Parenting is surely a roller coaster which doesn’t often come with safety belts. And while we all do our best to raise happy and successful individuals, there will always be some flaws that make for that beautiful imperfection that parenting usually is.
However, caring for your children also means informing yourself all the time and adjusting your practices to better fit your child’s needs. Whatever we do is always riddled with imperfections which are there to make us better (should we start working on setting them right).
And luckily, psychologists have been continuously working on helping parents to improve their parenting experience and have provided some very useful information that every parent could use in their practices.
While there are so many things we need to do as parents, there are also things that we shouldn’t be doing or, in this case, saying. Here are 11 things you should never say to your kids if you want them to be happy and successful.
1. ”Big boys/girls don’t get scared”
Fear, among other negatively-perceived emotions, is a valid state that occurs naturally in everyone. Therefore, teaching your child that fear is something they should bury deep inside is like telling them that it’s ok to run away from their fears instead of understanding them and facing them.
Adults get scared, so why should children be exempt?
2. ”Stop crying right now!”
Crying is a form of expressing one’s emotions, just like laughter is. And denying your child the ability to do so by teaching them that crying is inherently “wrong” means teaching them to suppress important emotions. This emotional suppression (instead of constructing a healthy way to cope with them) can lead to serious psychological complications.
Instead, tell them that it’s alright to cry if they want to, and ask them what they are feeling and why.
3. ”I’m disappointed in you!”
It’s true that sometimes children make decisions that don’t line up with our expectations, and it’s natural that you may be feeling disappointment in such situations. However, stating that disappointment out loud can create a belief in your child that your love for them is conditional.
The feeling of a child that they’re failing to reach your expectations which ultimately leaves them questioning whether they’re good enough can be devastating for their self-confidence.
In truth, we all make mistakes, and instead of showing disappointment in your child, discuss their behavior that upset you and why it’s wrong.
4. ”You’re a bad kid!”
There are no ‘good’ and ‘bad’ children – there is good and bad behavior. While it’s important that you pay attention to their behavior and point out any negative habits, this is by no means an indicator of the ‘goodness’ that your child possesses.
Labeling them as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ can be easily replaced with labeling what they did as ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ while discussing how this behavior affects them or those around them – and it’s the healthiest approach that could lead to excellent outcomes.
5. ”I’ll never forgive you.”
It’s a phrase that may slip in a fit of anger, and it is one that can haunt your child’s mind in all the wrong ways. Of course, your intentions are to teach your child to correct their behavior and understand the consequences that it can bring.
However, giving them the idea that whatever they have done cannot be forgiven (regardless of what they do next) can be totally traumatizing to the young mind of a child. Instead, take a deep breath and discuss the behavior while setting expectations for them to make up for it.
6. ”Here, I’ll do it.”
You know that your child won’t do things perfectly, even with your help. And sometimes it can get so frustrating that you just find it easier to do it for them. While you may think that this is a win-win situation, the truth is that everybody loses here.
By completing a task they’re learning to do for them, you deny them of the learning opportunity it offers, thus making them incapable of ever completing it. Assistance doesn’t mean doing their job, so don’t do their job – just give them a helping hand and be patient.
7. ”You’re not _______ enough!”
Add any word here, and the effect in your child’s mind will always be the same: They will simply think that they’re not good enough. In the hopes to foster this habit, trait, or behavior, this expression will do only the opposite.
In fact, saying this to your child will affect their self-perception and their self-worth as a whole. Encourage and build them up instead of tearing them down.
8. ”Because I said so.”
One of the most-used phrases in the world of parenting, and a cliché which parents utilize whenever they’re pressed for time. At the same time, this is one of the phrases that need to be removed from our vocabulary in any given situations.
Without providing a reason (but rather dogmatizing behavior), you’re not only discouraging them to truly rationalize and understand why they should be acting that way, but you’re also depriving them of creating healthy decision-making patterns.
Take a few seconds of your time and provide them with a reason – because you know there is one.
9. ”You’re worthless!”
This is the worst thing you can say to a kid. While it’s an obvious fact for many parents, there are still some that need to know this. Children build their self-worth and value based on your validation and approval, and this kind of negative validation is something that can completely destroy their self-perception.
Tearing your child up with an expression like this and making them think that they will never measure up is, needless to say, a very wrong approach. Making them understand that nobody is perfect is important, shoving their imperfections in their mind as the only thing that defines them is devastating.
10. ”I do everything for you!”
Of course, you do – it’s your role as a parent. Providing for your child, protecting them, and caring for them until they are mature enough to become independent is what parenting is, so you should never hold this responsibility against your child.
Imposing the idea that they owe you because you’re their parent is totally wrong, as it’s not their responsibility to carry unless they choose to do so.
11. ”Don’t worry, everything will be OK.”
This seemingly innocent phrase that many parents use as a means of giving encouragement and support to their children is one that could be actually detrimental to their development.
It translates into a message that encourages your child to dismiss their concerns about things that are happening around them. Let them understand that their concern is a valid one and reassure them that you are there for them in case of an emergency.