There are numerous words and sentences that we do not consider to be dangerous, damaging, or just painful for children. If you want to retain a strong connection with your child and a sense of empowerment, here is a list of things you should never say to them.
Children’s brains are still developing, so they can’t examine, evaluate, or judge what they’re told. Instead, they simply sense them. Adults have long abandoned this activity because we are literally immersed in our brainy world of analysis, evaluation, and judgment.
Follow the link if you want to see the world through the eyes of a child and challenge your brain to observe without judgment. Continue reading to learn the things you should never say to your child.
See also: How to Help Your Child Adjust to Change
What Is the Most Psychologically Damaging Thing You Can Say To A Child?
The following is a list of things you should never say to your child, as well as a complete explanation of why. Whether you say these every now and again or have made them your primary parenting tactic, today is an excellent day to reconsider and begin parenting in a new way. ‘I don’t love you’ or ‘you were a mistake’ are without a doubt the most psychologicalally devastating things you can say to a child.
Don’t Threaten To Leave
This is something that all parents do. There are times when it is calm and other times when it is not. There are two types of attentive people: those who are more thoughtful and those who are less aware This is just one of those things that parents say because everyone says it; yet, few people think about what occurs in your child’s brain when you threaten to leave her if she doesn’t cooperate.
Don’t Label Your Child
“You’re such a sweetheart!”; “You’re mommy’s little helper!” , or even “You’re a bad-bad lad”!
“You’re spoiled/entitled/sassy/naughty,” or whatever else comes to mind. When you start a sentence with “you,” then add a noun and an adjective, you’ve created a label.
Because children only have two possible reactions to being labeled: accept the label and do whatever they can to “live up to it,” or reject the label and do whatever they can to show us, the parents, incorrect, “positive” labels are just as harmful as “negative” ones. In any case, they are under the control of the label. In either case, the label takes away some of a child’s autonomy and freedom of choice.
Children are more aware of their own wants and feelings than adults (unless they are really mindful). Children will go to any length to ensure that their demands are addressed.
When a child does something kind for us (like bring us a cup of water or share something with a friend or sibling), she is meeting her own needs. Her motivation is pure, aware, and connected; she genuinely wants to make us/a friend/a sibling happy. If she is called a “good girl” after that deed, her brain interprets the complement as gratification for what she has done, rather than simply enjoying the gratification of having her connection needs met.
This shift in incentives is often the first step in moving the human experience away from addressing our own needs and toward pleasing others. For the next time she wants to execute the same deed, this fictitious (but very real) child has two options:
As she anticipates your compliment after the deed, her internal incentive will transition to exterior motivation. This has the following ramifications: what if you aren’t available to compliment this time? Is it better for her to do it or not?
Given that you consider this activity to be “positive,” she may choose not to engage in it in order to demonstrate to you that she is not the good girl you believe she is. This may seem strange to you, but when the connection loosens for any reason – which could happen several times each day – she will not desire to please you in her actions. This isn’t a mental process; everything happens in her heart and manifests itself in her actions.
What was previously a sincere desire to make others she cares about happy has become tainted as a result of the label.
The same thing happens when we say “you’re a naughty lad,” which can mean one of several things:
Meeting my needs is bad
My needs are bad
I am bad
If I’m bad, and they already know it, I might as well keep being horrible.
Everything we refer to as “behavior” is the absolute last link in a child’s life experience. There is always an emotion before it, and there is always a need before it. Satisfied needs lead to happy sensations, which lead to pleasant acts. Unmet needs elicit negative sensations, which manifest as undesirable behaviors.
We meddle with their inner mechanisms and switch intrinsic motivators when we try to “discipline” children by addressing only their conduct – therefore labelling them.
Alternatives: Always talk about the action, not the child. Instead of saying “you’re a nice girl!” use something like “giving me a drink of water was extremely thoughtful of you.” “Choosing to share that toy was really gracious of you – you made Timmy very happy!” or “Knowing that you care for me makes me happy!” Speaking about the deed gives us two benefits: it confirms the child’s inner motivations and helps her meet the need she was trying to meet when she did the deed, increasing the likelihood that she will do the same thing next time. But she’ll go with it.
Always target the need rather than the behavior when dealing with undesirable behaviors. When children (and adults) are in pain, they hurt. Rather than saying “you’re a naughty lad,” say “wow!” Isn’t it true that you’re enraged”? This reaction responds to the child’s needs and (almost) always stops the child’s undesirable conduct without labelling him or her. For a more extensive explanation of how to use this strategy to control tantrums, see the linked article.
The want to express oneself authentically is a basic human desire. How would you like to be reminded of the proper way to express things all of the time? Would you like someone to speak for you, or would you rather tell an adult what to say? No, I don’t believe so.
Saying “I’m sorry” and “Thank you” are the finest examples since these statements deal directly with the child’s emotions — when we “command” a reply, we are interfering with nature’s inherent reasons (again).
Ordering the child to apologise if she does not feel guilty for what she has done may only lead to contempt. If she isn’t grateful for what she has, telling her to say “thank you” is little more than lip service.
Alternatives: If you want to teach your child gratitude, be grateful for everything that has been done for you. This teaches your child that it is the intent, not the object, that counts. Only then can you remark, “Aunt Mimi thought a lot about this present.” She wished to bring you joy. Would you like to express your gratitude to her”?
Don’t be scared to apologise yourself if you want to educate your child to apologise after hurting someone’s feelings. Then, instead of saying “I’m sorry,” say something like “snatching Timmy’s toy made Timmy upset; look at his face; can you see how he feels?” “Would you like to express your regret”?
Never tell your child how he or she should feel (or What Not to Feel)
“Stop crying,” “you don’t mean that,” “come on, nothing happened!”
Children’s feelings are genuine. They’re doing it for a cause. Something happened (even if you don’t believe it was that horrible) if she’s crying. Children’s words are genuine; if they say something, they mean it.
Alternatives to “nothing happened” include “what happened?” and “what happened?” I notice you’re in tears.”
Say “wait, what do you mean?” instead of “you don’t mean that.” Why?”
Feelings should be validated. Words are windows into our children’s souls; investigate them with genuine interest.
Avoid Shaming Statements
“You remind me of [someone your child knows you despise].” Why aren’t you more like… Stop behaving like a child. You’re the epitome of [bad term]. Big lads don’t do it… Good girls don’t do that…
What they might hear: These words are meant to humiliate a child. “The things they hear about themselves shape a child’s self-identity.”
Alternatives: Allow your child to be the best version of themselves without worrying about how similar they are to others. If you don’t agree with a child’s behavior, teach them how to alter it. Try not to criticise their identity or their belief that they are deserving of your love.
Avoid “Let Me Do It” Statements
Allow me to assist you. Allow me to take care of it for you. Let me do it since you’re doing it incorrectly. I’ll do it since you’re too slow.
What they might hear: It implies that they are inept. How will your child learn to achieve anything on their own if you rescue them from every challenge?
Alternatives: Allow them to be irritated for a while. We’re on the verge of learning something new while we’re having trouble with something. (However, if they’re unhappy, that’s another story….) Ask guiding questions, such as “what would happen if…” Make gentle recommendations. “Try…” If you’re in a hurry, remark, “I need to assist you so that we may arrive for preschool on time.” You can try again tomorrow when we have more time.”
Avoid Telling Your Child To Watch Out
What they heard: Of course, we utilize it when it’s necessary! However, if employed excessively, it can result in a terrified child who believes the world is a hazardous place. Also: Teacher “An adult who shouts, “Don’t slide down that banister!” may keep a child safe at the moment, but he is… depriving him of the opportunity to think for himself, making him that much less safe in the future when no one is around to tell him what to do,” Tom explains.
Demonstrate and model safe behavior. Encourage them to take a step back and look before leaping. Encourage them to pay attention to their feelings about something; if they’re nervous, there’s a reason for it. Allow them to test things when the risk is only a minor bump or bruise. If they succeed in obtaining that.
Asking Your Child To Go Away
You’re getting in the way. With you around, I can’t get anything done. Please hurry up. You’re causing us to be late. Keep your mouth shut. I have more important things to do than… Would you mind if you left me alone for five minutes?
What they might hear: So, I completely understand how inconvenient children can be at times, how they make everything more difficult, and how we all need breaks now and then!! These kinds of statements, on the other hand, cause worry and anxiety in the child and make him wonder if he is loved.
Alternatives: Make encouraging, specific suggestions for other good, specific activities they may be doing right now. Admit when you need a break or assistance and ask for it. It’s all part of being a role model for self-care. “Mama is in a lot of pain.”
Avoid Old Age ” Wait till Your Father Gets Home”
What they might hear is that you lack the authority to impose consequences.
Alternatives: Consequences should be swift, logical, and implemented by the parent who witnessed the wrongdoing.
Being Careful When Speaking To Kids
These four words you should never say to your child are just the beginning of a long list of detrimental sayings, but I chose to start with them since they are the most harmful because they interfere with children’s inner motivations and separate them from their wants and feelings.
When we envisage the grownups our children will become in a few years, we see self-assured people who know what they want and feel they can get it. We witness intelligent individuals who are aware of their own wants and feelings, as well as the needs and feelings of others. The only way to raise our children to be the adults we want them to be is to be careful with our words.