Kids are easily impressionable and have the capability of reading faces and body language more than we think. This means lying to their face and being aggressive or disappointed will leave a mark on them… a mark they will hold onto till they become parents themselves.
In a way to raise happier, more understanding kids, Lebanon Kids’ Guide compiled a simple list of 5 things to say to kids.
5 things to never say:
1. Why aren’t you more like you sister/brother
Well, in simple words, each kid has their own capabilities, skills, talents, and interests. You cannot compare them to someone who is more successful in a field or someone who has a positive, calm attitude about life. Kids will only remember the fact that their parents are displeased with them. This leads to low self-esteem and a decrease in their productivity, enthusiasm, and willingness to do something.
2. Good/great job!
Even though this sounds like a positive comment to say to your kid, it has many disadvantages as well. By saying this sentence repeatedly, kids will think they need their parents’ validation or else they are failures. In addition, if they see a difficult task ahead, they will hesitate and most probably avoid doing it, just so that they avoid the disappointment in their parents’ eyes.
3. You’re so selfish/needy/stupid/lazy…
Such derogatory terms will never, ever, leave a kid’s mind. Such words will haunt them for life and will lead to low self-esteem and them believing and embodying the terms you used to describe them. If you say “you’re mean” to a kid, they might believe they are actually mean by nature and try to be nice to others. They will define themselves with the words they hear.
4. Don’t cry, don’t hit your sister/brother, don’t be scared…
No-one can ever deny a human being from their emotions. Would you ever tell an adult to stop crying? No. Telling a kid to not hit their sibling or cry when they obviously feel frustrated, unheard, angry, upset about something, will not make them stop crying. This will invalidate their emotions whether scared, angry, or uncertain. Kids are not usually well articulate with words, so expressing their emotions physically and orally (crying and yelling) is the only way to know how to do it.
5. Stop it right now!
When a parent says “don’t” and “stop,” this usually stimulates the kid’s imagination. So when you yell at your kid saying “don’t throw your bottle on the floor,” the image that comes to mind is them littering. But when you say things like “it’s better to throw the bottle in the bin,” this will give them the positive image they should follow.