Words can hurt as much as blows. In fact, the emotional wounds they inflict are often very deep and carry over much of life. For this reason, parents should be aware of how they talk to their children, especially when they are angry. Remember that a negative phrase is like driving a nail in a door, you can remove it but the mark will last.
Five expressions that you should never use with your child
“You never do anything right”
Unfortunately, this is a fairly common phrase, which we often hear from parents. Generally this expression is motivated by frustration but the truth is that it can be deeply demotivating, as well as being uncertain since it is an overgeneralization. In fact, children must make mistakes to learn, and it is also normal for them to find it harder to do certain tasks. Therefore, the child who continuously hears this phrase will end up believing it, will not make an effort to learn or improve since, after all, he will believe that he is not capable of doing anything well.
“You are a …”
The list of adjectives is practically endless. There are parents who complain that their child is not intelligent, is very annoying, too lazy or messy. It is true that each little one has his own temperament, but that does not mean that we should label him. When we put a label from the first years of life, it is incorporated into the image that the child develops of himself, so it becomes a limiting belief. If the little one grows up believing that he is “stupid” or “lazy,” he will most likely not strive to overcome his limitations, so that label will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Most children love to ask, they are naturally curious, and they want to find out the why of things. It is true that at times their insistence can be annoying, especially after a long day at work, but phrases like “stop bothering” only make the child lose interest in discovering the world. In this way, the message we convey to him is that his curiosity is inadequate, so he will gradually withdraw into himself and trust us less and less. Instead of using this phrase, explain that at that moment you are exhausted, that later you can spend time and explain better.
“That way you won’t get anywhere”
This phrase instills a deep fear. The child understands that he is doing something wrong, but since the expression is so general, he does not know exactly what it is or what he can do to solve it. As a result, you likely think there is something wrong with it. If this idea catches up, your self-esteem can be deeply affected and, in the long run, you will become unmotivated and will not try to do anything new because, after all, you feel that you are not capable of doing it.
“I had told you”
It is a very common expression, in fact, it is likely that you have even said it on occasion, especially if you warned your son of something and then he insisted on contradicting you. However, keep in mind that children must learn by making their own mistakes. Although we can guide and teach them, we cannot prevent the little ones from making mistakes. For this reason, this phrase, repeated several times, can cause the child to develop a deep fear of being wrong, to think that mistakes are something negative. As a result, it is likely that in the future you will try to take the easy path, that you will opt for solutions in which you do not have to risk anything, but with which you will not gain anything either.