May 21, 2012

5 Things Parents Shouldn't Say To Their Kids

Words can hurt & once you've said them, you can't take them back.  They can only be forgiven, not forgotten.  Team Mom on Shine asked Pincus and other parenting experts about the most common phrases that moms and dads say to young kids in the midst of parental panic. Don't feel bad if you've said them -- most parents have!

The bottom line is that as parents, we're teaching our kids how we want them to behave in similar situations; modeling the desired behavior is key. Check out what Pincus and others had to say about five things parents shouldn't say to kids--and how to turn a moment of frustration into a positive life lesson. 

  •  "I don't care." 
    • Little kids love to share details and sometimes, parents just don't want to hear the specifics. But beware of saying "I don't care" because you're cutting off communication with your child and saying that something important to him or her isn't so important to you. 
    • Try this: 
      • Parents should let the child know an issue can be discussed later, perhaps at a better time when the parent is more focused.  However, parents must follow through. Don't let the day end without addressing your child's need to share with you.
  •  "Act your age" 
    • This common reaction is less about the child's behavior and all about the parent trying to manage his or her own frustration. The child may, in fact, be acting their age.  When kids hear their parents criticizing them at a time when they, as children, are having trouble and perhaps need some help gaining control. 
    •  Try this: 
      • When you are frustrated, just pause & try to come up with an effective response instead of a reaction. Most of what we do is a knee-jerk reaction. Taking just a small break can help calm you down & help you think for clearly.
  • "Say you're sorry" 
    • Forcing a child to apologize does not teach a child social skills.  Young children don't automatically understand why they have to apologize. If a parent forces a child to say they are sorry, it could possibly delay the child's natural acceptance of apologizing.
    • Try this: 
      • Apologize to other children for your child as a way to model the behavior you're trying to encourage. And make sure that when you're in situation where an apology is warranted, you deliver it just as easily. 
  •  "Don't you get it?" 
    • This comment is degrading. If the child 'got it,' which he desperately wants to do in order to please his parent, it would be clear.  'Don't you get it' comment are the judgments of 'Why don't you get it?' followed by 'What's wrong with you for not getting it?' While a parent may not mean to send those messages, that is the message the child receives.
    • Try this: 
      • Take a break. If you're stuck on how to teach your child something, step away. Return to the "lesson" when you're ready to try again, perhaps after researching alternative approaches to teaching whatever it is your child is trying to learn. 
  • "I'm going to leave without you!" 
    • For young kids, fear of parental abandonment is very real. But what happens when your threat doesn't work?  The result is that the child quickly learns that mom or dad makes empty threats. 
    • Try this: 
      • Don't tell your kids you're going to leave without them. Instead, plan ahead. Chances are that you've seen your child behave this way before. You know what will trigger a tantrum. What will you say if your child throws a fit or refuses to leave?  Tell them it's not acceptable but you have to motivate them with a consequence that you can carry out
via Team Mom on Shine

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