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Parenting With No Regrets
Let’s face it if you have been a parent for any length of time you may have said something to your child that immediately you regretted.
It may go something like this:
Child: “Hey mom can I go over to Lillie’s house?”
Parent: “No, not right now you haven’t cleaned your room”
Child: “Aye mom come on why can’t I do that later?”
Parent: “Because I asked you to do it yesterday, and it’s not done.”
Child: “Well, it’s not fair I always have to clean my room, and I never get to do anything I want, Lilly doesn’t have to clean her room every day. I hate living here!”
Parent: “Well, if it’s that bad living here then maybe
You should go live with Lilly and HER PARENTS!”
Does that scenario sound familiar? The conversation started out innocent enough but what went wrong?
Why Do Parents Say Hurtful Things
When your child is being rude and calling you names, you may feel like it’s a personal attack and find yourself retaliating by saying something hurtful.
Possibly, you’ve felt stressed and overwhelmed lately from your responsibilities in and outside of the home, and your child is questioning your authority.
Whatever the underlying source as a parent the key is to try to find a way to remain under control.
According to an article written by Joan, Munson Ph.D. called Losing Your Temper with Your Child? 8 Steps to Help You Stay in Control she lays out these 8 steps to help you stay in control.
- Recognize Your Triggers
- Learn How To Calm Yourself
- Find New Ways To Communicate
- Let Go Of Guilt
- Choose Your Battles
- Apologize When Necessary
- Find Support
- Be Kind To Yourself
7 Things To Avoid Saying To Your Children
1. Leave Me Alone
How many times have you heard your child scream”mommy” or “dad” within a short period of time? I know I have clocked it at 30 times in less than 30 minutes!
Yes, at times it may feel like our children our driving us insane but always telling them to “leave you alone” when all you need is a break, is interpreted that you don’t want to spend time with them.
In turn, your child may slowly stop opening up to you and coming to you about things that genuinely need your guidance.
2. Stop or I’ll give you something to cry about
Threatening a child is often another sign of frustration or being at your wit’s end.
Although I myself have said this because I felt whatever they were upset about did not warrant them crying.
Now I understand I should have avoided saying this.
Taking more time to reason with my child, would have been far better than feeling I knew best and that the case was closed and so should their mouth.
The problem with saying this is that eventually it’s no longer effective, and you have to make good on your threat.
Naturally, as parents, we should want to love and nurture our children and I would hope we wouldn’t want to “give our kids something to cry about”.
3. Don’t Eat That…You’ll Get Fat
According to a study published in Eating and Weight Disorders, “a woman’s dissatisfaction with her adult weight was related to the extent she remembered her parents making any comments about her weight.”
Commenting on a child’s weight can be detrimental to a child’s self-esteem.
Rather the focus should be directed at setting up healthy eating habits for the whole family. As a family participating in eating healthy, nutritious food would prove to be far more beneficial to a child’s development.
…Never Say This To Your Children
4. Tell Your Dad I’m Not Speaking To Him
Placing a child in a position as the go-between when the parents aren’t speaking is wrong on so many levels.
From time to time parents will have disagreements, however, they manage to work it out calmly. Whenever this does not happen children feel unprotected and scared.
The best thing to do for the child’s mental health is to keep them out of the disagreement and to remember it’s between the parents, not the kids.
5. You’re Fine!
Telling a child that “they’re fine” minimizes what they are going through.
Brushing off what appears to be a “big deal” to a child makes them feel misunderstood and left to deal with it alone. Ignoring a child’s emotions and immediately trying to make them go away can cause the child to also become angry.
Instead, take the time to talk to the child about their feelings, instead of quickly brushing them away.
6. Hurry Up!
Admit it, you’ve said this right? With hectic schedules and deadlines, there never seems to be enough time.
Running behind is stressful, and screaming at a child to HURRY UP, transfers that stress onto them.
Children told to “hurry up” consistently become anxious and overwhelmed.
Have a planner or calendar visible that the child can see the events coming up. Explain to the child the importance of being on time and help them prepare to be ready well in advance.
7. You’ll do better…or win next time
Children get upset when they don’t perform as well as expected. Parent’s most common first instinct is to try and make them feel better by telling them that will win or do better next time.
What if the child doesn’t? The issue with this is setting up expectations for your child that they again may not meet.
Resulting in the child feeling defeated and upset that not only have they not done well again but this time they have succeeded in letting their parents down.
“The path of development is a journey of discovery that is clear only in retrospect, and it’s rarely a straight line.” – Eileen Kennedy-Moore – Smart Parenting for Smart Kids: Nurturing Your Child’s True Potential
A better way of helping a child maneuver through disappointments is to explain to them that they should always just do their best. As they grow in knowledge, strength, and training so will their experiences and achievements.