Unfortunately, kids don’t come with a manual. Imagine how great that would be! Parents make mistakes all the time, and that’s OK. One of the hardest things to learn as a parent is how to talk to kids. It’s easy to say something that gives them the wrong message or idea. You may not even realize it. But we’re here to help.
These everyday phrases may actually do more harm than good. Here are five phrases you should never say to your child because they can damage their future personality.
Read on for a list of things you shouldn’t say to kids. Share them with your nanny so she knows how to talk to your kids too.
Stop crying immediately!
“It’s important to allow children to cry and show their emotions and frustrations. They need to know it is okay to feel happy, sad, angry, or whatever. Besides, we would never tell an adult to stop crying, so why should we say it to children?” says Richard Peterson, the vice president of education for Kiddie Academy.
Kids cry very easily because they’re still innocent and don’t know any important reason to be sad about. Additionally, they haven’t learned how to hold their feelings, and that’s logical. You should never prevent your child from doing that. You can tell them, instead, that you understand how they feel and that it’s ok for them to express it. You can later explain to them why what they did was wrong. It’s perfectly ok for kids to cry and express their emotions.
You are the best/the smartest/the prettiest …
Setting up an expectation of perfection, even if you’re not totally serious, can damage your child’s self-esteem and make them less likely to take risks and try new things for fear of failing.
That’s the opposite situation. You try your best to boost your child’s confidence, and you end up lying to them. Why? How could that possibly help them in their adult life? Remember that you should be honest with your kids. Of course, you should be honest in a sweet and kind way, because the truth hurts – especially those who are still young and innocent. But there’s no need to lie. Your kid can’t be the best. They have flaws like all human beings. And they need to learn it by you. It will help them become mature more easily, accept failure and chase success where and when they can.
On the surface, this seems like a nice way to compliment our children, but when overused or used exclusively, it teaches kids that they have a natural gift that is separate from hard work. Some kids will then start to avoid situations they are not certain they will succeed at because they worry about being perceived as not so smart after all. The better alternative message is to encourage kids saying, ‘You worked so hard at that and figured it out!’ or ‘I knew you could do it if you kept trying!
I am disappointed in you!
“These words are often spoken to kids at times when they already feel bad. Trying to make them responsible for your disappointment only adds to their pain,” says Lisa Cavallaro, author of No More Drama: How to Make Peace With Your Defiant Kid.
Parents often say this to their kids when they already feel guilt. It’s wrong to make your kids responsible for your personal disappointment. First of all, remember that your child isn’t there to make you happy and accomplish your individual dreams and goals. Of course, you are their biggest role model, and you should try to help them become better in every aspect of their lives. But not by making them feel remorse about themselves. What you should do is guide your kid when they do something wrong. Teach them what’s the right thing to do. Speak to them, be honest and kind.
Good job!” or “Good boy!”
What could possibly be wrong with a simple phrase like “Good job!”? The trouble, according to a host of psychologists, is that using this sort of general encouragement for every little thing teaches kids to value your praise rather than the intrinsic satisfaction of true accomplishment.
You don’t necessarily need to ban “Good job!” from your vocabulary entirely, but be selective about when you use it and consider focusing on effort whenever possible. By saying something like “You really tried hard on that!” you teach your kids that “the effort is more important than the results. This teaches children to be more persistent when they’re attempting a difficult task and to see failure as just another step toward success,” explains Shelly Phillips on Lifehack.
“I will do it” or “Let me help you”
Your motivations are kind when you jump in to help out your struggling child, but being too eager to interrupt her struggles robs her of the satisfaction of finally learning to do it for herself. Wait for your kid to ask for your assistance (or reach the melting point of frustration) before offering to help him or her work through the problem.
“If you jump in too soon, that can undermine your child’s independence, because he’ll always be looking to others for answers,” Myrna Shure, a professor of psychology at Drexel University and author of Raising a Thinking Child, cautions on Parents.com.