22. What’s Wrong With You?
It can be tempting to utter phrases like this during moments of frustration, but make no mistake: telling your kids there’s something wrong with them will always do more harm than good.
When we respond out of frustration, it teaches our children to question if something is, in fact, wrong with them, and they seek to avoid this type of response from you in the future.
23. I Don’t Believe You
If you want your kids to feel comfortable opening up to you, you’d be wise to start from a place of acceptance and belief when they try to tell you something.
When you make this kind of statement, you initiate distrust by assuming your child is lying, and this can severely damage your relationship. Kids will quickly learn to hide their actions from you because they no longer feel safe opening up. Instead, ask your child to provide more details about what happened, which can help foster a productive conversation.
24. I Will Never Forgive You
It’s happened to even the best of us — we react quickly when a child does something unthinkable. Saying something like this could be truly damaging to a child. Now the child feels that whatever has been done will forever be remembered against them.
It’s better for the parent to say: “What you did was harmful, but we will find a way to leave this behind us and carry on.” In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to say something rash. Take a deep breath and wait until you calm down before you speak.
25. Because I Said So!
This is probably the most clichéd parenting saying around — but you should avoid it. It’s a powerful phrase, but it takes all control away from your kids. You don’t always have time to explain your reasoning, but you should try to give your kids a better context of why you’re asking them to do (or not do) something.
Try this instead: “I know you really want to visit Tommy this afternoon, but I have to do the laundry — and I need your help. How about we see him tomorrow?” It helps your kids know that their feelings matter and you listen to what they have to say.
No matter what you say to a child, it’s important to think before you speak. Understand that youngsters are naturally curious and active, and speaking to them candidly about any problems or questions they may have is always your best bet.