Monday, March 10, 2014

What Not To Say To Your Kids - My Thoughts

Last week, I came across this article on Facebook: 10 Things You Should Never Say to Your Kids. The article details reasons you should refrain from using 10 specific phrases with your kids. As a new parent, I'm learning what works and what doesn't. I don't have it all figured out and never will. But I do have some opinions on each saying and surprisingly, I don't agree with the article 100%. Here is a photo that sums up the article in a single snapshot.

"Great job"
I can't tell you how many times a day this is said in our home. Connor is little and is still learning. When he completes a task for the first time on his own and correctly, I feel it's important to provide him with praise. Eventually, the praise will die down some but overall, I feel like at this point in Connor's life, it's important that he knows he is doing things well. 

"Practice makes perfect"
Plain and simple, I don't like the word perfect. I think it allows for a person to want to achieve perfection when (in my opinion) perfection is necessary. As a parent, I'm happy when Connor does something the right way, when he has mastered a task. I don't think perfection should be something our children aim for, no matter how much you practice. I think practice will make you better and you should always be shooting to be the best version of yourself.

"You're okay"
I find that I use the phrase "you'll be okay" when Connor falls and hurts himself or gets scared because of this or that. The fact is, if he is crying or showing that he is worried or scared, chances are, he isn't okay. This is the perfect time to help him understand what's going on and why is feeling the way he is. But really, he will be okay. 

"Hurry up"
While Connor and I don't have a strict scheduled, this still isn't something that we say because I despise the words "hurry up". I feel like more times then not, a child is being rushed around and hurried along because poor time management is in place. For example, on days when we have some place to be early in the morning, I'm very conscious of getting up earlier than usual, getting ready first and giving us plenty of time to enjoy some morning snuggles, have breakfast and leave the house. Maybe I'll have problems with using "hurry up" when CJ starts school in September, but I can promise you, I will do all I can to make our mornings as smooth as possible.

"I'm on a diet"
Part of the reason I'm working on a positive lifestyle with a healthy relationship with food and exercise is because I don't want Connor to ever think that we can't have something or enjoy something because Mommy's on a diet. If James and I are confident and comfortable in our skin, this will have a positive impact on C.

"We can't afford that"
When your child asks you to buy a toy, the article says to not use the saying "we can't afford that" but instead say "we are not going to buy that because we are saving our money for more important things". While I don't like making a kid feel that their wants aren't important, I think it's good to tell them that you aren't going to buy that because we are saving money or only spending money on things that we need. I think it's important to teach children the difference between needs and wants early on. This allows for positive talk regarding money and the value of a dollar.

"Don't talk to strangers"
I want Connor to have a healthy fear of strangers. As of now, little dude will go to anyone but we are always near by so that doesn't really happen. I think the article gives solid advice on what to do and how to have the stranger danger talk. Thankfully, we still have some time before that discussion needs to happen.

"Be careful"
No one wants their child to hurt themselves but I think it's important that kids discover the world without having a helicopter parent screaming the words "be careful" all day long. When we are out playing, I am always nearby watching Connor's every move but I'm at a safe distance, allowing him to see how and why things work the way they do. So far, we are injury free but I think even when they hurt themselves, it's a chance for your child to learn this is a result of that happening.

"No dessert unless you finish your dinner"
I find this funny because growing up, we never had desserts. Ever. We had sweets on special occasions (birthdays mostly) and holidays. As a Mom, I would much rather give C a second helping of dinner than a piece of cake or candy full of empty calories and sugar. Additionally, I'd rather him not associate eating all his dinner to getting a dessert.

"Let me help"
Guilty, guilty guilty. When Connor is struggling with something, I tend to step in and help him out. I know that I need to let him use his problem solving skills to figure out the solution but as young as he is, I tell myself I'm teaching him how to complete the task, hoping he will pick that up and do it right the next time. This is one phrase I use daily and maybe I need to step back a little and let him learn and discover. 

Do you use this sayings with your babes? Did the article miss one? Share your thoughts below.


  1. I say great job all the time! It's positive reinforcement they need that when they are learning! But I agree with you on the other ones. Being a parent is hard! But so worth it!

  2. I use a lot of those sayings and right now we are really guilty of the you get dessert if you finish your dinner because he's become so freaking picky. We've found it doesn't work, if he doesn't want to eat something he won't eat it, he doesn't care what we offer as a reward. So if he doesn't eat his dinner we say that's okay but he's not getting anything else to eat the rest of the night. It's either dinner or nothing.

  3. I'm not a parent but I have lots of nieces and nephews and I use "Be careful" and "Great job" a LOT when I'm with them...

  4. As a parent of a lot I think that it is important for parents to not over think their parenting skills. I think that we sadly live in an age where articles are written to make parents think and wonder if they are doing a good job. I then look at my childhood and know my mom was far from perfect but her words and style made me the awesome person i am today.. keep in mind.. her words were not soft and gentle at times. I think that telling your kid 'hurry up' is important so they know.. hey we are on a time clock. we can't diddle.. THAT child may grow up to be on time to work everyday because of those words 'hurry up'. 'Great Job' should only used when your kid does a great job.. hey.. as an adult I would love to hear that every now and then. 'You're OK'... as parents and /or caregivers.. we know when our kid is ok and when our kid just wants some attention. I've seen too many kids cry when they fall down, I will say 'come on, you're okay' and they will stand up and wipe the tears and start to play again. ... NOW the Don't talk to strangers.. I struggle w that one! We can teach our kid what a stranger is but then there are so many evil people in the world.. that it can be hard where to draw the line. I just know that after raising and caring for so many kids.. it's okay to talk to them like they are people.. we don't always have to have a 'soft' approach for fear of damaging them. #longestcommentinhistory ;-)

  5. I say, "Let me help," "You'll be ok," and "great job" A LOT.
    There are times when M needs help - he's getting frustrated and can't control his emotions/feelings yet. It's (generally) those times when I step in.
    If M stumbles and falls odds are, he will be ok, and he occasionally needs to know that.
    I feel at this stage in life our littles should be praised for doing something well. If we don't let them know they're doing something right/well who will?

  6. I don't think there's such a thing as too much positive praise and reinforcement. There's enough people who are going to push them, tell them to get over it, and have a negative impact on their lives. I'm surely not going to be one of them and will tell Henry 'Great Job' as much as I can. I'm with you on the dessert end (we don't do dessert either) and I will be telling Henry he's okay for as long as I feel he needs to hear it. As far as the rest go - I see no issue telling your kids to be careful, I mean... aren't mother's there to be concerned about their children? I think there's a difference in simply saying 'be careful' and being over-bearing and over-protective. Also, my grandmother used to tell me over and over again that 'practice makes perfect' and while I too believe there is no such thing as 'perfect' I think it's a good thing to strive for and isn't any different than striving to be better or your best self. I don't see an issue with the phrase as long as you're realistic with your children in your expectations. We don't help Henry with much, but if he is really struggling, we will ask him if he needs help. There's a difference in stepping in and just helping and allowing them to make the decision of whether or not they need help. I think this article is bologna, I mean, isn't parenting hard enough without someone else telling us what to or not do, what to say, or not say?

  7. That article totally frustrated me! I think it's really ok.. espically at the age of our kiddos to say "it's ok." if it helps calm them. The same for great job for encouragement and the same for the money thing. I realize parenting is all trial and error but I just don't see the harm in these phrases. Maybe when they are older it could be but not right now.

  8. I say most of these all the time! The boys get, "be careful" "hurry up" and great job none stop and little M get "let me help" on a daily basis. They're young, I think they need all the warnings, reminders and praises they can get!

  9. I'm not a mommy yet (2 more weeks) but the list surprised me. I think except the one "I'm on a diet" I would say all of them! Oh no!

  10. Remember hearing my parents say, "we can't afford that." And feeling like I never wanted to ask for anything every again.

  11. I'm not a mom but I spend a lot of time with my goddaughter and nephew. I love this list. I agree with a lot of your points. Thanks for posting!

    <3 Jen via SITS Spring Fling

  12. I totally read this too! I don;'t necessarily agree with everything they said, just like you. Like "good job!". I say that ALL THE TIME to Mason. After I read this, I felt horrible. And then I realized, like what you said, he is little and still learning. He needs to know when he is doing a good job and if that comes by saying those words than so be it. It will fad over time, but right now, I think those are the words that need to be used to convey that he did the right thing. I also say "you're ok" and "be careful" a lot. I didn't know these things were "so bad"!


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