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5 things we should not say to our children

For all educators who want to raise their children to be strong and independent.


We all want the best for our children. This sounds very simple, but everyone who raises children knows that it is not always easy. Often we fall into old patterns of how our parents, grandparents and teachers raised us and hear our parents in us. (How many times did I think to myself, now I sound just like my parents!?) You're probably thinking, "I grew up just fine." That's certainly true, and our parents also had only the best in mind. And at the same time, there's always room for improvement, right?


Children do not need perfect parents


Children don't need perfect parents (as we all know, they don't exist) - they need someone who is there for them and encourages them. And a very efficient way to strengthen them is our language.

As parents, we want our children to display self-confidence, self-control and perseverance. These are all things that children can learn through experience - and we can help them.


1. "It's not that hard."


"It's not that hard after all. It's not scary. It's not a big deal." Our kids can't just stop feeling something because someone told them to. It doesn't work that way. For them, it IS hard. It IS scary. Being told otherwise can make them feel rejected or guilty.


Alternatives:

  • "I know this is hard, but you can do it."

  • "I understand you're scared. What can we do about it?"

  • "I'm here for you."


By not denying our children's feelings, but showing them that we are there for them, we allow them to feel and consciously work through the feelings.


2. "Everything is ok."


"Nothing happened. It's all good. You're fine."

How often I fall into this trap myself. For example, when our children hurt themselves, we try to reassure them this way. We tell the child that he or she is fine, even though that it is obviously not true. Indirectly, we tell the child that he or she should not be in pain and that these feelings are not right.


Alternatives:

  • "Are you okay?"

  • "It looks like you hurt yourself. Do you want me to give you a hug to make you feel better?"

  • "I'm here for you."


It is okay to reassure our children when they are not feeling well. This makes them feel safe with us and teaches them that we take them seriously and believe them.


3. "Go to your room."


"Go to your room until you calm down. I've had enough of you."

Some situations are very nerve-wracking and a break is good for everyone. It's mostly about how we do it. If we send our children away and leave them alone with their frustration, anger or overwhelm, we are not helping them.


Alternatives:

  • "I can see you're upset. Would you like a hug?"

  • "Do you need a break?"

  • "Let's take a short break and talk about it afterwards."


By doing so, we are not punishing our children, but trying to show them how to deal with emotions. We parents also need a break sometimes and it's okay to admit that. It's not always easy to stay calm in the moment and a break can help everyone to talk about it calmly afterwards.


4. "Say sorry."


"Go apologise to your sister/friend/uncle right now."

Forced apologies do not teach empathy or genuine remorse. They are nothing more than lip service.


Alternatives:

  • "How do you think your sister feels now?"

  • Show your child how to do it and apologise for them. Children learn a lot while observing.

  • Talk to your child about it again a little later. Often children are overwhelmed in the situation and then feel bad later.


By talking to our children about the feelings we trigger in others, we teach them to classify and understand them. This is much more meaningful than forcing the word "sorry". By understanding the feelings they can then show genuine remorse.


5. "We don't do this."


"We don't hit. We don't talk like that. You don't do that."

Younger children in particular do not know what is right and wrong in many situations and cannot yet independently assess the consequences. By telling them what not to do, they still don't know WHY something is wrong and what they can do instead.


Alternatives:

  • "I understand that you are angry, but hitting is not good. You can talk to your brother instead."

  • "I don't want you to call me names. It makes me sad. Are you angry with me? You can tell me if you are."

  • "We're not going to destroy your sister's drawing. That makes her sad. Do you want us to make a drawing for you?"


We show our children that their behaviour is not good and at the same time give them an alternative. This teaches them alternatives and gives them clear instructions that they can follow more easily next time.


Do you have more examples? Share them with us in the comments.




Who is Mint Girls?


Mint Girls makes clothes for girls who think astronauts, trucks and dragons are great. We want to empower our girls and give them the opportunity to have alternatives to princesses and unicorns.


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