Never use these 5 phrases when talking to your child

Effective communication with your child is essential for their emotional development, self-esteem, and overall well-being. The way you speak to your child can leave a lasting impact on their self-image and the quality of your relationship. While parents may unintentionally use certain phrases that can be hurtful or unhelpful, it’s crucial to be mindful of our language. In this article, we will discuss five phrases that you should avoid when talking to your child and suggest alternative ways to communicate effectively.

1. “You’re So Lazy” or “You Never Do Anything Right”:

Using negative labels or criticizing your child’s efforts can damage their self-esteem and discourage them. Instead, encourage their efforts and focus on constructive feedback:

Alternative: “I know you can do better next time if you keep trying. Let’s work on this together.”

2. “Because I Said So” or “Don’t Question Me”:

Dismissive phrases like these can hinder your child’s critical thinking and create frustration. It’s important to encourage curiosity and open dialogue:

Alternative: “I appreciate your curiosity, and I’m happy to explain it to you so you can understand.”

3. “You’re the Best” or “You’re the Worst”:

Overusing superlatives can create unrealistic expectations and set your child up for unnecessary pressure. Instead, provide specific feedback and praise their efforts:

Alternative: “You put in a lot of effort, and it shows. Keep up the good work.”

4. “I’m Disappointed in You”:

Expressing disappointment can be hurtful and make your child feel like they’ve let you down. Instead, focus on discussing their actions and feelings:

Alternative: “I’m concerned about what happened. Can you tell me why you made that choice?”

5. “Big Boys/Girls Don’t Cry” or “Stop Being Such a Baby”:

Telling your child not to express their emotions can stifle their emotional growth and make them feel misunderstood. Encourage emotional expression and offer support:

Alternative: “It’s okay to feel upset. I’m here to listen and help you through it.”

Tips for Effective Communication with Your Child:

  1. Active Listening: Pay full attention to your child when they are speaking, and validate their feelings and concerns.
  2. Use “I” Statements: Express your feelings and concerns using “I” statements rather than blaming or accusing your child.
  3. Stay Calm: Avoid yelling or reacting impulsively in challenging situations. Model emotional regulation for your child.
  4. Set Realistic Expectations: Be mindful of age-appropriate expectations for your child’s behavior and abilities.
  5. Be Patient: Give your child time to express themselves and avoid rushing them during conversations.
  6. Encourage Problem Solving: Involve your child in finding solutions to problems or conflicts rather than imposing solutions.
  7. Show Empathy: Try to understand your child’s perspective and empathize with their feelings, even if you don’t agree.


Effective communication with your child is a fundamental aspect of parenting. The phrases you use and the way you communicate can have a significant impact on your child’s self-esteem and emotional development. By avoiding negative and hurtful phrases and adopting constructive and empathetic communication, you can nurture a strong, trusting, and healthy parent-child relationship. Remember that open and respectful communication is a two-way street, and by modeling positive communication skills, you can teach your child valuable lessons in how to express themselves and interact with others.

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