As a parent it is hard to watch your children suffer. Often times we unconsciously say things that make them feel less about themselves, or as if their feelings are wrong. Don’t try to undermine your child’s feelings and dismiss their words when they can’t articulate an emotion directly. Kids are more likely to grow up happy and successful when parents provide love, support, and affection. This means recognizing your child’s hurt feelings when they say things like “you never listen to me” or “you always do this.” If you want them to know they are valued, acknowledge their feelings, and try not to shut them down. There are words we use which may hurt our kids even though we don’t know. When the goal is to empower, a parent’s words need to support and encourage kids to explore, learn and grow. I know of parents whose children love them yet all their lives feel “less than” because of the comments their parents made about them when they were little. All we want for our kids — if we’re being honest — is for them to be happy and to live a life that is true for them. For whatever reason, sometimes we forget this in the heat of the moment and say things that can do more damage than good.

By exploring the causes and effects of everyday words, parents will find easy-to-implement strategies to combat the verbal abuse and instead give their children confidence to thrive.

Parents shouldn’t tell a child to suppress an emotion or to try to fit a certain stereotype”

Brandon A. Gaudiano, Ph.D., of Butler Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island.
  • Avoid comparing your kids to others
  • Avoid undermining their feelings
  • Be mindful of your words when speaking to them
  • Think before replying to them and reflect ” If someone was to say this to me, will I like it?”
    • T- Is this True?
    • H – Is this Helpful?
    • I – Is this Inspiring?
    • N – Is this Necessary?
    • K- Is this Kind?

Pay attention to the unspoken words, children often do not know how to react to what we say. You can be assertive, firm and assuring when passing your message but try to avoid any negative remarks or direct criticism.

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