By: Krystle Crossman
Children hear some common phrases almost every single day of their lives. What their parents may not realize is that these phrases can be damaging for their child to hear. Here are some things that you shouldn’t say to your children and how to rephrase them from Michelle Crouch of Parents Magazine:
1. Hurry up – Your child is only going to get more stressed out if you are rushing them and this phrase only makes matters worse. They will feel as if they are the reason that things are running behind. Instead try saying “we have to hurry”. This way it implies that you are trying to get yourself together as well.
2. I am on a diet – If you tell your child that you can’t eat something because you are on a diet you could be giving them a poor sense of body image. They will see you trying to weigh yourself every day, or looking in the mirror and sighing every day, and they will think that they need to do the same. Instead tell them that you are eating healthy foods because it makes you feel a lot better.
3. Good job – Now this one may not outwardly seem like a damaging phrase but think about the context you are using it in. If they are in a game, say for baseball, and at the end of the game you say “good job” or “great job” they will seek that same generic approval all of the time. Instead try telling them specifically what they did a great job on so that they will not expect praise all of the time.
4. Let me help you – Children need to figure out problems on their own and they cannot do that if you are always stepping in and helping them. Instead ask them questions that can guide them to figuring out a solution on their own.
5. You’re fine – If your child hurts themselves we have a tendency to tell them that they are okay because we don’t want to make a big fuss and make it worse than it is. However by telling them that they are fine they are going to feel like you are brushing off their pain. If they are crying they are obviously not okay. Give them a hug and instead ask them how you can help to make it better.
6. We can’t afford it – This gives your child the impression that you are having money troubles. That can be scary for older kids. Tell them instead that you are working on saving your money for something better and they will become excited and have a conversation with you about the future.
7. You can’t have dessert unless you finish dinner – This makes dinner much less enjoyable because then they are only focused on the treat and nothing else. Tell them instead that first they eat their dinner and then they get dessert. This doesn’t put the added pressure that they absolutely must eat their dinner.
8. Practice makes perfect – This is a phrase that is used so often. However it may give your child the feeling that you need them to be perfect and that they aren’t working hard enough at the current moment. Just encourage them to put in some hard work and don’t use the word perfect.
9. Never talk to strangers – To a child anyone that they have never met before is a stranger. So what if they need help from a police officer or a firefighter? They will be very hesitant to talk to them because they are a stranger. Instead talk to them about situations where strangers could be dangerous and what to do about it.
10. Be careful – When you are watching your child do something that is potentially dangerous you are going to be inclined to tell them to be careful. The problem with this is that it breaks their concentration and could actually make them more likely to have an accident. Try to position yourself where you can help them quickly if something happens and remain quiet while they concentrate.