Everyone wants to be the best parent they can be. Sometimes, when heated situations arise, people can say things that they don’t necessarily mean, but that can do lasting damage, especially to children.
1. You’re Being a Bad Child
The term “bad” carries negative connotations that can damage your child’s sense of self-worth if they hear it too often.
2. Maybe Later
Parents often say this to their kids to delay their inevitable “no.” Parents already know that they are going to say no to their kids; they just want to avoid the meltdown and hope the child will forget they asked.
However, it is best to be upfront and honest with your child, so you can model honesty and respect.
3. Good Job
Good job has always been a positive phrase used with children, but it can actually be harmful to their development in some cases.
If you tell your child “good job!” when they’re in the middle of a task, they might cease the task to bask in the praise. They could have gone on to create something even greater if they had simply been left to their task.
4. You’re Fine
When your child falls and scrapes a knee, a common phrase we hear from parents is, “you’re fine.”
This phrase is potentially harmful because you are attempting to impose feelings on the child instead of asking them how they’re feeling.
5. Don’t Worry
Kids have many fears and worries when they’re young. Telling them not to worry about, say, a monster under the bed, might sound rational to you, but to them it sounds like you’re dismissing and invalidating their feelings.
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6. Because I Said So
It can be tempting to pull the classic “because I said so” when your child questions something you’ve said.
However, it is far better for their development to explain the “why” behind your words. It’s an opportunity to teach them valuable life lessons instead of just pulling rank.
7. Why Did You Do That?
This phrase seems rational, and it is, for an adult. Asking a child why they did something, like, say, biting their sibling, will not often yield satisfactory results.
Children do not understand how to properly explain their emotions or their actions. Their answer-or lack thereof-will likely just frustrate you more.
Instead, try to bridge the gap between an incident and the child’s behavior. There is likely a connection there.
8. You’re Upsetting Me/Hurting Me
Sometimes it can seem important for your child to know how they are making you feel when they are misbehaving. However, your emotions are not your child’s responsibility.
9. That’s Not How Kids Your Age Act
Some children mature at different rates than their peers, and pointing out that they aren’t “acting their age” is a form of shaming them that will do more harm than good to their mental state.
10. You’re So Smart
This phrase seems harmless, but in reality, it can instill the idea in a child that they should not put effort into things they are not praised in.
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This article was produced by Career Step Up and syndicated by Mama Say What?!