The Things You Must Absolutely Never Say To Your Kids
“Think before you speak” is golden advice for anyone, and invaluable guidance when it comes to parenting. Parents are a child’s first teachers. So what you say, can have an indelible effect on their relationship with you and how they relate to the world as a whole. Research suggests that children have sharper memories than their adult counterparts. Meaning your less-than-perfect parenting moments continue to play fresh in their minds years after. If you’re eager to raise healthy kids who aren’t afraid to open up to you, choose your words wisely. We’ve rounded up some of the worst things you can say to your kids, from complimentary to cruel.
Check Out Some Of The Worst Things To Say To Your Kids
What's wrong with you?
This phrase may be okay to use when your tone is compassionate, but issues can arise if it comes off as angry or annoyed. When a you imply that something is wrong with your child, she will internalize this and believe it. They will ask themselves what is wrong with them, and they won’t be able to find the answer. They may likely come up with something that is wrong, and that can have a lasting effect. Sometimes it will be something quite broad, like, 'I am not good enough. The devastation of these kinds of internalized messages can take a lifetime to get over, even with therapy.
If you don't do what I say, I'll leave you here!
This plays into kids' worst fear - abandonment. Indeed, a young child's worst fear is that he or she will be lost or left alone and unsafe. Threatening them by playing into that fear in an effort to manipulate him into doing what you want is bordering on cruel.
Instead, give your child a choice. Instead of scaring them, say, something along the lines of, "If you leave the park now, we might be able to come here again tomorrow. If you don't, then Mummy will say that you can't come here tomorrow. You decide." Or try to make it fun. "First one to the car gets a treat!"
“You should set a better example for your brother/sister.”
Being expected to be a good role model for your siblings is rough. It sets the expectation that the child has to be more than he can offer to his family. It also disregards the fact that everyone experiences rough moments in a day and as children, they make not-so-perfect-decisions. But they are children who are learning the curves of life and as much as they want to be a source of inspiration, they are just kids, too.
You'll never be any different
Generally, avoid using words like "always" and "never" when speaking to your child. It can make them think they're hopeless. Adults love to say things like you'll never, you won't, you can't, you always," But statements like these place children in a box of negativity or permanence. It suggests that they are always a certain way, and incapable or unexpected to improve. Using the word "never" gives your child permission to never change, which isn't what you want.
Why can’t you be more like ____?
The message that you are actually telling your child is, “I am not happy with who you are”. You’re just saying it a bit differently because you think that comparing your child to another one is less damaging. Comparisons clutch your child by the hand and lead him to a crisis. Once the child starts thinking, “Maybe I should be like that or this person,” you know that you have done an awful job. Don’t pat yourself on the back. Children need to be assured that the only person they should be is themselves. They will make mistakes, as you have countless times, and they need their parents more than anyone in the world to guide them through.
Dr Seuss just has the perfect words: “There is no one alive who is you-er than you!”
What's the worst thing you have said to your kid? Share with us.