8 harmful phrases and how to reword them in a positive way
Learn how to reword these common parenting phrases into positive, encouraging words!
There’s always a nicer way to phrase something. This applies to you too, parents!
Your words can have a massive impact on your kids, no matter what age, and it’s important that you be mindful of what you say to them. Not only that, but how you say it. It’s impossible to say that you won’t have to raise your voice or reprimand your kids every now and then; however, you don’t want to have to use a stern attitude and strict language when it’s not needed.
That’s why it’s crucial that you analyze the words you use when talking to your kids! You could be using negative, harmful language without even realizing it.
Recently, Bright Side shared a video that breaks down some common phrases that parents say to their kids, and how those phrases can be reworded in a positive way.
Let’s take a look at 8 of the phrases that parents use most, and how to positively reword them:
1. “You’re doing it wrong” vs. “Let me show you how to do it”
Instead of being overly critical of your kids and telling them that they’re doing something wrong, try using constructive criticism or showing them how to do something. Your kids are better off learning by example instead of being shamed!
2. “Stop crying!” vs. “I understand why you’re upset”
You may get frustrated sometimes when your child is having a fit, but that doesn’t mean you should raise your voice to try to fix the situation. In fact, most times that can only exacerbate problems. The better solution is to take a calm tone with your child and try to empathize with them. Let them know you understand why they’re upset, but you can’t give them what they want this time.
3. “Take it, just calm down” vs. “I understand, but I can’t let you”
The easy way out is to bribe your kids in order to get what you want. Instead of bargaining with them, which gives them the upper hand, stand your ground. This by no means that you have to be aggressive or raise your voice. You simply need to be stern and show them that you have the authority.
4. “[Do this] and I’ll [give you this]” vs. “You were such a big help before”
Once again, we see how bribing can be negative to your child, because it gives them the power and takes the authority out of your hands. Instead of trying to compromise with them in order to get something done, try using an example of their past good behavior and how much you appreciated it.
5. “How long should I wait for you?” vs. “Let’s race! Who’s faster?”
You’ll more than likely be using this phrase with your older children. For example, kids who are enrolled in extracurricular activities. If your child hears you ask them this question, it might make them feel less important in your eyes. You should just be patient with their extracurriculars and let them take advantage and enjoy. If you’re in a rush for some reason and need to emphasize this, don’t discourage your kids. Coax them into making hastiness a fun contest instead.
6. “You’re always late” vs. “Try being punctual. It’s very important”
You definitely don’t want your child to develop the quality of always being late. But like most things in parenting, there’s a positive way to teach a child this lesson. Instead of shaming your kids for being late, try to instill the value of being punctual. They’ll understand that being late isn’t a good thing, but they also won’t feel indignant or shamed.
7. “Eat your breakfast or you’ll be weak” vs. “Eat your breakfast and you’ll be big and strong!”
Telling your child they’ll be weak if they don’t eat their breakfast sounds more like a threat than anything. You don’t ever need to threaten your child. Help them understand the nutritional value of breakfast by suggesting the perks of eating it instead. You don’t need to scare them into wanting to eat their breakfast!
8. “That’s enough TV” vs. “Let’s play together!”
Being the cliche parent who walks in and turns off the TV can yield some unfavorable results. Your kids might get angry, which nurtures rebellious behavior, or they’ll feel like their the subject of unfair treatment. Kids don’t need to be watching TV all day, but you can wean them away from the screen in other ways. Try to get them away from the TV by playing a game with them, or taking them to do something more stimulating and engaging than sitting on the couch!
If you have any insights, questions or comments regarding the topic, please share them with us!