9 Things To Avoid Saying To Your Kids
“You’re so…” – there is nothing worse than labelling your kids, especially if that label is something hurtful or negative. If you tell your child that he is mean, or that she is hopeless, then your child is going to believe it. If your child is no good at math, try to help them out rather than telling him that harsh adjective. If you continuously tell your child that they are stupid, they are going to believe it and simply stop trying to improve.
“You should have known better” – it is normal for kids to do something silly. However there is no need to highlight their mistakes. Chances are that they were not aware that it was not the right thing to do. When your child does something wrong your role should be a supportive not a contemptuous one.
“Leave me alone”- if you often tell your kids to leave you alone because you are too busy, you are making a huge mistake. It is true that you may be busy, but you can never be too busy for your kids. If you let them get used to this, they are going to have an imprint on their minds that you have no time for them and that there is no use trying to talk to you. As they grow older this will become a big problem and they will not try to communicate with you at all. Try to tell them that you will be able to do whatever they are asking you to do later. The key is to do it nicely and be realistic. No matter how busy you are your kids should come first.
“If you do that I will…” – threats are one of the worst case scenarios when dealing with kids. When you threaten your child to do something you are not going to achieve anything. Actually chances are that they will be even more stubborn. Choose a tactic where you redirect your child rather than threaten that you will spank them, punish them, or do something awful to them.
“Wait till I tell your dad/mom” – disciplining your child by scaring them with the other parent is not effective at all. You should take care of the situation there and then. Apart from that, when you say something like that you a re personally undermining your own authority as a parent.
“Don’t be a baby” – it is normal for your child to feel frightened, after all they are still a child. So if your child cries because they are scared, do not make them feel worse by stating that they should not cry. It’s the way they are showing what they are feeling. Rather than saying, “don’t cry” or “don’t be afraid” you should reassure them and make them feel secure.
“Hurry up!” – speeding things up is not a child’s forte. So try to avoid shouting at your kid to hurry up, as most likely he is not going to manage to hurry up as much as you want him to anyway.
“Good job” or “Good boy/girl” – unfortunately we do not praise our children enough. Most parents use negative rather than positive reinforcement and that is a pity. However, having said that, it is also important that you do not overdo it when praising your child. Otherwise the essence of praise will become meaningless. As a general rule of thumb you should try to praise the behaviour rather than the kid, and when you feel that they did something praiseworthy try to be specific.
“Why can’t you be more like…” – one of the worst things you can do to your child is compare them with someone else, such as their sister, brother, cousin or friend. Making comparisons is just going to make your child feel bad, as well as inferior, rather than be willing to compete as you intended him to. Rather than comparing with other kids it is better to encourage your child’s current achievements.
What’s wrong with a bit of praise, you might be thinking? The problem is when the praise ambiguous and undiscerning. If you tell your kid, “Great job!” for everything they do, then the praise looses it’s meaning. Your kid will tune it out. Kids are pretty smart, so they can tell the difference if you really mean what you are saying it or just tossing something out.
To get the most out of praising you little one try these things:
Praise their accomplishments that actually require some real effort on their part. Not if they finish their food or do something they can easily do.
Be specific in why you are praising them. Instead of saying, “Good job,” say, “What great colors you chose for that house.”
Praise their behaviour and actions rather than the child. “You were so good doing your coloring while I finished working, thank you for your help.”