By CAROLYN KITCH
These all-too- common remarks can really hurt your kids and undermine their self-confidence!
My hand shook as I started at the long list of C's and D's on my ninth-standard kid's report card. Didn't I warn you this would happen? I demanded.
He stood with his back to me, silent I forged ahead,"Your problem is you're plain lazy.
Infuriated by his silence, I added, "there's no point even trying to talk to you, you're never going to accomplished anything!I 'd just pummeled my son with three types of remarks that experts say are among the most harmful to children; a self-righteous"Didn't I tell you "statement, a negative label and a blanket condemnation of his future. Wrapped in my own anger and frustration, I;d demeaned and alienated my son, making a bad situation worse.Now and then, we all say insensitive things to our children. Usually they survive infact. However a persistent pattern of such remarks may do lifelong damage."Children learn most of their communication skills in the home,; says MIchael Beatty, an American professor of communication."Kids who are chronic targets of insults and criticisms grow into adults who tend to resort to the same negative language.” This may cause them difficulties on the job, as well as with their spouses and their own children.
Psychologists, educators and other experts have pinpointed the most destructive comments that parents direct at their children. If you're making these deceptively damaging comments, you may be undermining your child's sense of well-being both today and in the years ahead. Here are seven of the most common and most destructive things that you can say to your kids.
“You should've done it this way”
In their book The Self-confident Child, Dr. Jean Yoder and William Proctor describe a preschooler who, after much effort, learns to tie his shoe laces. He proudly shows off his accomplishment to his father.”That's great'”the dad says'”but you should have made sure you put your shoes on the right feet''
Kevin Leman, psychologist and co-host of “parent Talk'” an American radio show, warns not to “should” a child.”Don't be an improver.” he cautions when praise is mixed with criticisms, kids tend to focus on the down side. “If your five-year-old makes her bed, and you immediately plump up the pillow while telling her what a good job she did, she says to herself , Mommy tells me I did a good job, but I guess I should've done this better.
A father of five recalls an incident when he was coaching his 12-year- old son's baseball team. “Near the end of the game, with the score close, my son was at bat”, the father says.”He couldn't hit the ball. I was all over him as he walked back to the dugout. I told him how he should have held the bat I said, 'A nine-year-old kid could've hit that.'”His son was devastated by this barrage of criticisms.
Hurt by his dad's constant put downs, the boy became sullen and withdrawn, Finally the father saw that his harsh words were to blame. I learned that instead of hollering, it makes sense to talk to your child about what went wrong and what to do about it.”
Even constructive criticisms can sting when it's delivered at the wrong moment- for instance, right after a youngster has messed up on a project. That's when he's most vulnerable. Since neither you nor your child can change a disappointing result, it's sometimes better to avoid immediate feedback. “Later on,”says Anita Vangelisti, a speech communication expert put your effort into discussing the child's feelings and working together on ways to improve his performance.”
Is that their on you head or are you wearing a mop?'
Teasing that comes from parents is the most painful teasing of all, says psychiatrist Dr Carloe Lieberman.””Children look to their parents to tell them who they are in this world'” she explains. Teasing creates uncertainty because a child never knows how serious the parents is, And that uncertainty often persists.
I was a chubby kid, “Vangelisti recalls, and my mother would say I was built like a brick house. I knew she wasn't trying to hurt my feelings, She was saying. This is our sturdy' healthy girl,' But it didn't feel good. And that sensitivity to teasing carried over into my early adult years.”
Ina clinical study of 40 overweight women at a Center for eating and Weight Disorders, researchers examined the relationship between self esteem and being teased about weight and size. Subjects who reported a greater frequency of teasing about their weight while growing up held as more negative view of their appearance as adults.
“You don't means that”
Parent educator Adele Faber, coauthor of How to Talk So Kids Can Learn at Home and at school, recalls the day her daughter announced, “I hate Grandma.” Indistinctly Faber rose to her mother's defense.”That's a terrible thing to say.” she snapped “you don't mean that!
When we continually deny their feelings, Kids think they shouldn't express their emotions
Faber quickly realized that she'd told her daughter her feelings didn't count. When we continually deny their feelings, our children get the message that they shouldn't express them. They begin to think that they're supposed to keep anger and other emotions to themselves.
A dentist is haunted by an approach she used frequently in raising her three children, I had an answer for every problem or heartbreak they ever had,” recalls, when my daughter didn't make the basketball team. Something she had been training very hard for, I said That other girl probably needed it more than you, when a girl broke a date with my son. I said she may have had to go out with her family.”
Looking back she realizes she shouldn't have tried to minimize her kid's disappointment and thus suggest their feelings didn't count. When a child expresses acute disappointment or a negative emotion. Don't contradict it, Instead listen to what they have to say and acknowledge their feelings with respect.
Once a child's feelings have been acknowledged , she can begin deal with them and perhaps find her own solution. The dentist could have responded to her daughter by saying' It can hurt when you're turned down for something you really want and have worked so hard for'” And to her son she could have said, It can be pretty upsetting to have someone break a date.
To be cont'd next week