Parenting can be hard work. It doesn’t come with an instruction manual and regardless of how easy going or wild your children are navigating the world of motherhood or fatherhood can be tricky. The important thing to remember is that there is rarely a right or wrong way of doing things as long as you are taking care of your kid. Still, there are things to remember as a parent and things a parent should never say to their child as a general rule. Obviously every parent can make his or her own decisions as they go along, which is often the case, but there are just some things that aren’t a good idea to say out loud if you want to raise your kid to be a well rounded individual.
It can be easy to forget how naturally sensitive children are. What might sound like a joke or one-off comment to an adult or even an older teenager might go over the heads of smaller children. As a rule, it is never a good idea to say anything that negatively points out a child’s appearance or their personality traits. Doing so can lead to long-term damage that sometimes can’t be done or manifests itself in other issues later on down the line.
In most cases, kids are plenty resilient and can handle a lot. But there are just some things a parent should never say to their child.
“Don’t Be A Baby”
There are a lot of things that could give kids a complex early on and calling them a “baby” simply for being sensitive or shedding a few tears when you wouldn’t is one of those things. There are other ways to urge them to be a little harder like showing them how to be strong in tough situations.
“You Should Be More Like Your Brother/Sister”
No one likes to be compared to someone else, especially when that someone else is your sibling. Kids are the same way. When you tell them to be more like their brother or sister, who is also your child, it can make them feel instantly self-conscious about themselves and feel as though they aren’t good enough for you.
“Say ‘Thank You'”
Teaching your child manners at an early age is important, but you should also teach them why they should say “please” and “thank you.” Simply training your child to robotically say “thank you” isn’t enough. Instead, it’s important to say something like, “What do you think we should say?” or ,”Do you know why you should say ‘thank you'”? This way, they learn the socially acceptable phrases to show gratitude and they know why they are saying it.
“You’ll Be Fine”
If your child scrapes his or her knee or has their feelings hurt, the last thing they want to hear is the words “you’ll be fine,” which can sometimes feel like you’re brushing off their concerns. You shouldn’t buy into their over the top dramatics by any means, but you also shouldn’t disregard how they might be feeling.
“I’m Mad At You”
Even if you might be feeling angry at your child, they are usually not old enough to understand that when you say you’re mad at them, it doesn’t mean you don’t like them. Instead, it would be more beneficial to your relationship with your child to tell them why they upset you rather than an accusatory “I’m mad at you.”
“Because I Said So”
It’s a common retort when a child asks why they should do something a parent told them to do, but it doesn’t offer anything to the exchange. Even though kids are kids, they deserve to know why a parent asks them to do something or needs them to complete a task.
“Say You’re Sorry”
This goes up there with the idea of telling your child to say “thank you.” Instead of telling your kid to tell someone else they are sorry, first explain to your child why what they did was wrong and why they should apologize. It offers a lot more to better help your child understand the situation.
“Let Me Do It Instead”
Sometimes, it’s a lot easier to wash the dishes or vacuum the living room yourself, but kids need to learn about chores and responsibility. If you take over whatever task they are doing because you think you could do it better yourself, it doesn’t teach them anything other than that giving up is OK.
Dismissively telling your child to “go play” is possibly as bad as telling them to “go away.” It’s another way to essentially get rid of your child and usually, kids are perceptive enough to see this. Instead, you could gently urge them to play with a specific toy for a little while.
“I Don’t Have Time”
Kids can be exhausting. Sometimes, it’s hard to find the energy to play every game they want you to engage in. But telling them you don’t have the time for one activity but equate to them thinking you don’t have time for them specifically.
“Why Didn’t You Get An A?”
We all want our children to do their very best in school. Sometimes, however, their best isn’t a report card full of A’s and that’s OK. When you ask why their B or C wasn’t as good as an A would be, it negates any effort they might have out into earning the grade they did get.
Some of these might be a little more obvious than others. But sometimes, there are things you might automatically say as a parent before you even think about how it will affect your child afterward. Parenting is a very careful balancing act and in order to help your child’s development rather than hinder it, there are just some things you should never say to your child as their parent.