The Happiness Blog

2 minutes reading time (447 words)

What NOT to say to kids


Sometimes it seems like our kids were born to test our patience. They push the limits, creating new ones we never knew existed, and sometimes it is very tempting to snap, criticize, bribe or threaten, just to get them to behave in the way we want.

But as parents, we have to realize that some things we say have a lasting impact. It may seem innocuous, but our words can seriously affect a child’s self-esteem, confidence and how they approach problems in the future.

So, what are some things you should not say to your kids? Read on to find out.

You’re so smart!
What could be so bad about praise? Telling a child that they are smart or “the best” at something could make them scared to try new, more challenging things, for fear of not being “smart” anymore. Instead, try praising the effort and hard work.

Why can’t you be as smart/good/nice as your brother/sister/cousin?
When you compare your kids to someone else, their self-esteem takes a hit. There’s no point hurting their feelings, they won’t magically become good at something just because you compared.

Let me do it for you.
It may be easier to just tie our kids’ shoes, brush their teeth, do their homework and so on for them but if we keep doing things for our children, they’ll never learn to do it themselves. Instead, ask guiding questions to help them solve the problem and foster independence.

I hate my body.
We set powerful examples for our kids without even realizing it. If you project a positive body image, it’s more likely your kids will do the same.

Stop crying!
Yup, there are few things more annoying (or stressful) than a kid crying. But think of it this way: kids have emotions that they need to express too. They need to know that it’s alright to be happy, sad, angry and everyone feels like that at one time or another.

Stop it right now, or else!
Some of our kid’s behavior may be truly irritating, or even hurtful to others but threatening a child just teaches them that brute force or superior cunning can solve a problem, even when the other person does not cooperate. Instead, try teaching them empathy.

If you ____, then you’ll get ______.
Bribing kids will create the impression that the reward is important, not their co-operation. Try gratitude when trying to motivate them to do what you want. Create an impression that what they are doing is fun or good for them, and that is the reward in itself.

And there are just some things that every child loves to hear, here they are: 



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