Some things you should never say to your child.
1. “Wait till your Father (Mother) gets home”.
Demand: Your child just made a demand. You know you are incapable of providing it at the moment. Instead of telling the child wait till your father (or mother) gets home”, simply tell the child,” Ok, we will look into it”. This makes the child appreciate the significance of both parents in the home.
Discipline: this is discipline that will confuse children by separating consequences from actions. It ultimately undermines your authority and credibility as a parent. And making the other parent “bad”. It is never a good idea. If a child does something wrong; discipline the child there. Note: don’t let the other spouse discipline the child again after you had. This is worse.
2. “You are just like your father (mother).”
Parent’s use this phrase often when a child does something wrong. Your child may have traces of your spouse but every child is unique. Don’t compare your child to your spouse. If it’s something worthy of admiration let the child know he (she) practically earns the commendation.
3. "Don't talk to strangers."
This is tough for a young child to grasp. Even if a person is unfamiliar, she may not think of him as a stranger if he(she) is nice to them. Kids take this rule to mean anyone apart from those around them. Studies have shown that 80% of abused children are victims of those closest to them. Since the vast majority of child-abduction or abuse cases involve someone a kid already knows, you might consider telling them: "If anyone makes you feel sad, scared, or confused, you need to tell me right away. Then believe the child. Instead of warning them about strangers, bring up scenarios ("What would you do if a man (woman) you don't know offers you chocolate or a ride home?"), have them explain what they'd do, then guide them to the proper course of action.
4. "Practice makes perfect."
This is a statement of fact, however, this adage can ramp up the pressure he (she) feels to win or excel. It sends the message that, ‘if you fail, you didn't train hard enough’. Some kids beat themselves up, wondering, 'What's wrong with me? I put all my effort, I practised all the time”. This can kill the child’s will to try again. Instead, encourage your child to work harder because he (she) will improve and feel proud of his (her) progress.
5. "I Will Never Forgive You"
You think some parents don’t say this? Oh yes, some do. We sometimes react too quickly when a child does something unthinkable. Saying something like this could be truly damaging to a child. When you say this to a child, you damage the child’s will to forgive himself (herself). This can hunt the child for the rest of their life.
Instead: It's better for the parent to say: 'what you did was hurtful, but we will find a way to leave this behind us and carry on,’ In the heat of the moment, it's easy to say something rash. Take a deep breath and wait until you calm down before you speak.
6. "I'm Ashamed of You"
Some parents use this phrase. This makes the child feel like a disgrace in the family. Some of us still live in the guilt of what our parents said to us years ago. Instead: Let the child know what he (she) did is wrong. And reaffirm your love to them despite all odd.
7. “You should be like your brother (sister)”
If you keep using this phrase for your child, you are building a wall of hatred and division among your children you will never be able to break down. Children are born with different skills. A child who does well in academics may do very poorly in sports or music. Instead, discover your child potentials and encourage them to develop that skill. (I will take about the 8 intelligences (skill) every child possess and how you can discover it in my later article)
8. “Leave me alone”.
If you habitually tell your child, “leave me alone”, “Don't bother me" or "I'm busy," children internalize the message and feel they have no importance in your life. Instead, set parameters such as, “When I finish this project, we will go outside …” or get the child involved in what you are doing. Even if it’s just to sort papers’ Children like that too.
9. “You are so….(dirty, lazy, slow, dull, foolish, arrogant, loud, fat, thin etc.)”
Negative labels tend to become self-fulfilling prophecies, so be careful what you tell your children they are, or they may develop into whatever you say.
10. “You will get pregnant if a man touch-es you” or “you can get her pregnant if you touch her”.
You know this is not true. Children believe their parents and teachers. One day your child gets to find out this is not true. Then, you have completely lost your integrity. Instead educate your child on sex. Children from 6 years old are getting familiar with their body parts. Start from that age. (I will talk about ‘educating your child about sex’ in my later article).
11. "We can't afford that."
It's easy to use this response when your child begs you for something new and expensive. Doing so sends the message that you're not in control or your needs are more important than their wants. You should know that most kids thinks household items (even cooker) are your wants not theirs. Some kids can ride in their friends’ parent’s car and demand you buy it too. Children don’t believe there’s anything their parents can’t afford. Instead convey the same message, such as, "We're not going to buy that now because we're saving our money for so and so”. Let the child be involved. Make them know the importance of budget.
12. "Let me help."
When your child is struggling with building blocks or to finish a puzzle, it's natural to want to help the child. Don't! If you step in too soon, that can undermine your child's independence because they'll always be looking to others for answers. Instead, ask guiding questions to help the child solve the problem: "Do you think the big piece or the little one should go at the bottom? Why do you think that? Let's give it a try."
13. ‘Don’t worry, it will be fine”
Instead of being reassuring, you can appear to be dismissing the feelings of an anxious child. Instead, say, “I can see you’re worried. Can you tell me what you’re most worried about, so we can talk about it?” This makes children open up to you.
14. “You have started again”
When a child is doing something you warned them about, don’t say, “‘you have started again”. Kids don’t keep wrongs in their memory like we adults do. Instead find ways to communicate that same thing to the child in a manner that makes the child know it’s their responsibility to do it better.
15. ”...because I said so”
This is very common phrase passed on from our parents. Parents who often use this phrase don’t want their children to feel they can have a say in anything they (parents) have to do or say. Instead get the child involved. They are not your puppet.
16. “That’s not how to do it”
If you have asked your child to do a task or they are trying something new, resist the urge to intervene. Otherwise your child will be less likely to try things on their own or at your request for fear of criticism. If you do have to step in, do it as collaboration, not in a dismissive way
17. “Stop that or I will teach you a lesson you will never forget”.
Threats, usually the result of parental frustration, are rarely effective. If a threat is not made in short order, it loses all effectiveness. And experts say in general, threats of hitting have been found to lead to more spanking, which itself has been proven to be an ineffective way to change behaviour, especially in young children.
18. “Be careful”
Saying this while your child is balancing on the bicycle or trying something that requires balancing actually makes it more likely the child will fall. "Your words distract them from what they are doing, so they lose focus. If you're feeling anxious, move close to spot them in case the child takes a tumble, being as still and quiet as you can.