Watch your Words

What not to say to your kids...


“If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him. If, however, we are careful not to push a child beyond the limit of his courage, he is almost sure to get braver.” – John Holt

Parenting can be the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences of your life. But there no strict rules on how to be a parent. You learn as your children grow. You use your instincts, your capabilities, talents, patience and loads of will-power as you grow up with your children. While positivity is a trait that could be used in full measure, there are a lot of negative emotions that can turn the tide against you.

Sometimes what you say, how you say it has a bearing on your child’s behaviour. So here, we list out things we think you should stop from telling your child. They won’t come in an instant, and will take a lot of practice, but in the end, your children will be better off with your ‘reformed’ behaviour.


# “You are the older one. You should set an example for your sister.”

Older siblings mostly bear the brunt when it comes to behaviour. They are often taken to task to set an example for the younger ones. This can make them act out, perhaps out of jealousy and lack of attention. Don’t forget to pay compliments to the older sibling and insist the younger ones look up to her and understands how important she is in their lives.

# “I am ashamed of you!”

Nothing can be more damaging that the above statement. Although it could be said in a fit of anger, it can have a negative impact on your child’s emotions. Instead, try saying this. “I know what you did was bad but I still love you.”

# “I’ll never forgive you!”

Another in the list of quick reactions from a parent, we often say this without thinking that the child will fear that his actions will be remembered forever. In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to say something like this. But stop for a moment, be calm and say this, “What you did was wrong. But let’s see why you did this and discuss why it should never happen again!”

# “Don’t cry like a girl!”

If you are saying this to the boys in your family, you are encouraging gender stereotypes. Crying is not bad and kids need not bottle up their feelings. Help them deal with their emotions openly and honestly. “I know you’re sad because your friend has moved to another city. But you’ll be okay. Talk to me,” would work better!

# “I’m disappointed in you!”

Saying something so blunt can make create an instant negative impact on your child. Remember your first reaction is the one that will stay longer. Don’t use the word ‘disappoint’? Instead you could say that you were surprised and was not expecting whatever had happened to happen.

# “Leave me alone!”

Most often, we are consumed in our thoughts and problems that we tend to shoo our children away when they come up to us with something they’d like to share. Of course, we need our time too, and an occasional break is what we crave for but that doesn’t mean that as parents, we have the absolute right to say things like, “Don’t bother me now. I am busy” or ‘Leave me alone!” Don’t brush them off. Instead say, “Can you give me 10 minutes? I will be with you. I am finishing something very important.”

# “You’re in the way!”

Your child can be a bundle of high energy and can get in your way at times. Instead of barking at them, you can involve them in whatever you are doing. This will divert attention from interfering in your work.

# “Wait till Daddy/Mummy gets home!

We know it’s wrong but still as a parent, we love passing the buck. We pass on the ‘solution’ or ‘punishment’ to the other parent because we don’t want to be the bad person. Don’t postpone penalties just because you want to project yourself as the good parent. Say this, “You are grounded for a week because you said a bad word.”

Like we said before, it’s not easy being a parent. You have to watch your words! You’ll be able to do that with time. All the best!