Parents sometimes lose their cool and say things they regret to their kids. The problem is, a careless phrase can do real damage. So here are three things you should never say to your kids, and what to say instead:
- First: Never say “you’re such a klutz” or “you’re so mean.” When you label a kid, by calling them shy, lazy or clumsy - you’re pigeonholing them and they start to think that whatever the adjective is, is who they are. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. You call a kid lazy enough times and they will be. Instead of labeling the child, just label the action or behavior and leave their personality out of it.
- Next, don’t say “why can’t you be more like your sister?” You might think you’re just showing them a good example, but comparing kids sets up sibling rivalry. Every child develops at their own pace, and when they feel pressured to live up to a sibling’s standards it can hurt their self-esteem. Instead, focus on what they do right and praise THAT behavior.
- The final thing you should never say to your kids might come as a big surprise. You should never say “Great job!” Or “good girl!” Why? When you praise every little thing your kids do they start to expect it – and they won’t work hard to earn praise. Instead praise big accomplishments and be specific. Don’t say “good job,” say “thank you for picking up all your toys!” That way kids learn it’s actions that are praise-worthy, not just for living and breathing.