Parenting is an undeniably difficult job—and having your kids at home 24/7 while schools and daycares are closed can make it even more stressful. Unfortunately, that additional layer of stress during an already difficult time can sometimes manifest in ways you’re not intending—like being short with your kids or saying things you don’t mean. If you want to keep your relationship with your children on steady footing, read on for the things parents shouldn’t say to their kids.
1″You’re so dramatic.”
However certain you are that your kid’s behavior is over the top, labeling them “dramatic” when they’re trying to express themselves can have serious long-term consequences.
Children look to their parents to learn how to manage emotions, so if parents teach them that their feelings are silly, they will grow in to adults who believe that their feelings don’t matter.
While all kids can behave selfishly from time to time, telling them they are inherently selfish can cause lifelong trauma.
It’s important that parents are clear that they are disappointed with what the child did, not who they are as a person.
3″You don’t feel that way.”
Even if your kid is saying something that you believe to be less than completely true like, “I hate you,” it’s still important that you don’t try to dismiss their feelings.
You don’t feel that way’ is one of the worst things parents can say to their children.
4″I wish you’d never been born.”
No matter how frustrated you are with your child, it’s never acceptable to go as far as telling them that you wish they hadn’t been born.
I’ve known clients who’ve been told this and were scarred for life by the remark.
5″Why can’t you be more like your sibling?”
Sibling rivalry is just another part of growing up in many families, but when parents actively promote it between their children, it’s always damaging.
This can cause a child to believe they are not good enough at their core, and that who they are, is defective in some way.
Unless you want to permanently harm your relationship with your children, don’t ever tell them that they’re stupid.
You might be saying it in moments of frustration or anger, but the injury can last for many years.
7″You’re the man of the house.”
Even if you mean it in a joking way, saying this to your son can put an undue burden on him, especially when they’re already dealing with the stress of a family split.
8″No dessert until you’ve finished dinner.”
Of course, you don’t want your kids to waste food. That said, enforcing the “clean plate club” rule at your house can have serious ramifications in terms of your kid’s autonomy and eating habits.
You’re already having difficulty getting your child to eat their food, and this actually increases your child’s perceived threat and creates an increased power differential.
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