We all lose temper and feel frustrated from time to time due to the mess our kids make. However, saying hurtful words can blow a hole in your child’s confidence forever and have a neutral effect in disciplining.
Here are some words to watch out for and positively handle bad behaviour.
Comparing your child to siblings or friends and saying “Why can’t you be more like your brother”, can undermine your child’s self-esteem. It serves no positive purpose of pushing the child to behave in a certain way. Each child is unique and has different developmental pace. Saying such words will make him/her resent you and make the relationship with the person being compared to bitter.
Labelling your child
Whether you are doing this in front of your child or from a distance, labels make an everlasting mark on your child’s mind. It will make him/her think that this is my personality and will continue to behave the same way. “You’re so clumsy” or “He/she is shy” can hurt the confidence of your child.
If your child is scared and you say, “Don’t be such a baby”, it will not help your child feel any better. You need to talk to your child, understand his/her feelings and tell them words that will boost their confidence and motivate. “Let’s try it together” will make the child feel more open to share feelings later and learn empathy.
Words like “You know better than that!”, is another way of labelling your child. Let kids learn from their mistakes, rather than putting a heavy burden of a loser on their little shoulders. Ask them to help in cleaning up as a way to learn cause and effect.
Repeating threats and warnings, without consequences are easy to understand, even for a child. “Enough or I’ll give you a good reason to cry about”, scolding, yelling and spanking your child will not help to discipline your child or behave better.
Passing the buck to another parent
If you frequently say, “I’ll tell daddy”, you are either playing good-cop-bad-cop or passing the authority to the other parent. In either case, it undermines your own authority and makes the other parent look bad. Your child has no reason to listen to you if Daddy is the one responsible for taking care of discipline. It also delays the consequence to a time, which the child is less likely to remember, and gets away with the bad behaviour or act at the time when he probably feeling bad.
Pushing your child all the time
Saying “Faster, faster!” or “hurry up!”, is not an effective way of getting your child to do something. They will more likely, stop and look at you, feel guilty but not feel motivated to work faster. Stay calm and help him/her.
We all love our kids, but some words can make them feel otherwise. So think before subjecting your child to bitter words.