8 Things You Should Never Say To Your Kids

According to evolutionary psychologist John Locke, a child's mind is a 'tabula rasa' – the English word for this Latin expressio...

According to evolutionary psychologist John Locke, a child's mind is a 'tabula rasa' – the English word for this Latin expression is a blank slate. Children are like sponges absorbing everything that is said or done to them or around them. So as parents we should always be careful of what we say to our kids because our words and expressions are bound to have an impact on their evolving minds.
Here are a few things you should completely avoid telling your kids, especially during their formative years.

1. You are so dumb, you cannot even do this

Children often believe whatever elders tell them, especially when it is their immediate caregiver. If your child is unable to master a chore that is commonly done by children of their age, do not get frustrated and blurt out a label that is derogatory in nature. It will create a negative self-impression and your child will believe that he or she is incapable of doing it. Instead, encourage your child when he or she falters with words like "Try once more." or "Let us do it together."

2. I will give you a toy if you do this

This is a very wrong approach to condition your child to do something. When you say such things, you child feels that he or she should do something only when there is a reward promised at the end of it. Instead, use instructions such as "You have learnt a new thing. Why don't you show it to us so that we can enjoy it?" or "Please eat your food so that you can be strong to run or play in the park in the evening?"

3. Your friend did this so well. Why can't you?

Often unknowingly many of us end up comparing our child to others. This should be completely avoided for a healthy self-image. When you compare your child to other, you are setting a benchmark. So your child will always try to reach that benchmark and not further, even when he or she has the potential to excel in it. You child will not feel motivated to venture into unknown areas of learning, but base his knowledge or learning against that benchmark which will hinder his development in the future.

4. This is YOUR thing

Parents often complain about their children not being helpful or not sharing things with others. But we forget that this negative trait in a child has been implanted by us, though unconsciously. We often make possessions clear to kids with stuff like this is your toy, that is my phone and so on. So a child learns from what we tell them and feel confused when you ask them to give their possessions to someone else, even if it is for a little while. So instead of determining possessions, when you buy a toy, tell them, "This is a lovely doll. Let's go home and play with this."

5. Eat quickly

Children are often fussy eaters and some take a very long time to finish their portions. It is a test of patience for parents. Often you may grow impatient and tell your child to eat quickly. However, keeping the future in mind, you may want to refrain from giving this instruction to your child. You can try playing a number game or do something creative to help you child eat. But asking them to eat quickly can take away their interest in food or may inculcate unhealthy ways of eating food.

6. Don't talk to strangers

This is one of the commonest advice parents give their children, however this instruction can have an adverse effect in cases where your child needs to give vital information to a policeman or someone who is trying to help. Sometimes children may not be able to open up in a social setup owing to this instruction as most people in their life are strangers. Also, in half of the child abduction cases it is someone the child knows who kidnaps them or commit other crimes against children. So modify this instruction like this "If anyone is making you feel uncomfortable, tell me immediately." "Do not go anywhere without mommy's permission." "If someone has told you some bad or has tried to hurt you in any way, don't hide it from mommy."

7. Don't go out in the dark

Children are curious little things always on their quest to explore new things. When you tell them such things, children begin to feel irrational fear towards things that are not really harmful. Instead of telling that the dark holds terror, explain to them why it is not a good idea to venture out at this hour. You can tell them "The lights are dim and you may not be able to see clearly."

8. I am busy now

Use of this phrase on rare occasions may not pose any severe damage, but if your child internalizes this message from you, they may shy away from sharing information or telling you things. You may have loads of responsibilities to attend to, but for your child you are her world and she or he wants to share every bit of excitement and even drab events of their lives with you. During this time if you snub them down with statements like 'leave me alone', 'go away, I am busy now' and so on, children may feel you don't have enough time to hear them out and create a communication barrier. Use phrases like "I will quickly finish this and then paint with you." or "Why don't you cook food for your dolls, while I finish preparing dinner. And then I will sit down and listen to your story."

I'm sure most of the lovely mothers reading this are amazing parents who are careful about what they tell their children. But just in case you got mad that one day and uttered something mentioned above, now you know why not to say it and how to modify it. So be proud of your role as a mother and cherish every moment with your little ones.

Happy parenting!

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Contributed By: Kriti Mazumdar


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