If we could only hear what comes out of our mouths sometimes. Here are some (too) common things we say to our kids that can have detrimental effects.
“I don’t want to hear another word out of you!”
Any parent of a reticent teenager who keeps mum about the details of their life probably wishes they could take these words back. Illogical as it may sound, a youngster who is told to hush up in their childhood may take those words to heart and assume it holds true through their young adult years. When your child becomes a teen, you want them to feel that you’re always interested to hear what they have to say. And isn’t that the same thing we all want from those who love us?
A better way to get this point across as a parent might be to say, “Let’s talk about this later. I think we’re both too upset right now to hear what the other is saying.”
“Don’t give me any excuses!”
Usually a parent will say this when they don’t believe their child or they are trying to teach kids to take responsibility for their own actions. But when you say this to your children, what they hear is that you’re no willing to find out the real cause of the problem. They may need to learn a lesson in responsibility, but this isn’t the best way to teach it.
The next time your child messes up and comes to you with an entire catalog of reasons why they aren’t to blame, try this tactic. Ask them to start at the beginning and tell you just the facts. As soon as they start getting emotional or laying blame on outside people or events, steer them back to the facts. Then, after you have a clear picture of what really transpired, you can either exonerate them or help them to understand the role they played in the events. Remember to keep your own emotions in check, too.
“Why don’t you ask so and so out? She’s such a nice girl!”
Even though you might be trying to encourage your bashful son to take out a girl you think would be perfect for him, you should refrain. You can’t know all the reasons why he hasn’t asked her out. First, your son might be shy but not stupid. Maybe little cutie pie isn’t so sweet when you’re not looking, and your son knows it. It’s also possible that your son senses she’s interested and is just playing his cards close to his chest. Any number of things might be going on, including the possibility that your son just isn’t ready to date yet even though all his friends are.
This is the time when you need to sit back and let the chips fall where they may. Be the supportive parent at home instead of trying to be the puppet master who orchestrates your kid’s love life.
Being a parent is arguably the most challenging jobs on the planet, and no one is going to get it right 100% of the time. These are just some very common things that parents have been saying to their kids for years. Maybe it’s time to listen to our own soundtrack and put on a new record.