Let’s be honest here - being a parent is not so easy. Every time you think you have figured out what your kid likes and when they tend to get cranky, they change. It is so hard to please them and get them to behave themselves. Even if you are one of those parents who is blessed with obedient kids, there surely must have been a time when it was almost impossible to get on the same page about things.
For most kids, it takes time to become mature, responsible and understanding and till then, all we can do is wait and raise them the right way. Here are a few of the most typical things parents say that can only make everything so much worse than it is.
1. “No more whining.”
When kids don’t get what they want, they may start whining. The first thing parents say when this happens is to tell their kids “No whining.” or “No cribbing.” This will only worsen the situation as their wails get louder and more unbearable. So, the next time they ask for something that they can’t have, firmly say “no.” When they start pleading and whining, be firm again and tell them “Asked and answered.” Repeat this every time they start whining and they will know not to ask more than once.
2. “I told you this would happen.” or “See?”
No child likes being talked down to or in a condescending manner. Although a parent means no harm when saying “I told you so”, this can come off as a bit rude. You may be shedding light on the fact that what you said was right, but there is a better way of saying this to your child. Perhaps you asked them not eat too many chocolates and now their tummy hurts. You could simply talk to them about what had happened after they are alright and have settled down. Turn it into a learning experience by asking what they learned from it and how they would react next time.
3. “I will tell your papa about this.”
This is the worst thing one can do. By doing this, your kid will feel scared of their father. This may cause your child to keep secrets from their father in fear of what would happen if he finds out. Another downside to using this phrase is that it sends the message that you will not take any immediate action against it. The better way to deal with when your child misbehaves is to react to it immediately and not use any scary form of punishment - it should be more about understanding their fault/mistake, accepting it and apologising. They can also decide what punishment would be given if they do repeat it.
Yes, they should know to apologise for when they do something wrong. But before this, they should know what they did wrong and why it is wrong. Rather than saying sorry, they could perform an action to really understand the emotion and meaning of the word “sorry”. Say they hit another child - either a sibling or the neighbour’s kid. They could be asked to bring a bag of ice for the hurt child and help by placing it on the wound. This way, they can learn that their actions have consequences and thus, the next time they get angry, they would think twice before hitting a friend or sibling.
5. “No, don't cry.”
Crying is a healthy emotion that allows children to express themselves. By telling them not to cry, you are making them feel like their tears don’t matter or have no meaning. This would also teach them to not share their feelings with you and to hide their emotions. So, instead of saying “don’t cry”, you could say “you are sad” or “you are angry”. This would give them an opportunity to express themselves and talk about what is making them upset.
6. “Stop _________ “
Whether you are trying to tell your child to stop yelling or to stop running, they are not going to listen if you tell them to “stop”. This is because it is a negative way of getting your child to do something. They are more likely to continue doing what you said after “stop” as if they never even heard you. Instead, you could tell them to “Use your inside voice.” to get them to stop yelling. They would then stop, think, look around and then speak softly.
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