We know how stressful life can be when you have kids. Sometimes they’ll act like a brat or throw a tantrum that makes us question why we became parents in the first place. Often times we react in ways that later on makes us feel guilty. Sometimes we say things we don’t really mean. Now most of us assume an apology followed by a hug and a kiss will make it all better. But the truth is what we say can make a huge impact in our kids’ lives. So, if we’re not careful, we could end up doing more harm than good. There are a lot of things we know we shouldn’t say in front of the kids. But are you guilty of saying these seemingly-innocent things? Perhaps they aren’t quite so obvious, but you should avoid saying them starting today.
When your kid gets hurt in the playground, you might want to ease their pain by telling them their injury isn’t that bad. But if that were the case, he or she wouldn’t be bawling their eyes out. Don’t belittle how they feel by telling them to knock it off or saying things like “you’re okay”. Help them deal with their “trauma” by hugging them and acknowledging what happened. If they fell from the monkey bars, say something like, “that must have been terrifying!” Then ask them if they’d prefer a kiss or one of their favorite cartoon-themed band-aids.
“I’m On A Diet”
Don’t say you’re dieting in front of your child. You need to keep your weight-loss goals to yourself. Don’t let them see you stepping on the scale or hear you talking about how unhealthy you look or feel, and how you’d look great if you could just “tone your thighs”. Doing so may cause them to develop body image issues. But if your kids ask why you’re eating salads and exercising, explain it to them in a positive matter. Say something like, “I’m eating healthy because it makes me feel well.” And instead of saying, “I need to exercise,” try going for, “I’m going for a walk because it’s sunny and beautiful.”
“Let Me Help”
If your child is struggling with a puzzle or building a new toy, let them figure it out on their own. If you jump in and finish them for them, you’re teaching them to be dependent on others whenever they face life’s “little” problems. That doesn’t mean you can’t offer them a little guidance. If they can’t fit a puzzle piece in, give them a little verbal nudge and say, “do you think that piece might go better in the corner? Give it a try and see.” Not only will this keep them entertained for a while, but they’ll also feel really proud of themselves when they finish their puzzle or project all on their own.
This verbal warning makes sense when your child is clowning around on the monkey bars or climbing a tree. In theory, it’s good advice. But staying balanced requires a lot of concentration. Without realizing it, your words could cause your child to lose focus and fall. But as a parent, you can’t help but worry for your child’s safety, so move in a little closer so you can spot them in case they fall.
“Don’t Talk To Strangers”
Don’t get us wrong! This rule keeps children from being abducted and helps them avoid potentially dangerous situations. But it can also backfire when they need help from grownups like cops or firefighters. Instead of going to these people for assistance, they stir clear or refuse their aid. So, it’s safer to teach them how to behave if a stranger offers them a ride home or candy. Once you plant the idea in their heads, ask them, “what would you do in this instance?” If their explanation isn’t what you want to hear, guide them towards the proper action to take.
It’s tough not using this phrase when your child insists on taking his or her sweet time eating breakfast and getting dressed. They certainly can’t afford to get dinged for being tardy again. But pushing them will only stress your child out more. So instead, try saying, “let’s hurry.” This lets your kid(s) know that you’re all on the same team. If all else fails, trick them into thinking getting ready every morning is a game, “why don’t we race to see who gets ready first?” And if nothing works, set the alarm clocks 10 minutes earlier and try again!