50 Words You Should Never Say to Your Child

It is essential that you do not use words that would hurt your child when you interact with her. This is an essential step in ensuring a positive parent-child relationship.

By Team ParentCircle

50 Words You Should Never Say to Your Child

If you thought parenting means just providing your child with all her needs, showering your love on her and disciplining her when need be, think again. You may be wrong. Parenting also means, apart from all these, establishing a bond with your child. And, the most important tool in establishing this bond is communication. If you are cross when you speak to your child all the time and punctuate your vocabulary with harsh phrases that would hurt her, you can never enjoy a ‘connect’ with her. So, watch what you say to your child!

When a parent uses harsh and demeaning words when speaking to a child, it can destroy the child’s self-confidence. Apart from harsh words and phrases, the tone and body language too count to a great extent. 
– *Arundhati Swamy

Here’s a list of 50 words and phrases you should never say to your child:

1. You’re impossible!

2. You’re such a big disappointment!

3. You’re useless!

4. You can never do it.

5. Are you an idiot?

6. What a spoilt brat you are!

7. Selfish brat!

8. Does anything ever get into that head of yours?

9. Shame on you!

10. Have you gone crazy?

11. What do you think of yourself?

12. You’re a big burden.

13. You’re so unlucky.

14. You’re such a pain.

15. How irritating you are!

16. Come on, act like a man. Stop being a kid!

17. I’ll kick you!

Counsellor’s take:

The above words and phrases can impact how a child thinks about himself – his 'self-concept'. He can have thoughts such as, ‘I am not good enough’, or ‘I can never be good at anything’. 
– *Arundhati Swamy

18. God knows where you came from!

19. I’ll disown you.

20. Don’t even bother talking to me.

21. Get lost! You don’t belong here.

22. Leave me alone!

23. Go to hell!

24. Did you think I have nothing better to do than sit and listen to you?

25. Get out of the house and don’t you ever come back!

26. Just get out of my sight.

Counsellor’s take:

The above words and phrases can impact how a child values himself – his 'self-worth'. He can have thoughts such as, ‘I am not important to any one’, or ‘I cannot contribute in any way’. 
– *Arundhati Swamy

27. Who are you to say that?

28. Just mind your own business.

29. Nobody gave you the right to do that!

30. Don’t ask any questions. Just do as I say!

31. Don’t you dare…!

32. Just listen to me.

33. I don’t care what you think.

34. You don’t have the right to decide.

Counsellor’s take:

The above words and phrases hampers the development of critical thinking skills in the child. It signifies an 'autocratic parenting style'. The child can have thoughts such as, ‘I can’t think for myself’, or ‘I am afraid; therefore, I will obey’. 
– *Arundhati Swamy

35. Life is so messed up.

36. Life was easier when I was single.

37. You’re just like your mom/dad.

38. Get the hell out of my way.

39. I’ll give you one whack.

Counsellor’s take:

The above words and phrases signify an 'over-stressed parent' who takes out his anger, frustration and helplessness on the child. The child can have thoughts such as, ‘It’s my fault’, or ‘I am a burden to my parents’. 
– *Arundhati Swamy

40. He’s a boy, so…

41. She’s a girl, so…

42. Big boys/girls don’t behave like this.

43. If you’re a good boy, stop crying now.

44. Stop crying! Don’t be such a baby!

45. A boy can do whatever he wants to.

Counsellor’s take:

The above words and phrases reflect on the parent’s 'gender bias'. It influences gender roles and promotes stereotyping. It may make a boy feel that suppressing emotions is a sign of strength and it may make a girl feel restricted. Such comments may also make children put each other down. 
– *Arundhati Swamy

46. If you lose some weight, you’ll look pretty.

47. How skinny/fat you are!

48. How sweaty you are - you stink like a pig!

49. Why can’t you be like him/her?

50. I don’t care what you do; you have to top your class.

Counsellor’s take:

The above words and phrases can lead to 'body-image issues'. Such language can shame the child or define her personality narrowly. The child can have thoughts such as, ‘I don’t like myself’, or ‘I can never satisfy my parent’. 
– *Arundhati Swamy

*Arundhati Swamy is a counsellor and the Head of Parent Engagement Programs at ParentCircle.

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