The effects of these words, however, are out of your control and may not be what you expect. Here are the worst things you can say to your kids, no matter how old they are; but especially to little children.
1. “Don’t cry; it’s not a big deal.”
They’re just kids, right? So they have no worries, sorrows, disappointments or fears. As adults, we often make the mistake of thinking this way. Children have just as much, if not more, emotional capacity than adults. The difference is that they can’t express themselves or calm themselves the way we can. Isn’t that much worse? Never belittle a fear, a scratch, a doubt or a conflict that is going on with your child. Help him to react to it and overcome it in a healthy way.
2. “I wish you were more like your brother.”
We gain nothing by comparing our children; but doing so can create resentment among family members. Make sure that comparisons don’t exist in your home. Each of your children is unique and special in his own way.
3. “You can never do anything right.”
Nobody wants to hear this. Imagine the uncomfortable feeling when your innocent daughter hears you say words like that. If your daughter was wrong, broke something, or ruined a cake, take a deep breath and ask yourself what is most important. The answer is always the same: Your children are more important than anything else.
4. “You embarrass me.”
If your child has a tendency to draw attention in public by doing things like yelling, jumping, or running and singing at high volumes, maybe she just needs more attention. Don’t express your embarrassment in front of your friends or even in private. Why not plan a show at home where she is the star? Maybe your child will discover her artistic side and you will have a good time as a family.
5. “You’re fat/ugly/stupid.”
Our children believe what we tell them. We are their most reliable source of information and also the ultimate source of love. Do not damage the self-esteem of your children with negative adjectives. Focus on their strengths instead of emphasizing the negative.
6. “I wish you had never been born.”
I cannot think of anything worse that anyone could tell a little child. Never, in any situation, tell this to your children, even in jest. We all need to know we are wanted and loved, regardless of the mistakes we make.
7. “I’ve had enough; I don’t love you.”
Sometimes, without realizing it, we start joking with our children. Your 3-year-old daughter is frustrated because she can’t eat a second helping of ice cream for dinner. After explaining several times why she can’t have it, she gets angry, cries, and says she does not love you. It would be easy to say the same thing; however, this only damages your daughter. The correct reaction would be to explain again why she can’t have more dessert and remind her that you will always love her, even if she’s angry with you. She will learn much more than you can imagine from this lesson.
With minor adjustments and always considering the feelings and welfare of our children, we can avoid these harmful phrases and have a relationship of love, protection and well-being at home.