12 phrases that destroy a child's self-esteem: what to say instead

By SSPDailyMar 15, 2024 11:04 AMChildren
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12 phrases that destroy a child's self-esteem
12 phrases that destroy a child's self-esteem. Source: eng.obozrevatel.com

Words have great power. The things we hear from our parents as children can stick in our minds forever. Words of love and wisdom guide us and help us to become better, while words spoken with anger and distrust make us doubt ourselves for many years. It turns out that even an ordinary phrase that seems safe and innocent can weaken a child's self-esteem and make them feel insecure.

SSPDaily offers you an adaptation of the Bright Side material, the authors of which found out what 12 phrases to avoid when talking to children and what, according to experts, you can say instead. SSPDaily tells about it.

1. Avoid: "I'm so proud of you!" or "Great job!"

Try: "You must be very proud of your work!" or "You completed this puzzle so quickly!"

The first phrase seems innocent, but it is a tricky one. When parents praise children for every little thing-from finishing their lunch to drawing a picture – praise loses its meaning. Instead, try to praise specific things related to your child's accomplishments and encourage them to be self-critical and proud of the things they have done really well.

2. Avoid: "Wait until dad (mom) gets home!"

Try: "Please don't do that again. It makes me sad because..."

When you say the first phrase, you are "postponing" the consequences of the child's misbehavior, and most likely, by the time the other parent comes home, the child will have forgotten what happened. Moreover, you are scaring the child that the other parent will turn your partner into a "bad cop" and lower your authority. Try to solve the problem yourself and explain to your child why you are upset by their behavior.

3. Avoid: "How was your day?"

Try: "What was the best thing for you today?"

"How was your day?" is an empty question that assumes a one- or two-word answer. If you do want to know how your child's day was, ask specific questions that encourage long and detailed answers.

4. Avoid: "No dessert until you're done eating".

Try: "We'll have soup first and then dessert"

By saying the first phrase, you increase the value of the meal and decrease the joy of the meal itself. Try to twist your phrase a little: both the soup and the cake seem delicious, but as we know, they need to be eaten in a certain order.

5. Avoid: "Faster!"

Try: "Let's hurry up!" or "Let's see who puts on their sneakers first!"

When you force your child to do something faster, you increase their stress and make them afraid that they will be late or miss something. Try to twist the phrase so that the child feels that you are both on the same team.

6. Avoid: "Leave me alone!"

Try: "What happened?" or "Please give me a minute to finish this and we'll talk, okay?"

If you constantly brush your child off, he or she will soon begin to think that there is no point in asking you for help or advice because you are always busy. When children do not receive enough support in childhood, they will be less inclined to share their emotions and thoughts with their parents when they grow up. If you can't give your child your full attention at once, patiently ask them to give you a couple of minutes to finish what you're doing.

7. Avoid: "Shame on you!"

Try: "What you did upset me because..."

Your child may be too young to understand what shame is. This empty phrase doesn't give your child any idea why what they did was wrong. Moreover, research has shown that shame can make some children more aggressive. Try explaining to the child what was wrong with his or her behavior and how to avoid it in the future.

8. Avoid: "Don't cry!"

Try: "What happened?" or "What made you so upset?"

Crying is absolutely normal, even if the reason why your child is crying does not seem important to you. Saying "don't cry" belittles the child's feelings, and it can make them feel that their emotions are not important. Instead, you can try to show that you care and that you want to help.

9. Avoid: "You have nothing to be afraid of!"

Try it: "I see that you are afraid, and I am here with you."

The first phrase cannot calm a child down if he or she is already scared. Again, it lets the child know that his or her feelings are not taken into account. Instead, empathize with the child's feelings and discuss the fear and its cause.

10. Avoid: "Because I said so!"

Try: "It's time to turn off the TV and start doing your homework."

The first phrase does not give the child any idea why they should stop or start doing what you want them to do. Instead, it can make your child feel like he or she has no rights and that you are always in control. Try to give simple, clear instructions and briefly explain the reasons behind your words.

11. Avoid: "I could do that when I was your age!"

Try: "Let me teach you how to do that!"

All children develop differently, and it is not a good idea to compare your child to others, even if it is yourself. Instead, try teaching your child how to do something they don't already know how to do.

12. Avoid: "I'm disappointed in you!"

Try: "What you did makes me upset because..."

The phrase "I'm disappointed in you" sounds the same to a child as "you disappointed me" and it can make them feel that they are not living up to your expectations. Try explaining how you really feel about your child's actions without using the words "disappointed" and "disappointing".

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