Remember that one time your parents said something that hurt you and it stuck with you forever? And the other time…and that other time? Have you caught yourself saying the same thing to your child? The truth is that we often repeat phrases we grew up hearing, especially the ones we hated most. The human psyche is such that we tend to hurt others the way we were hurt before, often unwittingly. Unfortunately, these phrases hurt our children as much as they hurt us when we were young. Here’s a list of phrases you should never use with your children.
5 phrases you should never use as a parent
“Wait until Dad gets home!”
Parenting is a team effort. There should never be any instance in which you villainize your partner for the sake of getting your children to follow your instructions. This not only gives your children the idea that your partner is the bad guy — it can also traumatize your children as they fear your partner’s arrival home. Mom or Dad wouldn’t want to come home to frightened children.
“Because I said so!”
Of all the phrases you should never use with your children, this one makes you sound like you know best and that your decision is always final. Children need to be okay with having an opinion, so instead, phrase it such that they understand where you are coming from and that you also appreciate their input.
“Do you think you should watch TV before you’re done with your homework?
“Don’t make that face!”
Children cannot help their expressions like we can, and you should never expect them to. Instead, take them aside to ask them what they are feeling and tell them that it is okay to feel that way. Make sure you always have a little debrief after a scolding so that they understand how actions and consequences work.
“Why can’t you be more like your sister?”
Do yourself and your children a favour and keep the noticing, comparing and evaluating to yourself. Statements that imply a comparison of any sort are phrases you should never use as they can hinder the development of strong sibling bonds. Be cautious about verbalizing your observations to avoid making your children think that they have to live up to certain expectations. It’s alright to say, ‘Look how hard your brother is studying’ — but leave out the, ‘Why can’t you do that?’”
“Here, let me help you with that.”
When you take over like this, it can be discouraging for your child. Kids are always motivated to learn, but they give up easily if they think that they’re not good or fast enough. Instead, wait until they ask for help before stepping in. If you see them struggling, try saying “Could you teach me how that works?” and then follow up with a “Can I do it this way?”