Things you should never say to your child

As parents today, most of us have had parents, father/mother figures or authoritative guardians who have nurtured us into the adults we are today. And the natural tendency is to use the same tactics and in some case not using the same tactics on our children. Basically meaning we have probably learnt from our parents’ mistakes and try not using them on our children. Are we sure about this? I don’t thinks so! From one parent to another, here’s what I’ve learnt.

Try not using these phrases:

1. “Good job” or “Great job”
Love something your child did? Research has shown that tossing out a generic phrase like “Good job” or “Great job” or “Good boy/girl” or “Way to go” every time your child masters a skill makes her dependent on your affirmation rather than her own motivation, says Parents advisor Jenn Berman, Psy.D., author of The A to Z Guide to Raising Happy, Confident Kids. Bestselling author Dr. Susan Newman says, “It is far more helpful in terms of encouragement and building self-esteem if you focus on how your child achieved whatever he or she accomplished.”

Try this instead:
Your child fared well in a school test:
“You got distinction in your tests; you must have worked really hard”
Your child drew a nice picture:
“What made you choose those pretty colours?” or “How did you figure out the design?”

2. “I’m Proud of You”
Author of “Surviving Your Child’s Adolescence,” psychologist Dr. Carl Pickhardt, says that you shouldn’t simply give your child a blanket statement of encouragement because: “Now the child feels responsible for parental pride (‘how you acted makes me proud to be me.’)”

Try this instead:
“It’s better for the parent to place credit where it belongs: ‘Good for you,'” he suggests.

3. “You Should Set a Good Example for Your Brother”
Older siblings can act out, perhaps out of jealousy due to the extra attention a younger sibling may be receiving.

Try this instead:
To curb this, Dr. Katharine Kersey, professor of early childhood education at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., suggests praising the older sibling and noting how important he is in his sibling’s life: “Your brother looks up to you; you’re such a good role model!”

4. “Wait Until Your Father/Mother Gets Home”
Why are you passing the buck? This may be a familiar refrain in lots of households, but parents are equals and one shouldn’t be designated the disciplinarian or used as a threat. Stick together as a united team.

Try this instead:
“No TV for a week because you said a bad word.” Don’t postpone penalties for a child’s actions – handle them right then and there.

5. “I Will Never Forgive You”
It’s happened to even the best of us – we react quickly when a child does something unthinkable. Saying something like this could be truly damaging to a child. Pickhardt says, “Now the child feels that whatever has been done will forever be remembered against them.”

Try this instead:
“It’s better for the parent to say: ‘What you did was not good, but we will find a way to leave this behind us and carry on,’
he recommends. In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to say something rash. Take a deep breath and wait until you calm down before you speak.

6. “I’m Ashamed of You”
Pickhardt and Kersey both agree on the negativity of this phrase. Pickhardt says that using this phrase may “make the child feel like a disgrace in the family.”

Try this instead:
“It’s better for the parent to say: ‘Although I feel bad about what you did, as always I love who you are,” Kersey suggests.

7. “Don’t Worry, Everything Will Be OK”
Are your kids concerned about a tragic story they saw on the news? Don’t push aside their concerns – address them head-on. Dr. Newman notes it’s “better to explain how you as a parent will do everything you can to keep your child safe.”

Try this instead:
“Mom and Dad are always nearby and we’re going to set up a plan in case of emergency.”

8. “Here, I’ll Do it”
It’s easy to get frustrated when your child can’t quite finish a project or has trouble completing homework.

Try this instead:
Kersey aims for a more collaborative approach, suggesting that it would be best to say, “Let’s do it together!”

9.”Don’t Cry”
It’s important to encourage kids to express their emotions – not bottle them up. Help them recognize their feelings and deal with them openly and honestly. Even if the noise is driving you nuts, realize that your kids are hurting and need to be comforted.

Try this instead:
“I know you’re sad that your friend moved to another city. It’s OK to cry — everyone needs to let out emotions sometimes. Let me give you a hug.”

10. “You’re okay.”
When your child scrapes his knee and bursts into tears, your instinct may be to reassure him that he’s not badly hurt. But telling him he’s fine may only make him feel worse.”Your kid is crying because he’s not okay,” says Dr. Berman. Your job is to help him understand and deal with his emotions, not discount them.

Try this instead:
Try giving him a hug and acknowledging what he’s feeling by saying something like, “That was a scary fall.” Then ask whether he’d like a bandage or a kiss (or both).


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