The Forbidden Words: 10 Phrases You Should Never Utter to Your Children

By Aaron Stone

We all know that there are certain phrases that parents should never say, such as “Wait until your father gets home.” But there are other phrases that are more subtle, but can still be damaging. Here are a few phrases to avoid when parenting

Let Me Help

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If you notice that your child is struggling with something, it is a parent’s natural response to want to help. However, it’s better if you don’t jump in too early because this can undermine your child’s ability and independence. Try asking guided questions to assist them with solving the problem.

Great Job

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If you keep tossing around phrases like “good job”, “good girl” or “yay! Well done.” every time your child does something even remotely impressive then it will motivate them to depend on your affirmation and confirmation rather than their own motivation and independence. Instead let them know what you liked about the things they did. 

No Dessert Unless You Finish Dinner

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We have all used this at one point, but it actually causes more damage because it makes the child believe that there is more value in the dessert than there is in the actual meal. It’s better to say to your child that you eat the meal first and then you have dessert. 

Practice Makes Perfect

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Even though this comment is realistically true, it can cause a pressure in your child to feel as if they have to always win or excel in certain things. It sends them a message that if you make a mistake, you didn’t do good enough. It’s better to encourage your child to work hard because it will make them feel better and it will improve their progress. 

Be Careful 

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If you’re a child, this can cause a level of frustration to constantly hear. But if they are doing something with an element of risk, and they seem okay, just let them do it. If you make a comment, this could distract them and pose more of a risk. If you’re feeling a bit anxious, you could move closer so if they do take a tumble, you’re on hand to assist. 

You’re Okay 

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If your child falls over and hurts themselves, they will most likely let out a cry. Our first instinct is to reassure them that everything is okay and they’re fine. However, they aren’t crying for no reason, they clearly aren’t okay. It’s our job to ensure that they understand and deal with the emotions presented. Let them know that you acknowledge that they’re sad, give them a cuddle and ask if they’d like a bandage. 

Don’t Talk To Strangers

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We’re all aware of stranger danger, and sometimes we might constantly tell our child to not speak to strangers, however, this can be difficult for a young child to understand. A child might not think of a person as a stranger if they are nice enough to them. Children might take this the wrong way and not allow emergency services to assist when in need. Instead of telling them not to speak to strangers, present them with a scenario and see how they would handle the situation. You could guide them to the proper course of action. 

Hurry Up

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A lot of children take ages to eat their food, this is natural as they can become so distracted by other factors. However, constantly telling them to hurry up because you need to do something or go somewhere will just add additional stress to their little minds. Simply soften your tone and say, “Let’s hurry” so they think that the two of you are on the same level. 

We Can’t Afford That

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This is a usual response when your child uses a lot of energy to beg you for the newest toy or a bag of sweets. However, if you let them know that you can’t afford something, this will send them a signal that you’re not in control of your finances and this can become scary for kids. Instead, let your child know that you’re not going to buy it because you’re saving the money for something more important. 

I’m On A Diet

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Keep your weight and dieting habits to yourself. If your child sees that you’re obsessing over your weight and you’re not eating in the same way, then this can give them a false sense of security and they could develop an unhealthy body image. 

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