15 Negative Things You're Guilty of Saying to Your Child
No matter how hard we try to be the perfect parents, we're all going to make mistakes — and lots of them — along the way. While children are resilient and won't be scarred for life if you raise your voice at them one time, there are some hurtful comments that can have a long term negative effect on them — many of which you might not even realize are harmful. "Your child's very existence depends on them feeling a strong connection with you and feeling really safe and confident in the experience of being able to lean into you as a capable, confident, and certain provider," Dr. Vanessa Lapointe, an esteemed child psychologist and author, explained to POPSUGAR. "You're the provider of direction, love, and needs. So when you consider the running narrative of how you're speaking to your child, really take to heart that it matters immensely. You're effectively shaping their minds, and this will stay with them the rest of their life course."
Children, especially very young children, soak up the language we use, which helps shape who they become as adults. "Ultimately, they'll internalize your narrative as their own," Dr. Lapointe continued. "So the ideas that they aren't worth your time, are in your way, they better watch out or else, and so on become how they understand themselves and their place in this world. It also becomes part of how they'll do relationships both as children and as adults. And, eventually, it will influence significantly how they parent. It's indeed important to watch what you say around your children."
Thankfully, even if the occasional misstep and negative comment gets out, it isn't likely to have any lasting damage. "Remember that nature would not be so foolish as to have created an organism that can be ruined by one misstep," Dr. Lapointe explained. "You'll mess up. We all do. Just strive to be the best you can be, find compassion for yourself when you don't land where you wanted to, and above all else, send the certain message to your child that you've got this, you're on it, you're taking care of them, and you'll all find your way." For examples of negative phrases to avoid, why they're harmful, and what to say instead, keep reading.