In an era in which positive education is gaining momentum and in which parents work more and more to enhance the strengths of their children, many parents find themselves still using, even without realizing it or almost by inertia, certain phrases or expressions with those that can demotivate , undermine self-esteem or damage the relationship with the smallest of the house.
And while it is true that the stress of daily life is usually a bad travel companion for adults, it is also true that language and the way we express ourselves have a fundamental weight in the way we relate to others, including children . Taking this into account, experts recommend speaking to them as we would like them to speak to us, avoiding any lack of respect and, also, stopping uttering various phrases that can damage self-confidence and full growth.
Your brother does better
A phrase in which the word ‘brother’ can be replaced by ‘cousin, friend, neighbor, schoolmate …’. It is about avoiding making any kind of comparison with other children in their environment, something that, however, is frequently done in many environments: domestic, school, sports, games … The child receives a clear message: there is another child who does better, he feels that he will not be able to reach that goal and this ends up damaging his self-esteem. On the other hand, you are prevented from enjoying the activity itself as we focus on the results you should get. We emphasize your weaknesses and not your strengths.
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The message that is transmitted to the child is not the most suitable. With a phrase like this we give you to understand that to get what you want you can use intimidation. We want him to comply with an order or do something through threat and fear, something that will end up destroying the child’s trust in the adult.
Things can get even more complicated when he realizes that after the threat the punishment is not carried out. For example, if we use a phrase like: ‘if you behave badly or do not do what I ask, you will not have Christmas presents’ and finally the child gets his gifts, he will believe that his actions have no consequences.
If you do this, we will reward you with …
We turn the previous sentence around but the result is just as disastrous and neither does it benefit parents or children. What will the child understand from a phrase like this? He will not learn why he should do things but, basically, he will carry out the requests of his parents to obtain a certain objective that is beneficial for him.
You are bad
Error. The child is not bad, he does something wrong. The difference is abysmal. If a child thinks he is bad, he will also assume that there is nothing he can do to change the situation. However, when you do something wrong, we can explain what the error was and tell you how to remedy or improve it.
Because I say it
When the arguments are over or one gets tired of asking for things, it is common for our most ‘dictator’ side to make its appearance on the scene. When the child feels compelled to do something by imperative this can weaken the relationship with the adult. It is not a question of seeking obedience for its own sake, but of making them understand and reason why we ask them for something and the need for them to cooperate in family responsibilities.
Do not Cry
Another wrong message that undermines the little one’s self-esteem. Asking a child not to cry means forcing him to repress his emotions and cause it to be difficult for him to express what he feels in the future. Do not underestimate the child’s feelings even when we seem to cry over small things. Letting him cry and showing his feelings sends the message that he can count on our support and comfort.
I can’t stand you / I’m sick of you
As much as any person, whether adult or child, can drain our patience, an expression of this type can undermine the morale of anyone. The impact for young children can be very damaging if they do not understand that it is a specific criticism made at a certain time and take it as something permanent.
Gives you no shame?
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This type of phrase, which is usually used generally in front of other people, leaves the child in evidence when he makes a mistake or a mistake and affects in a very negative way his self-esteem causing him a feeling of guilt.
You seem silly
Or ‘you are lazy’, ‘you are very clueless’ and other sentences like that can do a lot of damage and also label the child with a sanbenito from which it will be difficult to get rid of. They limit their development, it causes them frustration and disinterest. If it is necessary to label, it is always for its qualities and positive merits.
Let me do it
Another limiting phrase where there are for a child. If the father assumes that his son will not know how to do something and takes over, the message he is transmitting is that it does not matter if he tries because what matters is the result and it is not going to be good. This will make you, incidentally, a dependent, immature and insecure person.