Parents have numerous thoughts running through their heads at any given moment. In fact, if strangers could spend 60 seconds inside the mind of a mother in public, they’d probably pass out from exhaustion. The typical mom thinks, “I really hope no one talks to me while I’m in here. Do these jeans make my butt look amazing or unimpressive? Omg, please don’t let me run into anyone I know. Did I start the dryer after I put the laundry in it? What did she need for class tomorrow? I should really make a list…oh, wine, for sure. I should order that bag. Who goes out of the house looking like that? I wish I had bacon and a latte. No, make it a mimosa. Lady if you touch my kid, I’m going to drop kick you. Don’t make eye contact, is my wallet in my bag or did I stick my debit card in my pocket yesterday after I got gas? Crap, I did get gas, right?” and that’s just the beginning. Then there’s the whole part about your kids whining for one more cookie, a balloon, gummies, a cookie, snacks, a cookie…and by the time you leave the store, you want to run away from home. But you can’t tell your kids you want to run away from home. In fact, you can’t tell your kids a lot of things. And we have a substantial list of things that you really, really can’t say to your kids because the damage your words might cause is irreversible. That’s the thing about words; once spoken they cannot be undone.
Telling kids not to cry is never the answer. Sure, you want them to stop because it’s irritating, but you should not tell them not to show emotion. You want your kids to feel that it’s okay to cry – because it is. It’s a show of emotion. Instead, encourage your children to cry it out and then come to you so you can talk about it. Or just hug them.
Don’t be Like Your Sibling
Your child does not need to hear you compare him/her to his/her sibling. And the sibling doesn’t need to hear it, either. This leaves one feeling as if you love the other better and one feeling as if you don’t love him or her enough.
Why Can’t You be More Like Your Sibling
This is a terrible idea and a horrible question. It’s essentially the same thing as saying, “You know, you’re not good enough for us, and we don’t love you as much,” and it’s going to have a completely opposite effect on your child. It’s going to cause more acting out rather than improvement.
I Really Can’t Remember why I Wanted Kids
We all feel this way in the middle of a supermarket meltdown, but we can’t say it. Sure, sometimes we really can’t remember why we wanted kids, but we did and we do have them. That means it’s time to shake it off and have a better day. It’s not always so bad, you know.
You want them to sometimes, and that’s okay. When the kids are irritating and you’re tired or you’re not feeling well, it’s only natural to wish they were anywhere else. But you can’t say it, because that kind of sentence to a child is crushing. Be patient, and sneak out of there.
Stop Being a Baby
When you imply that a child is being something, it’s a label. Labels are dangerous to a degree that cannot even be put into words. Kids see themselves through your eyes, and telling them they are being babies is a good way to ensure that this is how they begin to view themselves.
You’re Such a Brat
Your child is not a brat. Your child’s behavior is bratty. There is a big difference, and the way that you word this to your child makes a significant impact on how your child thinks of him or herself. Telling him he is a brat makes him think he is. Telling him his behavior is bratty makes him feel that he is able to change.
You’re Such a Bad Girl/Boy
Kids are not bad. They behave badly, but they are not bad. Do your children a favor and tell them that their behavior is poor and that you’d like to see that change. Kids need to know that what’s going on is capable of change, and that they can do it without too much damage. A child’s behavior is very reminiscent of things that they can likely control – lack of sleep, not feeling well, a bad mood. Let your kids talk it out, discuss what’s going on and find a way to make them feel good about it so that they can work on changing bad behavior.
You Make Me so Angry
When you phrase something like this to a child in a way that starts with “you” it makes your child feel that they are the issue. They are not the issue. Their attitude, behavior or choices are the issue. When a child knows that something they can control is the issue, they can change it. Be very specific when your child makes you angry. Tell your child what it is that he or she has done or is doing that makes you angry so that there is no doubt in his or her mind what can be done to fix this issue.
You’re Such a Disappointment
Children are not a disappointment. Their behavior is disappointing. Some of their choices are disappointing. You have to point that out. When you tell a child they are a disappointment, you tell them that you don’t love them. You tell them that you wish you’d never had them, that you are upset that this child is yours and that he or she is not good enough. Those assumptions – even though it’s not what you mean – are very easy for small children, teens and even young adults to make.
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