Expert Parent Advice

Un-Helpful Things Well-Meaning Parents Say

“I’ll give you something to cry about!”  Did your parents ever say that?  Mine did, and I always wondered, “What does that even mean?”  It wasn’t at all helpful, and I’m fairly certain it didn’t help me make a better choice in the future.  Well, believe it or not, well-meaning parents often say things that are completely unhelpful!

I’m Amy McCready, founder of Positive Parenting Solutions, and I’m proud to partner with Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academies for the Expert Parenting Advice series.  Today, we’re talking about three seemingly harmless remarks that can have less than desirable outcomes.

  1. Don’t worry or don’t cry.  Although those comments are intended to help the child feel better, in reality, we discount those feelings as invalid or unnecessary.  It’s more helpful to acknowledge the feelings: “Wow, you seem really worried.” And then focus on solutions for dealing with the feelings: “What are some things that you can do so you feel less worried?”  “What are some things that you can do to feel less afraid?”  This reinforces that the feelings are valid, but your child has the power to influence how those feelings will impact him.
  2. Don’t be shy!  Kids have different temperaments, and some are more outgoing than others.  But when we label kids as “shy,” they’re more likely to act shy. Instead, practice or role-play how to meet and greet new people, arrive early for events so your child can warm-up, and most importantly, don’t pressure your child to talk if she doesn’t want to.
  3. Any sentence that begins with “See.”  “See, aren’t you glad you brought your coat?”  “See, isn’t it easier to find things when your room is clean?”  You get the picture – we want to avoid comments that have an “I-told-you-so attitude.”  Parents are only trying to reinforce an important point, like having a warm coat when it’s 30 degrees outside or the benefits of a tidy room, but the remarks come across as an “I told you so:” If you would just listen to me things would turn out a whole lot better for you!”  The end result will be eye rolling at the least and very likely a power struggle.  Instead, just zip your lips, and let the experience be the big teacher, and your kids will be more likely to learn the lesson!

I’ve shared three unhelpful remarks made by well-meaning parents, but there’s one more, and it’s a biggie.  One of the most common things parents say to their kids with the best of intentions actually has long-term negative outcomes.

To find out if it’s something you say to your kids and why you should stop, check out the interactive that goes along with this video.

For ongoing solutions to your parenting challenges, visit us often at KIds 'R' Kids Learning Academies for Expert Parenting Advice.

I’m Amy McCready for Kids ‘R’ Kids, and I’ll see you next time!