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5 Psychologically Damaging Things Parents Say To Their Kids Without Realizing It

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We parents are trying our best, but sometimes — a lot of times — we fall short.

That’s why it can be helpful to know some of the potentially damaging phrases parents often resort to without realizing their impact. It’s not about beating ourselves up. It’s about doing better by being a bit more conscious of our language.

1. “It’s not a big deal.”

Kids often cry or melt down over stuff that seems really silly. But while kids’ crying and whining can definitely get under their parents’ skin — particularly when it’s over something you think they should be able to cope with — it’s harmful to diminish their very real feelings by basically telling them to buck up.

When we discount their emotional responses to very real challenges, we tell them, ‘How you feel doesn’t matter,’ or ‘It’s silly to be afraid or disappointed.

Instead, try this:

Take a moment and try to understand things from their perspective. Saying something like: “You seem really scared or frustrated or disappointed right now. Should we talk about it and figure out what to do?” Ultimately, you’re helping them label their emotions and making it clear that you’re there for them.

2. “You never” or “You always do XYZ.”

Children have their patterns, but saying your kid “always” or “never” does something simply isn’t true. It misses opportunity for you to teach them what they should and what they can do next time

Instead, try this:

Remind yourself to be curious about why your child is engaging in a particular behavior at a particular time. It really helps to connect by getting physically close to your child in that moment.

3. “You make me sad when you do that.”

Sure, it might really bum you out when your child doesn’t listen, but it is important to set (and hold) boundaries without throwing your emotions into the mix. Those feelings are yours, not theirs. Plus, you’re setting a precedent by potentially giving them a lot of negative power.

Instead, try this:

Set whatever boundary you need to set, like, “It’s not OK to jump on couches. Then, give some choices such as, “Would you rather play quietly in here or go outside?”

4. “You should know better.”

When you say something like “you should know better,” what you’re ultimately trying to do is guilt or shame your child into changing. But that puts kids on the defensive, which makes them even less likely to listen. It also undermines their confidence.

If we tell our kids they should know better — yet clearly they didn’t — we’re sending the message, ‘You’re too dumb/immature to make a good decision. Not exactly what we intended..

Instead, try this:

Saying something like “Hmm, looks like we’ve got a situation here! What can we do to fix it?” The goal is to focus on solutions — not the problem — so children practice problem-solving and fixing their own mistakes, and think about ways to make better choices in the first place.

5. “Just let me do it.”

When you’re rushing out the door or waiting for your child to complete a simple task that is seemingly taking forever, your instinct might be to just take over. But try to avoid doing that if you can.

You’re telling your child, ‘You’re not capable of this, so I need to get involved.’ This is both discouraging and really frustrating. Imagine if you were super close to being able to do your own zipper and just needed a few more tries, but then Dad swoops in and stops you in your tracks.

Instead, try this:

Slow down and give your child the time they need to complete their task. Or at the very least, be clearer about why you have to rush. Say something like, I’ll help you just this once since we’re running so late, but let’s work on this together later!

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source:huffpost

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