Five Things You’ll Say as a Mom and What Your Kids Really Hear


Kids are like sponges. No, they’re not cleaning up messes and making your life a lot simpler; they’re like sponges in that they absorb everything around them. What you say, what you do and how you behave is what they see and learn and that’s probably how they’re going to be and say and do in their own lives. That’s too bad considering so many of us are so negative and less than uplifting. And as moms, we tend to use our impatient voice more than our patient voice, we tend to be too busy sometimes, and we tend to say the wrong thing at the wrong time. While it’s unavoidable at times – no one is perfect, after all – we should make it a point to be a little more patient with the kids. What if I told you five things we usually say to our kids and then teach you how to replace it with five things we should say, instead? Would that help you start down the path to more positive parenting?

You are So…

Never tell your child they are so something, unless you’re telling them they are so important to you or so wonderful. You’re so irritating right now, so mean, so hurtful; these things are labels and labels are awful for kids. Instead, try saying something along the lines of, “Your behavior is…” because it shows your children that THEY are not something, their behavior is. And behavior can be changed.

Leave Me Alone!

As many times a day as you would LOVE to tell your kids to leave you alone, you can’t do it. Instead, offer them an alternative. For example, “Mommy needs five minutes to finish cooking dinner, and then I’m happy to…” and then give them something to do in the meantime.

I Don’t Care!

I don’t care how many times Dora has to ask the map to find the mountain or how many times my daughter told her teacher she got a new kitten today. I actually do not care. I couldn’t care less. But I can’t tell my kids that. I save it for my husband when he comes home. To my kids, however, I pretend to care and then I change the subject to something more interesting and less shoot me in the head now, please.

What is Wrong with You?

We want to ask this countless times throughout the day, and not just to our kids. We want to pose this question to incompetent strangers, to people helping us in the store, to our spouses; but we don’t. We can’t; it’s rude and hurtful and unloving. Instead, ask your child what they were thinking when they engaged in XYZ. It’s a nicer way of asking without accusing them of being ‘wrong’ or broken.

Stop Crying!

I can’t tell you how many times I want to say this to my kids. Ironically, not my 11-month-old twins so much as my 3-year-old who has occasional days when the color of the sky makes her cry. I want to scream at her to stop crying because she’s making me crazy. But I don’t; I take her to school. Kidding. Well, not kidding, I do take her to school, but I don’t yell at her – often. Instead, I give her a few minutes and then ask her to use her words to tell me what’s wrong so we can fix it.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images


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