highly recommended for you to come up with and follow several constructive tactics that will get your child to stop whatever he is doing. For instance, you can try removing him from the situation, redirection, or perhaps even give him a time-out.
2 If you do X, then you’ll get Y
Bribing – I don’t know what makes parents feel that bribing their kids is going to encourage them to do things. It doesn’t. In actual fact, it can prove rather destructive as it tends to discourage kids from cooperating with their parents simply for the sake of harmony and ease. If anything, such ‘deals’ can turn into more of a slippery slope and with time, such an exchange is bound to come back and bite you. How? Well, how does, “I won’t do my homework unless you give me _____now!” sound?
Yes, if you look at it, bribing kids has the potential to produce short-term results. It tends to work wonders in terms of kidding a kid to do their homework, clean their room or even stop temper tantrums. But what’s worse is the fact that it can also lead them into a constant cycle of bad behavior which can only be stopped by giving them what they want. With the passage of time, bribing is going to make you feel forced into a constant state of having to fulfill something or the other just so you can get your child to do something you want. Most importantly, you will not be able to teach your children anything about respect and responsibility if you keep bribing them.
Give up on bribing
Instead of bribing your child, say something that shows your genuine gratitude. With something like, “Thank you so much for cleaning up your room”, you will give your child the motivation he needs to help out in the future too.
1 Stop crying / It’s no big deal
Yes, seeing your child cry isn’t the easiest of things. However, when you say, “stop crying” to your child, you basically invalidate his feelings and make him feel as if tears or crying is something totally unacceptable. In the long run, your child is going to end up ‘stuffing’ his emotions, which, with time, may lead to more explosive emotional outbursts. If he keeps bottling up his emotions, it is natural for him to explode some day or the other.
To be honest, there are more ways than you can imagine with which you may minimize and belittle your kid. One of them is saying “It’s no big deal” to your child for something that he truly values. The problem is that children have the tendency to value things that appear to be somewhat insignificant to us adults. For this reason, you need to see the bigger picture and before discarding something off as insignificant, realize that the same thing may mean a lot to your kid. So, the next time your child is upset because his sister doesn’t want to share something, don’t brush it off and say something that may hurt him.
How else should I react?
If your child is crying, it is highly recommended for you to give him a bit of space. Tell him that crying is alright – we all need to cry at times. If you can, you should also try to verbalize his feelings – say something along the lines of, “You’re really upset about not being able to go to the park right now, huh?” This way, you will also be able to encourage him to express his emotions.
- Ad Free Browsing
- Over 10,000 Videos!
- All in 1 Access
- Join For Free!