Well, some of the most commonly used phrases we use when talking to our kids or when taking care of them as their babysitters can be quite destructive. We all say the wrong things sometimes, leaving our kids feeling hurt or confused. So, here are a few phrases we should stop saying to our little ones. Which is easier said than done. But let’s give it a try!
Dealing with our children’s tears isn’t always easy. It’s natural to want to protect our little ones from such feelings. But when we say things like, “Don’t cry” we imply that there is something wrong with crying and expressing our emotions, when it’s completely normal.
*What to say & do: We can use some reassuring phrases like, “It’s OK to cry. We all need to cry sometimes”, “I’m right here for you”, or “Let me give you a hug”. And we should always remember to acknowledge what our little ones are feeling by saying something like, “That was really scary”, or whatever you think is helpful.
Nothing can make kids feel worse than hearing they aren’t as good as their siblings or peers.
*What to say & do: We should encourage our children’s current achievements: “Wow, you did it by yourself” is a good choice.
We don’t always have time to analyze our reasoning, but we should try to give our kids a better explanation of why we’re asking them to do something. If our little ones understand that there are simple reasons for our rules and demands, they’ll realize they aren’t arbitrary.
*What to say & do: Well, we should explain everything, even when we are tired, angry or stressed!
When we routinely tell our kids “Don’t bother me” or “Leave me alone”, they internalize that message, and they begin to think there’s no point in talking to us.
*What to say & do: “Mommy / Daddy needs a little break” or “Mommy / Daddy has to finish this thing, so I need you to play quietly for a few minutes”.
Our kids will never try anything new if we make them afraid to try. Learning is a series of trials and tribulations; failures should be expected.
*What to say & do: “Why don’t you try again?” is a safe phrase.
Our job, as parents, is to guide our kids away from the temptations of dependence. If we take control of everything, our little ones will never learn (or want to learn) how to do things themselves. We certainly don’t want to stop our kids from exploring something they may excel at!
*What to say & do: We can always help our little ones. For instance, we can say, “Let’s do that together”.
What could possibly be wrong with this phrase? Well, saying “good job” is not bad, but it’s extremely general, vague and overused. In addition, it doesn’t build our children’s self-esteem.
*What to say & do: We just have to be specific and praise only the accomplishments that require real effort. Let’s try, “You really tried hard on that! I’m proud of you”, or “You are really getting good at that”. Yes, we can get that toothy grin we love so much without the “Good job” habit!
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