You are a parent and are doing great! Probably you are conscious enough to not to use old-school phrases such as “your sister is better than you!” or “wait until your daddy gets home!”. Even then, there are quite a lot of everyday phrases that could affect your child in a way you don’t want it to be. Here are such 7 phrases:
1. “Great Job!”
When you are juggling between household chores such as cooking, washing the dishes, dumping a load of dirty clothes in washing machine and concentrating on what your child is doing - it is quite obvious to toss out some generic phrases. This could include “good girl”, “super game”, “nice sketch” or “way to go” for the work they have done or for the story they are sharing. According to parent advisor, Mr. Jenn Berman, these kinds of generic statements for each time they master a skill could make them dependent on parents’ affirmation rather than their own motivation. So, be conscious about using appreciation words and save those words for the time when your child truly deserve it. Also, make sure your appreciation words are as specific as it can be. For instance, “I like the colour you have used!” or “You helped your teammate! That’s a great thing!”
2. "You are okay!"
When your child trips over a stone or scrapes their knees and bursts into tears, don’t tell them they are okay. Maybe you do it instinctively to reassure your child that they aare not badly hurt - but the truth is, it could make your child feel worse. Instead, consider their feelings, acknowledge it and help them deal with their emotions. Ask them if a hug, kiss or a bandage could make them feel better.
3. “We can’t afford that!”
Everyone has financial problems until and unless you are Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates. At the same time, exposing it entirely to your child doesn’t do any good. When your child asks to buy the latest toy or a costy dress, it is a default response of parents that “We can’t afford that” or “We don’t have enough money”. Doing so could make your child feel like you are not in control of your finances - making them scared. Instead, try using different phrases to convey the same message such as “We are saving money for important things. So, we are not buying this."
4. “Let me help you!”
When your child is struggling with a math problem or feeling difficult in understanding some simple logical tasks, don’t try to jump in soon to help. Offering them help early could undermine your child’s independence and make them look out for help every time they are stuck. Instead, help them with guiding questions such as “What do you think you could do? How do you think that could help?” This could help them find the ways to sort out the things by themself.
5. “I am bad at math, too. You are just like me!”
Yes, we agree your child has your genes and they are an extension of you. Even then, telling your child that they are bad at something just because you were bad could make your child stop trying. So, no matter what, ensure you don’t tell your child they are bad just cause you were.
6. “I am on a diet!”
As a parent, each one of us wishes to teach our child to be confident and happy in their own skin. When you let out information like a diet in front of your child, your child starts developing opinions about body image. They might get the impression that starving could get them some appreciation for their body. Instead, discuss with them about having healthy foods and regular exercise. Tell them that it could keep them healthy and fresh all day - they will certainly follow your footsteps.
7. “Stop crying!”
When you keep repeating this phrase, your child will come to a conclusion that crying is bad. That could make your child suppress their emotions. This will definitely affect your child in an unhealthy way at later point of life. So, to help your child, ask them why they are crying. Have a conversation about it and teach them to understand and deal with those emotions.
So, next time you talk to your child, ensure you don’t use these phrases because the little strokes could pull down great oaks!