There’s no manual that tells parents exactly how to raise a child—if there was, there would be no need for articles like this! Child-rearing, and how one approaches it, is constantly changing.
All parents can do is learn from the past while incorporating new strategies, along with their own ideas on how to reinforce good behavior and values into their child’s upbringing. It might not always be easy to know exactly what to do but you can begin by identifying what you should avoid. Finding effective ways to communicate with your kids is key, experts say, because it’s so easy to give kids the wrong message or understanding during this impressionable time.
Experts have outlined some of the most common phrases that parents use and why they should be avoided. How many of these have you used before?
1. “Stop Crying” – It’s important to encourage kids to express their emotions and help them recognize their feelings and deal with them effectively. Telling them to “stop crying” can make a child begin to stifle their emotions for fear they’ll be punished.
2. “Hurry Up!” – At one point or another, most of us have probably rushed a child because we were in a hurry to get somewhere. Your tone of voice and how often you say it can make the child begin to feel guilty, especially if they’re lagging behind because they’re trying to do something themselves, like tie their shoes. You don’t want to negatively affect their confidence, and making them feel bad won’t make them go any faster.
3. “You Know Better Than That!” – This comment usually lacks an effective message because often times tiny humans don’t actually know better. They can’t weigh pros and cons as efficiently as an adult can, nor differentiate between right and wrong as effectively. Remember that for children, learning is a trial-and-error process.
4. “Good Job!” – Using the same phrase as positive reinforcement can turn into white noise for a child. Try to be more specific and outline what the child did well. Social psychologist Dr. Susan Newmansays, “It is far more helpful in terms of encouragement and building self-esteem if you focus on how your child achieved [something].”
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