Harmful Words That You Shouldn’t Say To Your Child

There are some things that you could say to your child every day and do more harm than good. “Wait until your father gets home”, or “I wish you were more like your brother” are some old-school phrases, but you should also avoid these less obvious ones.

“Hurry up!”

Your child is about to be late for school again and even though she hasn’t learned how to tie her own sneakers, she insists on doing it by herself. Or maybe she needs a little too much time to finish her breakfast. Linda Acredolo, Ph.D., coauthor of Baby Minds can be quoted saying: “Pushing her to get a move on creates additional stress.” Let your child know that you are on the same team and instead say, “Let’s hurry,” and use a softer tone. Also, try to make a game of the boring act of getting ready: “Let’s race. Who gets her pants on first, wins.”

© Ababaka | Dreamstime.com - Beautiful little girl learning to tie shoelaces

© Ababaka | Dreamstime.com – Beautiful little girl learning to tie shoelaces

“Great job.”

Parents advisor Jenn Berman, Psy.D., author of The A to Z Guide to Raising Happy, Confident Kids, says that the research has shown that “Good girl”, “Way to go” and other generic phrases like that, could make your child dependant on your praises instead of her own motivation. Also, the more specific you are, the better. Instead of saying “Great game” or “Nicely played” try to find one specific moment, “That assist was awesome. It is good that you looked for your teammate.”

© Piotr Marcinski | Dreamstime.com - Girl holding basket ball

© Piotr Marcinski | Dreamstime.com – Girl holding basket ball

“You’re okay.”

When your child falls scratching her elbow and starts to cry, you may say that it is not that bad and try to reassure her that she is just fine. On the contrary, you can only make things worse by telling her that she is fine. Dr. Berman says: “Your kid is crying because he’s not okay.” Try not to discount your child’s emotions, but instead, help her understand and deal with them. Try saying something like this: “Wow, that fall was scary. Do you want a bandage?” Then give her a kiss.

“I’m on a diet.”

If you are watching your weight, try to hide that from your kids. Marc S. Jacobson, M.D., professor of pediatrics and epidemiology at Nassau University Medical Center, in East Meadow, New York says that when you are talking about how you are fat and stepping on the scale three times a day, your child may develop an unhealthy body image. Try to make a picture that you are not eating healthy because you want to lose weight, then rather because it makes you feel good. It is no different when it comes to working out. If you say that you have to exercise, it could sound like you are complaining, but if you say:”I think I’ll go for a run. It is a beautiful day outside”, he or she might even join you.

© Stefan Dahl Langstrup | Dreamstime.com - Little boy climbing steps at the playground

© Stefan Dahl Langstrup | Dreamstime.com – Little boy climbing steps at the playground

“Be careful.”

If you say this to your child while she is climbing a tree, you are increasing her odds of falling. Deborah Carlisle Solomon, author of Baby Knows Best said: “Your words distract him from what he’s doing, so he loses focus.” It is normal that you feel worried sometimes, but try to be close to him or her at somewhere where you can spot if he or she falls. Be still and quiet as much as you can.

About the author

Peter Lewis

Hey readers, hows it going? My name is Petar, married and father of two. California native, but currently residing in Seattle. I graduated from UCLA with a degree in Journalism, and started off writing for my local newspaper. I hope I can share some of the wisdom I gathered over the years from raising my two lovely daughters. I hope you all enjoy the writing!