Sticks and stones ain’t got nothin’ on destructive words. These powerful elements have the ability to elevate, encourage and nurture just as well as they can cripple, destroy and crush. This is why parents more than ever need to think before they speak.
Words have the capacity to wound. In fact the damage they inflict is often more difficult to repair than any sort of physical harm. Children feel the impact of harsh words at a much higher level than any adult would. They can easily internalize mistaken ideas and beliefs based on the words a parent chooses to use. Once this occurs, it is sometimes extremely difficult to rectify the false concepts after they have taken shape.
In order to avoid verbally damaging a child, prevention is key. When it comes to hurtful words, parents may want to be proactive by familiarizing themselves with the common culprits. Continue reading for 25 phrases that will damage a child for life.
1. You Should Be Ashamed Of Yourself
When a parent invokes the age-old scolding of “You should be ashamed of yourself”, they are attempting to shame a child into feeling guilt about their behavior. Probably in the hopes that they will change it. So not only is a parent stating that their child is a disgrace — but they are doing so in a very underhanded and passive aggressive sort of way.
Shame is a very powerful emotion — but when a parent tries to use it in order to discipline or alter a child’s behavior, it tends to backfire. In a child’s mind, this repeated phrase may eventually translate into the belief that they aren’t good enough and can’t do anything right. As a result, they may just give up trying to please their parents altogether.
Most child experts agree — telling a child to be ashamed of themselves is definitely not a constructive comment. At best, its meaning is completely lost on a child and so does nothing to help them learn appropriate and respectful behavior. At worst, it results in emotional damage and scarring.