Childhood is one of the most important developmental milestones. During this period, everything from the behaviour exhibited around the children and things that are said to them, considered as nurture and their genetic factors, considered as nature, play a major role in the development of children. Saying the right thing, and having a rational reaction is crucial in order to ensure good development for the child. Today, we will look at 7 things parents should never say to their children.

“Stop crying”

When you tell a child who is crying for any reason to “stop crying”, you are essentially telling them that their expression of their feelings is invalid and an inconvenience to you. Whether that is your intention or not, that is the message the child is receiving. This can cause the child to have a complicated relationship with their emotions. They would find it difficult to express themselves well, and this issue could follow them into adulthood.

Instead, you could inquire about the reasons behind their crying. This encourages communication and will also provide you with insight into what it is that might be bothering the child. With the relevant information, you can provide the help that is needed.

“It’s not a big deal”

Sometimes children may react in a way that may not seem proportionate to the situation at hand. However, in such a case, telling them “it’s not a big deal” will be of help at all. A toy breaking or a candy falling to the ground may not seem like a big deal to you as an adult, but it might be something that really hurts their feelings and causes them distress.

Instead, you could ask them what would they want to do to fix the situation. This allows them to calm down and take an assessment of everything. It also encourages them to develop their own problem-solving skills, because instead of offering them a solution, you are asking them for one.

Things Parents should Never Say To Their Child
Things Parents should Never Say To Their Child

“Girls/Boys don’t do that”

Deeming certain behaviour as ‘gender-appropriate’ can have lasting consequences on a child’s behaviour and development. When you discourage a child from behaving in a certain manner by telling them “girls/boys don’t do that” because it does not fit the gender they may be presenting, it creates unnecessary confusion in a child’s mind. One thing you must remember is that gender is a social construct, hence no behaviour can be ‘girl behaviour’ or ‘boy behaviour, as it is something that societal norms have made up.

Instead, make sure to teach the child that there is nothing off-limits to them solely based on their gender. Feelings and emotions have no gender and they are allowed to experience them all freely.

“I do everything for you”

Telling children “I do everything for you” creates guilt and a sense of owing something to you. Young children cannot take responsibility for themselves, it is the responsibility of their parents to ensure that they are taken good care of and also provide for them.  

Rather than telling a child this, you could tell them everything we do for you is because we love you. This helps them feel loved and not as if they are a burden upon their parents. It will help you strengthen your relationship with the child as well.

Things Parents should Never Say To Their Children
Things Parents should Never Say To Their Children

“Your grades are fine, but they could be better”

Parents tend to be tough on their own children, especially when it comes to academics. If you tell a child, “your grades are fine, but they could be better”, it creates a sense of inferiority. It could actually have the exact opposite effect that you might be hoping for. The child might develop low self-esteem, which could cause their grades to drop even more.

Instead, tell the child you are proud of their achievements. This could help in building up their self-confidence and give them a huge self-esteem boost, consequently improving their performance. Encouraging children is such an important aspect of ensuring overall personality development.

“Do as I say”

During childhood, children are constantly evolving and learning new things. This learning requires proper, step-by-step instructions. Asking children to “do as I say”, will be in no way helpful for the growth of the child’s skills. This phrase does not provide them with a rational explanation for adopting a certain behaviour or performing a task.

Instead, explain to the child the proper reasoning behind an action and why it must be carried out in a certain way. This helps the child understand the exact logic behind everything, which will help them develop their own problem-solving skills. It will also help develop their rational thinking and give them a logical view of the world.

Things Parents should Never Say To Their Children
Things Parents should Never Say To Their Children

“You’re embarrassing me”

Children are incredibly sensitive and very susceptible to being hurt due to the criticism aimed at them. Telling a child “you are embarrassing me” can cause a substantial amount of harm. They might believe that you are ashamed of them, which could produce feelings of hurt. This comment and the feelings of hurt it might cause can sometimes lead the children to learn to be ashamed of themselves and suppress behaviour that has been deemed as “embarrassing”. This could prove to be a major hurdle in a child’s development. They might also feel as if their feelings are being neglected, which could cause them to lash out.

Instead, try being considerate and understanding of the fact that a child will behave like a child. Their behaviour is seldom scrutinized through the same lens you would use to scrutinize an adult’s behaviour. It is important to remember children need a supportive environment that is conducive to their growth and it is the parents’ responsibility to nurture this environment. Just avoiding these phrases will not be enough to create a good environment for a child’s growth. There are many other aspects that play a huge part in this process. However, never forget that your words have lasting and strong effects, so choosing them with caution is critical.

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