Have you ever gotten mad at your child? Be honest. No one can answer that question with a “no” and really mean it. When you’ve gotten angry, have you said things you didn’t necessarily mean? Things that may have been hurtful and degrading?
Let’s face it it’s not uncommon to say things that you don’t really mean in the heat of an argument. The problem is that when you say these things to your children, it really hits home and makes an impact.
#1 Words Can Hurt Let’s say you’re fighting with your brother or sister. One thing leads to another and before you know it you’re calling your sibling a not-so-nice name and storming out of the room. No big deal, right? After all, siblings fight and sooner or later you both get over it.
Now change the scenario and instead of you fighting with a sibling, it’s you fighting with your child. One thing leads to another and that not-so-nice name is directed at your child. Think it won’t leave a permanent emotional scar? Guess again.
#2 Your Opinion Makes an Impression As a parent, each and every thing you say to your child about personality, character and intellect really does affect the way your child views themselves as a person. If you call your child dumb, he’s really going to think he’s dumb. If you call her ignorant, she’s really going to think she’s ignorant. The harm may not be apparent on the surface, but deep down inside you’re planting the seeds of self-doubt and low self esteem in the character of your child.
It’s human nature for a child to look to their parent for guidance. If a parent is constantly criticizing a child, that child is going to suffer because of it. Does that mean you should be singing their praises even when they’ve done something wrong? Absolutely not! But remember it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.
#3 Outbursts Don’t Teach Proper Communication or Self Control You can tell your child that you’re disappointed in their behavior without calling them a name or degrading them as a person. If you’re angry with your child, don’t let a word fall from your mouth without first considering how it’s going to sound when he or she hears it. If it sounds like a personal attack, rethink the way you’re approaching it and word your thoughts differently. If you want your child to grow up knowing how to properly communicate and show their disappointment or displeasure, you need to be the one to set the example.
By communicating with your child in a calm, rational and non-confrontational manner, you’ll be able to get your point across without doing any damage to the emotional development of your son or daughter.
Copyright (c) 2006 Pat Brill