Sharing - What You Shouldn’t Say To Your Children Anymore And What To Say Instead

~ Posted on Wednesday, February 10, 2016 at 8:00 AM ~

I came across this article which I must definitely share with you guys as I'm very interested to know your thoughts on this. Do note that sharing this does not mean I agree or disagree with it. For your convenience, I have copied the excerpts from the article here:

Our children listen to us. What we say, and how we say it, plays a huge role in how they view themselves. As parents, we want to do everything we can to help our children have the best possible life experiences. Since our communication influences how our children view themselves, we should be careful with how we say things. Try these suggestions for creating positive interactions with your children and help them develop a healthy self-image.

Instead of saying “You’re driving me crazy!” say “Your actions are frustrating me.”
This separates the person from the action. You love the person; however, you dislike the action. You can clearly communicate to your child that his or her actions are frustrating. Actions can be changed without implying that something is wrong with the person.

Instead of saying “I hope you’re proud of yourself!” say “I am sure you are as disappointed as I am.”
Instead of shaming your child, you can let them know you are disappointed and that you are certain that he or she is disappointed as well. Showing empathy when something doesn’t go well goes a lot farther than shaming someone.

Instead of saying “Shut up!” say “I need you to be quiet.”
When we tell our kids to shut up we are setting an example by telling them it’s okay to tell others to shut up. This is hurtful and rude. Instead, ask your child to simply be quiet. One comment is a demand, while the other sounds more like a request. Most people comply better to a request than a demand.

Instead of saying “Next time do better!” say “I know you realize how important it is to do your best.”
Most likely your child knows when they haven’t done as well as they would have liked. Instead of reprimanding him or her, try to be encouraging. You can validate your child by offering encouragement and believing in them.

Instead of saying “I promise,” say “I will do my best.”
When we make promises to our children, they expect us to follow through on them. When those promises get broken, children tend to remember it even if we had a very good excuse. When we say we will do our best they know we will try very hard to do something, but that not all things are possible.


Instead of saying “Let me do it,” say “Would you like some help?”
It’s important that we let our children try and fail. We empower them by letting them work through things themselves. We are available to help, and it’s better for them to ask than for us to take over.


Instead of saying “Leave me alone!” say “I need some space.”
Our words can be very cutting. Sometimes we lash out at our children during moments of weakness. Instead of telling our children that they’re a burden, we should tell them that we need something that only we can provide ourselves. This takes the focus off the child and makes them realize that we need something they can respect. They aren’t the problem; we just need to work through something alone.

Instead of saying “Don’t cry,” say “It will be okay.”
It’s okay to cry. It’s a natural reaction we all have at times. Children need to feel validation and comfort when they are upset. We can assure them things will be okay and help them work through it without controlling their actions.


Instead of saying “You are so smart,” say “I love how hard you work” or “I admire your ability to understand.”
When we tell our children how smart they are, we put pressure on them to live up to our expectations. They might avoid things that make them not look smart. We need to foster their work ethic and ability to learn without placing undue expectations on them.


Instead of saying “Hurry up!” say “Let’s get moving.”
When we tell our kids to hurry up, that’s usually when things start slowing down. When we take the pressure off them and place emphasis on the entire family trying to work toward the same goal, everyone’s motivation improves.

What do you think?

** Note: I have disabled the commenting feature on my blog engine thanks to all the spammers who happily spam my blog every day. If you wish to ask me any questions, you can find me at my Facebook page (I'm there almost everyday) or just drop me an email if you wish to maintain some anonymity.

Sharing - 20 Most Common Parenting Mistakes

~ Posted on Monday, February 8, 2016 at 6:43 AM ~

I came across this article which I must definitely share with you guys as I'm very interested to know your thoughts on this. Do note that sharing this does not mean I agree or disagree with it. For your convenience, I have copied the excerpts from the article here:

Parenting Mistakes

1. Giving Them Too Many Choices
Many parents think children always should have endless choices, when the reality is kids can be overwhelmed if they're always given so many options.

2. Praising Them For Everything They Do
It's very common now to see kids who are almost junkies for praise. They won't do anything unless there is a payoff for them.

3. Trying To Make The Child Happy
Their job is to learn to make themselves happy, and you can never force a child to be happy.

4. Overindulging Them
They will almost always end up believing acquisitions lead to happiness. This sets up chasing the never-satisfying carrots, and can result in addictions and compulsions.

5. Keeping Them Too Busy
Most commonly with sports. Many parents wrongly believe "activities" will keep their kid out of trouble, but often times this will lead to the child being burned out or even becoming a bully.

6. Thinking Smart Will Save Them
It can be tempting for parents to promote smart as the end-all-be-all. Yet this can lead to a child becoming arrogant, thinking everyone else is stupid or secretly believe that they have to put on an act and are a fraud. As a result, nobody likes them.

7. Thinking A Strict Religion Will Give Them Perfect Values And Save Them
The first time they see hypocrisy in their parents or the touted beloved leaders, the house of cards start to fall.

8. Withholding Common Information About Important Topics — Like Sex
Many parents are terrified of talking about sex, and believe avoiding discussing it with their children will save them. But I've seen 13-year-old girls get pregnant, sometimes just to flaunt it at their parents.

9. Being Hyper-Critical Of The Child's Mistakes
It can be easy to assume intense scrutiny promotes success and makes kids better. But kids raised this way are driven to perfection in everything from looks, likability, sports, smarts, or you name it. When a mistake happens, they are worthless as a human being and start getting so angry that in some cases they will resort to self-harm even to the point of suicide.

10. Using Shame, Shunning, Or Threats
Never imply that there is a chance you might not love your child due to their actions, as some parents do so in order to get their kids to achieve compliance. It is a short term gain with abandonment lurking in the shadows. Then the child doesn't care either.

11. Making Kids Do Things Inappropriate For Their Age
I have 3 patients right now who, by age 4, were having to feed themselves and or had to be in charge of a sibling also. I've seen many who didn't have children of their own because as they all said; "I raised my family."

12. Not Limiting Screen Time
Whether it's TV, video, games, phone or texting. I know a family where the mom and teenage son text each other constantly and no one else can get into their relationship link.

13. Not Letting Kids Get Bored
Some parents think children are supposed to be stimulated at all times and it's their job to avoid boredom. Then kids don't learn to be creative and find the way out of boredom in themselves.

14. Protecting Kids From Their Own Consequences And Loss
I see parents with good intentions get their kids everything, from a simple toy to buying them out of legal trouble, and suddenly are surprised when the child respects nothing. All of us need to learn losing is just another way to gain wisdom and experience about what not to do.

15. Not Letting Kids Play Dangerously
The Forest Kindergarten schools have shown the children get sick less, are more well adjusted and also get along better than their regulated indoor peers.

16. Not Debriefing Kids At Bed Time
"What happened today?" Children sleep better and feel loved when the parent shows an interest in what happened that was significant to them in their own lives.

17. Not Reading To Very Young Children
Reading requires the child to be still, be quiet, and use their imagination. All the things videos don't. It prepares them for listening in school and being able to use their imagination for creativity and alternatives as a resource.

18. Pulling Pacifiers Too Soon
Parents know the pacifier is an outward symbol of insecurity, so they tend to take it away as soon as they can, instead of getting the child secure where it would drop-out naturally. I have adult patients who secretly suck their thumbs.

19. Not Regulating Food
And especially inquiring: "Are you full?" When this happens, typically your kid will load the plate again. That is an old survival program from our heritage as scarcity, when food was not available. Kids then chase a full-filled sensation, not understanding each time you fill yourself, your stomach adapts to that as normal and expands.

20. Spanking Children Older Than 5
Parents think it will teach them to be good, but using corporal punishment never works as well as love. I see all kinds of patients where the concept of 'Spare the rod-spoil the child' was anything but. No spoiling, just oppositional, angry, bullying, deceiving, fearful or performing automatons.

What do you think?

** Note: I have disabled the commenting feature on my blog engine thanks to all the spammers who happily spam my blog every day. If you wish to ask me any questions, you can find me at my Facebook page (I'm there almost everyday) or just drop me an email if you wish to maintain some anonymity.

Sharing - 5 Things a Loving Parent Never Says

~ Posted on Monday, February 1, 2016 at 12:01 AM ~

I came across this article which I must definitely share with you guys as I'm very interested to know your thoughts on this. Do note that sharing this does not mean I agree or disagree with it. For your convenience, I have copied the excerpts from the article here:

Being a parent is a difficult job, and it’s no wonder that not all of us succeed at it. We all bring a fair amount of baggage to the enterprise—our personalities, how we experienced parenting ourselves, how well we manage our emotions and express our feelings, how empathic we are, and, of course, how comfortable we are in our own skins.

A large part of good parenting involves avoiding behaviors that can damage your child. It’s a psychological truism that “bad is stronger than good,” meaning that negative events have a much more significant impact on humans than good ones. For this, we can thank evolution. To increase the odds of survival, the hardiest of our forebears were much more reactive to bad things and committed them to memory faster and more completely than good or benign ones. It’s still true of us, all these millennia later.

In their terrific book, Parenting from The Inside Out, Daniel Siegel and Mary Hartzwell distinguish between high-road and low-road mental processing. When you’re on the high road, you’re very aware of the emotional baggage you have in tow and what triggers your own worst responses. You work at being present and rational, committing yourself to thinking things through rather than being reactive.

High-road processing tends to present different possible responses to a situation, and keeps you in the driver’s seat. Imagine that your child suddenly starts crying when you’re in the middle of something you need to get done, and it’s irritating you. You register your feelings of annoyance, tamp them down, and then think, "I need to find out why she’s crying. I have to stop what I’m doing and spend a few minutes helping her calm down.” High-road processing effectively invites your best self in as your child’s parent.

Then there’s low-road processing, which has you forget about your emotional baggage and become a quivering mass of emotional reactivity the second your kid starts crying because, dammit, you have stuff to get done. Low-road processing hijacks your conscious thought process and ability to be empathic. You just let whatever you’re feeling rip, either yelling at her to stop or screaming, “Go to your room now. If you don’t stop crying, I’ll give you something to cry about!”

All of the following behaviors are reactions that low-road processing enables. This is the road the attuned, loving parent shuns. If you are a loving parent who has fallen into the trap of one or another, sit down with your child to explain and apologize.

5 Things a Loving Parent Never Says

1. Use words as weapons of shame or blame.
Whether it’s calling a weeping child a “cry baby” or a “sissy” or telling a child he or she is “stupid,” “fat” or “lazy,” the damage is done: Words wound just as much, sometimes more, than slaps. Recent research shows that the neural networks for physical and emotional pain are one and the same. Additionally, as the work of Martin Teicher and his colleagues showed, the kind of stress verbal abuse induces causes permanent changes to parts of the developing brain. How powerful is the force of verbal aggression? In 2014, Ann Polcari, Keren Rabi, Elizabeth Bolger, and Teicher examined whether verbal affection from one parent or both could offset the effects of one parent’s verbal abuse. The sobering conclusion: No. Verbal affection expressed by either the other parent or the parent who was aggressive in the first place does not mitigate the effects of verbal aggression. Bad is stronger than good.

Shaming a child is abusive behavior which inflicts lasting damage. If you have it in your head that talking to your child this way will make your kid “tougher” or make him or her “wise up,” you could not possibly be more wrong. I have heard many unloved daughters say that they wished a parent had hit or physically beaten them “because then the scars would show.” Don’t kid yourself: Words are weapons.

2. Begin a reprimand with the phrase, “You always…”
Possessions get broken and lost, children make mistakes, and sometimes they behave badly. All of that is true and, as a parent, there will be moments when a reprimand is necessary. If they don’t listen, run across a busy street, or do exactly what you told them not to do, your first impulse may be to lash out because that part of your brain, the reactive part, is mighty powerful. But this is the moment at which you must hew to the high road.

Why shouldn’t you begin a sentence with these words? Because you’re no longer addressing the behavior but attacking the child for being who he or she is. The words “you always” turn what is supposed to be a parent’s response to a single event or action into a litany of everything the child isn’t and should be. This behavior is highly toxic in adult relationships—marital expert John Gottman calls it “kitchensinking,” as in you recall everything your partner ever did that was wrong—but it is absolutely devastating to a child’s sense of self.

Variations on the theme include “Can’t you ever…"; “What is wrong with you?” and more. Don’t use words that personalize the wrong the child has committed in this way.

3. Dismiss a child’s feelings by saying he or she’s too “sensitive."
This was my own mother’s mantra. Telling a child that he or she is “too sensitive” is common behavior among unloving, unattuned parents since it effectively shifts the responsibility and blame from their behavior to the child’s supposed inadequacies. A young child doesn’t have the self-confidence to counter this assertion and will assume that she’s done something wrong. She will often believe that her sensitivity is the problem and that, in turn, leads her to mistrust both her feelings and perceptions.

This is a more subtle form of emotional abuse, but it is highly damaging because there are numerous take-away lessons, such as: “What you feel doesn’t matter to me or anyone else,” and, “The fault is yours because something is wrong with you.”

4. Compare one child to another.
Sibling rivalry is common, but as recent studies have shown, it's not benign. Any parent who manipulates the tension and competition between and among siblings is either woefully misinformed or downright cruel. Statements such as “Why can’t you be more like Jimmy?” or “Your sister’s success should inspire you to try to do one thing right” are not inspirational. All they do is make a child feel “less than.” A loving parent recognizes that each child is an individual.

5. Ignore a child’s personal space or boundaries.
As a child grows and develops, a good parent makes adjustments along the way; what works with a rambunctious toddler will not necessarily be the approach you want to take with a seventh-grader testing out his or her social skills. Respecting a child’s boundaries in an age-appropriate way—recognizing her need for privacy and for enough room to articulate feelings and thoughts without worrying about reprisal or criticism—not only permits a child to be herself but teaches that part of emotional connection involves being respectful of other people’s boundaries. 

There are numerous ways unattuned parents ignore boundaries. An authoritarian parent who requires conformity to a rigid set of rules and norms not only puts a child in a role where he is constantly trying to please or placate a taskmaster but also ignores him as a unique individual with unique qualities. These parents may mock a child for his interests (“Why would you want to take art classes? It’s for sissies”) if they don’t fall within the parent’s list of “acceptable” or “valuable” activities. All of this weakens a child’s sense of self and isolates him.

Similarly, a self-involved parent who sees her child only as an extension of herself doesn’t, by definition, recognize the child’s boundaries. These children become inveterate pleasers, insecure in themselves, without a real sense of self. They may suffer in adult relationships because they have learned either to armor themselves—mistaking walls for boundaries and becoming avoidant of connection—or to be anxious and clingy.

Enmeshed parents also don’t acknowledge the child’s separateness, and suffocate their children emotionally. Parents who can’t permit their children to make mistakes or who are “helicopter” parents also don’t recognize boundaries and end up communicating the message that the child is incompetent or incapable of functioning on his own.

Parenting is learned behavior in our species and nothing prevents any of us from being dedicated students, learning and growing from our mistakes and always hewing to the high road.

What do you think?

** Note: I have disabled the commenting feature on my blog engine thanks to all the spammers who happily spam my blog every day. If you wish to ask me any questions, you can find me at my Facebook page (I'm there almost everyday) or just drop me an email if you wish to maintain some anonymity.