Thursday, February 5, 2009

15 Things NOT to say to Children

1. "Look how well-behaved your brother is!"
(Yup, well they are not the same child. Are they?)
2. "Stop crying this instant!"
(The situation might not seem so bad to us but it might be heart wrenching for them)
3. "You are not really angry."
(We cannot undermine or deny our children's feelings or imply that they should not be expressed)
4. "You never / you always ..."
(Any generalisation runs the risk of limiting a child to what he or she is at the moment - whether good or bad)
5. "I'm sick and tired of telling you to clean your room. The next time I have to remind you ..."
(Oh, the idle threats. How will our children ever take us seriously. If you are not going to do it, don't say it)
6. "You're the best ... in the world"
(This is a tough one. We try to encourage by exaggerating praise. Our children cannot be fooled and know whether our words ring true or not)
7. "OK, five more minutes"
(Negotiations, negotiations. And then we still ask ourselves why we have whining children. Let your yes be yes and your no be no)
8. " You can be so difficult sometimes."
(Been there, said that. This is self-esteem damaging. Oh, it hurt just to type that.)
9. "I haven't got the time right now."
(Well, you don't have 24 hours to give undivided attention but the suggestion is there that they are less important than what you are busy with) -
Need to take a break now, my girls say that they are hungry!
Okay, back now, lets carry on!
10. "Please pull yourself together."
(Adolescence is a time of intense emotion and ignoring this or suggesting it's a sign of weakness is insensitive and may cause communicating emotions later on.)
11. "No-one asked you your opinion."
(Don't reject your child's opinions. If you shut them out of adult conversations you will only have yourself to blame if she never offers an opinion when she is older)
12. "I don't like the friends you hang around with."
(This is a tough one too, as influence is a huge thing in their lives. They identify with a peer group. If you criticise the group, feel like you are criticising them and take it personally. Try to widen their social group)
13. "You should be a doctor/lawyer/teacher."
(Allow them to develop their own ambitions)
14. "After everything I have done for you!"
(Oh the guilt! Nobody asked us to spend an hour preparing a meal or giving up a full time job. We are what we are because of the love we have for our families. Expect nothing in return and love the surprises when they happen)
15. "You're looking a bit chubby, aren't you?"
(Ouch, I have seen this happen before my eyes. Someone said it to a young girl, I saw her flinch. There are so many eating disorders out there, we don't have to add to them. As the saying goes "If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all!)
I think we have all fallen short somewhere along the line, but the wonderful thing about life is, we are allowed to make mistakes. We just need to learn from them and strive to do better next time.

1 comment:

Anne said...

Well said. Thank you for sharing those tips to help us become better parents to our children. Yes we all fall short of them at times but you made a good point. We should learn from our mistakes and move on to try and be better parnents. Have a nice day!