Being mindful of the things that you say to your child is really important to ensure that their emotional cup is kept nicely topped up, which leads to better self-esteem.
It also ensures that your child feels able to come to you when they need some advice or help and they learn how best to talk to people.
Here, I have rounded up my top five things you should never say to your child.
“DON’T BE SILLY!”
This is one of the worst things to say when your child is upset as it totally invalidates their feelings and could stop them from opening up to you in future.
Instead, show some empathy and reassure them that it will be ok. Ask what you can do to help and let them know that you are there for them.
Part of the reason that calling a kid stupid is so damaging is that they understand what it means. Unless you want to harm your relationship with your children, don't ever tell them that they're stupid.
This is a banned word in our house. It is a sure-fire way to make a child's self-esteem plummet. Said enough times, they will believe it.
Instead; If you're child does something without thinking, that results in an accident or breakage, reassure them that we all make mistakes. Then, remind them of what they could have done to avoid the situation.”
“BIG BOYS AND GIRLS DON’T CRY”
Big boys and girls don’t cry? Yes they do! And they should be allowed to feel that they are allowed to cry. Being brave doesn't mean that they cannot cry and it doesn't make them any less of a boy or girl.
Plus, like being told they are being silly, they will be reluctant to open up in the future as they won't feel that you understand.
“GIVE THEM A HUG/KISS”
Children should not be forced to hug and kiss anyone they do not want to, including their own family members, so refrain from telling them to "give them a hug or a kiss" as your child may not want to.
It’s a helpful way of instilling the concept of consent from a young age - teaching them to ask first if it is OK to give someone a hug/kiss and then accepting that if they say no, that is OK.
“YOU’RE A BIT CHUBBY”
ANY words associated with weight are really not needed. These words send a message that we think something is wrong with our children and it will set them up to have an unhealthy image of their body, low self-esteem and an unhealthy relationship with diet and exercise.
Instead, model a healthy lifestyle, which includes all foods and exercise and is just a part of your family life.
If you do say any of these phrases, it is important that you apologise and explain that you were wrong to use those words.