How many of us has lost our cool, lashed out at our child(ren) and immediately regretted it? *raises hand with guilt* Listen, we’ve all be experienced it. You get extremely frustrated and say things out of anger. But what about the times we may be coming from a good place or trying to get a point across, when in reality we are doing more harm than good. Trust me, I’m not exempt from saying things to my daughter that I either don’t mean or said too harshly. But in order to be a better parent I have to reevaluate what I’m saying and how I can say it better. Below are three things that you should reconsider saying to your child.
- Why can’t you be more like…?
It is so frustrating playing the comparison game on your own time. Even as children, people are constantly comparing themselves to other people. Whether it’s physical traits or personality traits, we as people compare ourselves enough. How hard it must be for a child, no matter the age, to hear their parent add insult to injury and say that they aren’t good enough. “But that’s not what I said.” Okay. But that’s how they hear it. That’s how it’s being interpreted. Out of the three things that are listed, I would say this is a ‘never say this to your child’ case. Besides, how would you feel if your son or daughter came up to you and said “…why can’t you be more like so and so’s parent?” Exactly.
- You’ll be fine.
Okay. Honesty moment. I say this to my daughter, a lot. She is overly dramatic about life in general and sometimes it’s just exhausting to deal with. I tend to just tell her that she’ll be okay and to stop making a big deal about whatever it is that has her in a ‘mood’. While sometimes she is definitely doing the most over the smallest things, telling her “you’ll be fine” is dismissive and shows a lack of concern for her feelings. Think about a time where you were really upset and you know it was over something trivial. Did you talk to someone about it? What if they responded in a nonchalant, ‘get over it’ kind of way? Wouldn’t feel too great, would it? Instead, try saying “I know that you are really upset right now. Would you like to vent and express how you feel?” If they prefer not to talk then let them know that while they are upset, they shouldn’t let small things take away their joy.
- Don’t cry/Stop crying.
Guilty. Again. Having an overly dramatic child causes for a lot of overly dramatic tears. And if we are being completely honest, children (and adults) can cry for no reason at all sometimes. But telling your child not to cry is reinforcing them to hold in their feelings and emotions, which is counterproductive if you’re trying to raise an emotionally stable child. What I’ve been trying to do is teach my daughter that it’s okay to cry, but that it’s also okay not to. When she starts crying, I’ll ask her if she’s physically hurt. If not, I’ll ask if her feelings are hurt. If not, I’ll ask her what’s wrong and walk her through evaluating whether or not she feels like it’s worth crying
about. If she really + truly feels like she needs to cry, I try and let her. I’m not perfect at this. At all. At times, when we are out or in the middle of something and she has a moment, I get upset and irritated. But I’m trying. And that’s all we can do.