How To Talk To Kids: What Not To Say

Last night, I said, “If all your friends jumped off the Empire State Building would you do it too?”

I love cliche sayings like that, but because I know it doesn’t work with kids it just annoys them, I rarely use them. Once in a while I let myself go.

I always think to myself, if it bothers kid so much and we know they don’t work, why do we continue to use these old school parenting phrases? Correct me if I am wrong, but I think it is because we don’t know what else to say.

So to help you out here are some ideas of what you can say instead:

Instead of:

“If all your friends jumped off the Empire State Building would you do it too?”

Try this:

“Hmm, all your friends do it, so you think you can do it too. I need to think about that. Right now I am uncomfortable with that behavior. I will talk it over with Dad and let you know our decision.”

Instead of:

“Because I said so!”

Try this:

“The rule is _________. I appreciate your arguments. I will not change my mind.”

 Instead of:

“Wait until your father gets home!”

Try this:

“I am very disappointed. You need to take some time to think of a way you are going to make this better.”

 Instead of:

“Do I look like your maid?”

Try this:

“I wish I could help. I am busy cutting carrots. I really appreciate when kids do what they can for themselves.”

 Instead of:

“Just ignore him and he will leave you alone!”

Try this:

“He hurt your feelings. You wish he would not call you names.”

I know past generations have used these pat phrases and we all turned out fine. I also know that anytime we try to improve our communication skills it can only benefit our kids.

Adina Soclof

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