Words have the power to heal or kill.
How you speak to your child will influence the way they view society and the world at large. We need to be able to speak to them in a manner that will help them grow, feel loved and supported. As they grow up they become more receptive and open. Remember that what we expose them to will be what they will carry with them around be it for a few days, months, years or their entire lifetime.
It is important how you talk to them for their own well-being.
To make sure we’re on the same page, here are some of the things you should never ever say to your child.
i. Stop crying
When you tell your child to stop crying you will make them feel like they are wrong for showing emotion. As much as we get annoyed or frustrated seeing them do so, it doesn’t help when you belittle them. Instead, you can try and ask them what the matter is and why they are crying. Let the child be able to communicate and express his or her feelings.
ii. It’s not a big deal
This is the worst thing you could possibly tell your child especially when they are upset or feeling bad. Children should be able to feel comfortable expressing their feelings and telling them it’s not such a big deal will make them feel like how they’re feeling isn’t important. Instead, ask them to tell you how they feel and why they feel that way.
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iii. Do I have to repeat myself over and over?
Every parent says this more often than they can admit! By saying this to your child it makes them feel like they are nagging you and this will make them do it again. Instead of complaining and using this classic line to express your frustration, tell them, ‘I’ve told you this before could you please not repeat it.’ Don’t start any of your sentences with, ‘I told you over and over…’
iv. Big boys/girls don’t do that
This is another classic line probably every parent has used at one point. It’s wrong to limit your child based on their sex or age and telling them that certain behaviors are for boys and some for girls or for people of a certain age. For example, never tell them big boys don’t cry or act like little girls, instead point out the areas where they could improve and give them time to do so.
v. I am disappointed in you
This is a scary thing to say to a child. If you don’t take your words back your child might grow up thinking they are a disappointment to you and the family in general. This might affect them for the rest of their lives and make them have low self-esteem.
vi. Issuing threats
Never ever try to threaten your child! Most parents like telling their kids you’d better do what I say or else? Never use fear as a way of discipline because it’s unhealthy and usually doesn’t work at all. Ask them in a nice way like you also would like to be asked. Give rewards when they do something right or some form of punishment like less time watching cartoons when they misbehave.
vii. You’re just like your father or mother
A child should never be held accountable for their parent’s actions. Even though your child makes a mistake or annoys you to your last thread, never tell them they are like the other parent. Just tell them you are not happy with their actions.
viii. Why can’t you be like…
Never compare your child to someone else’s or to a sibling. This will definitely lower their self-esteem and make them feel unworthy. All children are different so deal with each personality as required.
ix. Shutting them down
You should never shut down a child’s curiosity or interest. When they ask questions, patiently give them answers (even when they ask a million times) in a way that they can understand. If you lock them out from asking certain things they’ll never come to you for anything and in future they may decide to seek answers elsewhere and we both know it won’t end well.
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