3 reasons parents should watch what they say to their children
we’ve all heard them. “i want you to be better than me”, “I’m so tired of going through this with you”, or the infamous, “i’m disappointed in you.” at one point or another, we’ve been on the receiving end of such commentary. and, if things have come completely full circle, some of us are now parents ourselves who now say the same things to our children that were said to us growing up. however, is this the best way for parents to get through to their child? i’ve often heard parents say things like, “i’ll say what I want, how i want to my kids” or “i don’t sugarcoat anything with my kids, i’m real.” but, at what point does being “real” become more of a detriment to your child’s success than a benefit? does “saying what you want” to your children actually yield the results you seek from them? the next time you find yourself having to address your child on something they did (or did not do), consider the following reasons you should think twice and speak once.
what you say may cause them to shut down completely.
if constructive criticism is not your family’s “thing”, you should make it so. If you don’t, you risk things being misinterpreted due to a lack of effective communication; not good. despite popular opinion, simply telling your child that they are not productive is not the best way to get them to be productive. sometimes, it can cause them to just shut down and become depressed. it’s easy to feel alone (especially when you’ve made a mistake.. or ten). it’s a vulnerable time because nine times outta ten, they (the child) already know how they messed up—and they feel horrible about it. no one should have to cope with the feeling of inadequacy alone; it would be nice for parents to be there with them to weather the storm.
what you say may cause them to retaliate.
i’ve heard it said before that “hurt people, hurt people.” this is entirely true considering the parent-to-child relationship. don’t spend too much time telling your child how stupid their decision was, or how much of a disgrace they are to you because of what they did. nothing good can come from that. all that’ll happen is that they’ll say some equally offensive things to you to hurt you too and nobody wants to play the “blame game”; that doesn’t do anyone involved any good.
what you say may cause them to seek validation somewhere else.
if you use every potential teachable moment to break down your child rather than build them up, you cannot be surprised if they turn to other people/things for validation. it becomes easier to fall into the ‘wrong crowd’ because those crowds may seem to offer some sort of solace they aren’t receiving at home. validation should start with the individual, at home; not anywhere else. to that regard, you should be mindful of what you say, and how you say it.