10 Things You Should Never Say To Your Kids
Your kids want your approval more than anything else in the world. As much as kids love treats and trips and shiny new toys, nothing really matters to them more than knowing mom and dad think they’re awesome just the way they are. Knowing this brings them a level of comfort and peace that is unmatched by anything in their lives.
And as moms, we want to give our kids the very best. We want them to know that we would do anything to keep them safe and happy. Typically, our kids know that we love them just as they are. They understand that although we trip and fall, we are doing our best. I think kids really “get” that at an early age. But even with that understanding, our children still need to hear the right words from us. Our kids need to hear words that lift them up.
Parents can sometimes say things to children that leave them feeling less than confident, doubtful and discouraged. And generally, that is never the intent; no good parent willingly makes their kid feel bad. But based on how we were raised and how we’ve experienced the world, it’s not uncommon for parents to utter words that may come from a good place but ultimately leaves their kids in a bad place.
Here are 10 things you should never say to your kids.
- Why can’t you be more like__________.
Comparing a child to a sibling or anyone else in their lives is a sure way to make them feel bad about themselves. Every kid is unique and even if they are struggling academically or with behavior issues, you should never make them feel like you’d approve of them more if they were someone else. Acknowledge what makes your kid special and address any issues without comparisons.
- You never listen to me.
Kids can certainly frustrate us when they don’t listen, but telling a kid that they never listen is probably not accurate and it doesn’t do anything to address the actual behavior problem. Instead, talk to them about the importance of listening and how you feel when they don’t.
- I’m on a diet.
Moms, we have to stop passing on our body image issues to our little girls (and boys). If you are making lifestyle changes in order to feel better about yourself, go for it! That’s a great example to set for your kids. But don’t announce it as a diet, because when it starts to seem like you are on a different diet every other month, it sends a clear message to your kids that you have a bad relationship with food and very little control over it.
- Hurry up!
We live in an age where more and more children are being diagnosed with anxiety. I know kids can be as slow as molasses, but rushing them rarely helps. It just leaves you more annoyed and it leaves them feeling anxious about being unable to meet your expectations. Try your best to create circumstances where kids don’t have to rush (like waking up earlier), and if that still doesn’t work, use incentives to get them on track instead of telling them to hurry up.
- Wait until your father gets home!
You want and need your kids to respect and listen to you just as much as they do to their father. Once you start using this threat (and so many of us do), you set yourself up for living with some crazy kids who only behave when dad is around. This is definitely not a good situation for you.
- I’m ashamed of you.
Shame is such a strong emotion and no child should ever have to hear a parent say these words. Even if they did something awful, express that you are very disappointed in their actions (not in who they are as a person). It’s important to teach our kids that what they do does not define who they are or how much we love them.
- Just let me do it.
In our rushed world, it can sometimes seem so much easier to tell our kids that we will just do it instead of patiently waiting for them to do it themselves. For a child, actually learning a skill is far more important than the speed at which they do it. I know it’s faster to zip their jacket, but let them give it a try. It will boost their confidence and show them that you believe in their abilities.
- You’re in the way.
Even if you are working on something where you don’t need the kids involved, don’t make them feel like their presence is bothersome. Explain why you need to do it alone and assure them that they can help you with another task later because you enjoy it when they help with things.
- Because I said so.
I actually believe that kids should do what they are asked to do. However, I also believe that kids deserve an explanation (well, at least one that is suitable for a kid). Giving them an explanation doesn’t change the fact that it needs to be done, but it lets them know that there are reasons behind your requests and those reasons need to be respected.
- Clean your room, or else…
Threats don’t lead to positive results. Instead of threatening your kids, try to encourage them to do chores by using an incentive chart. If you feel the need to use consequences with older kids, definitely do, but explaining a consequence is different than delivering a threat.
Martine Foreman is a life + relationship coach, freelance writer, lifestyle blogger, and speaker. To learn more about her work and get great tips on how to create a life you love, check her out at CandidBelle.