There are some words that we should never say in front of our children — curse words and “sexy” words are, of course, some of those. Then there are “ugly words” which I refrain from saying, as well.
The thing is — there are a lot of other words that we should never say in front of, or even worse, towards our children — and you may be surprised by what they are. They are words that you and I use every single day, and more than likely, we use them multiple times a day…at least I do.
The words to ban from your (and my) parental vocabulary are these:
There are so many experts out there and different articles written about why we should say “no” more and why we need to learn to be okay with saying “no”.
Well, you know what I say to that? “No!” They are wrong — at least for us parents.
We, parents, need to ban the word “no” from our vocabulary, starting today. First of all, let’s start with the fact that when we typically say “no,” we don’t always give a legitimate reason or explanation for it. Think about it — “no” is the easy way out — you say it and they have to abide by it — no if’s, and’s, or but’s about it — where is the teaching in that? Nowhere, right?
Saying “yes,” with a provided condition, or at minimal, following it with a “but,”, will teach your children so much better than that one negative two letter word. Both you and your children will find that saying “yes” more will lead to more self-improvement and more joy, for each of you.
If there are things that you are nervous about saying yes to, or just plain don’t want to, still try. You will, without a doubt, find courage in doing so and between you and your child, you will figure out a way to make that “yes” work for each of you and for the situation. Saying “yes” more may take conscious and active participation on your part, but isn’t that what we are supposed to be as parents — positive and active participants in our children’s lives.
Stop saying “no,” and just take the harder road. YOU WILL BE A BETTER PARENT BECAUSE OF IT.
*To note — yes, I do understand and agree that when it comes to matters of your child’s safety, then “no” is appropriate.
2. “Go to your room.”
I say this ALL THE TIME and when I do, I am wrong, all of the time. So, why is this one so bad? I will tell you. When we banish and confine our children to their room, we are telling them that they deserve solitude. We are teaching them to believe that they have “messed up” to such a horrendous degree that they don’t deserve to be in our presence. Typically, this is not the case and their behavior does not warrant the extreme banishment. Other reasons not to send your child to their room in response to bad behavior:
1) Most of the time a child’s room is filled with toys and positive memories.
2) This is where your children sleep — safely and soundly — if your children associate their room with punishment, then this may cause disruption to their sleep, as they may develop a negative association towards their room.
3) In most homes, a child’s room, is just that — their room —a happy place for them where they should be able to relax and engage in creative self-expression.
3. “If you don’t…then.” Ah! The good ole’ threats we fall back on when we don’t know what else to say. We need to stop threatening our children. According to an article on Psychology Today, titled “Why Threats Don’t Work: Parenting Effectively,” written by Nancy Darling, PhD., “loving parents” typically “use threats to try to get their kids to behave,” but she notes that this “often backfires and makes kids behave worse instead of better”. According to Nancy Samalin, a parenting speaker and a pioneer in the field of education, “when a parent threatens punishment” they actually “probably won’t encourage cooperation”, but will typically promote more defiance from their child. She notes that our threats “in fact sound like a challenge to a feisty child” and that “rather than acting as a deterrent to inappropriate behavior, the child may hear your statement as a dare and provoke you even more to see if you’re going to make good on your threat”. Not to mention that threats, of any kind, are just plain mean.
4. “Stop Crying!” I am horrible for using this one multiple times a day, but I want to raise strong children, so it is okay, right? Wrong.
Crying doesn’t mean my children are weak. Am I weak? I consider myself a strong woman and I cry about things.
Check out I Cry, You Cry, We All Cry, to see why we should allow the tears to flow when necessary.
5. “Do you hear me?” This is another one that plays on repeat in my home. When I say it, more often than not, it is my way of letting the kids know that Mommy “means business”. The question typically is met with wide eyes and a stare. But, do you know what it is not met with? Understanding.
Instead of saying “do you hear me,” I should really be asking “Do you understand what I am saying,” or “Do you understand what you are being asked to do,” and/or when necessary, “Do you understand why Mommy is getting frustrated?”.
6. “What’s wrong with you?” Ugh! This is one of the worst ones! I have only said it a handful of times, but I am ashamed of even that. And, those times that I have said it, it was in the heat of a challenging moment and once the words left my mouth, I immediately wanted to take them back. I know better than to say something to my child that may make them think that there is something “wrong” with them. All parents should address a child’s behavior as just that — their behavior — which may, on occasion, be bad — but does not mean that he/she, as a person, is bad.
We must, even under stress, remember that children make bad choices and bad decisions, but that doesn’t make them bad people. Additionally, we need to meet their negative behavior with emotional support and treat any unfavorable moments as a chance for us to put on our detective hat and decode their cry for help.
7. “I (We) don’t have time.” Excuses, excuses, excuses — that is all this is. There is always enough time if it is something that is important to you. And, what is important to your child, should be important to you. If there are situations when time is a legitimate issue, i.e. “we don’t have time because we have to pick up sister at school,” then phrase differently how you say this to your child. Let your child know that you do not have the time right now, but that you will find a way to make time later, because you care about what they care about. Your child knowing that you value and respect their wants, desires, hopes will inspire them to continue to have wants, desires and hopes.
Oh my…who else thinks they are going to be riding the struggle bus with me on banning these?!?