Are you amongst the many parents who grapple with getting kids to do chores or comply with directions? I talk about this problem often because it’s so common for parents to resort to using hurtful words. The strategy of “scolding” kids is a form of punishment based on the concept that when you make kids/teens feel bad that they will behave. How crazy is that?
The problem is that scolding children is still promoted as being practical. In fact, some say that it’s necessary to show kids who is the boss. Yes, you are the boss yet you can show this through what I call soft power. Making kids and teens feel humiliated and intimidated is hard power and often leads to rebellion as a negative way to get power.
I encourage you to pay close attention to the language you are using to try to control your children. Look at your children’s faces and how they respond when you point out their deficiencies or label them. Do they feel loved? Do they feel that you care and so they want to connect with you? Probably not! Watching the impact of your language is essential to taking a positive step to change.
In a previous article, I started discussing the first 3 steps to create a closer relationship with your kids/teens. Step 1 was to shift your adversarial beliefs to ally beliefs. Read the full article “The First Step to Creating a Closer Parent-Child/Teen Relationship”.
Today I’m talking about Step 2 which is to avoid hurtful words. What I’ve discovered is that parents use hurtful words because they are too emotional to be logical and thoughtful. They are frustrated and vent these feelings to their children. As a result, children feel not only bad but come to believe that they are bad. It’s a warning sign when your child says words such as, “I’m horrible. I’m bad. You don’t love me.” Or even the scariest which is when they say, “I want to die!”
When parents shout and demean their children, they are venting their emotional brain. It doesn’t help the situation. In fact, I’ve NEVER heard a parent say they felt good about themselves after they said hurtful words.
You may not even recognize what words are hurtful and need to be stopped. Even the words, “You need to,” and “You have to” trigger hurt in children. They feel put down. Instead, try “It’s important to” or “It’s time to.” Another great strategy is the After-Then approach.
Here are a few examples of what NOT to say.
When children feel hurt, they tend to protect themselves. A negative way of protection is by hurting you back which is called revenge. This can sound like “I hate you”, “You are so mean”, or “I wish I wasn’t part of this family.”
Many children have not learned how to protect themselves in a positive way which could sound like, “It hurts my feelings when you say that to me”, “You don’t sound very kind or loving now.” or “ I don’t feel like helping you because you’ve been mean to me.” Instead, they hurt your feelings in return.
I encourage you to not take revengeful words from your kids lightly and say, “All kids say mean things.” That is disregarding what’s going on and you are missing a great opportunity to reflect on your parenting and make positive changes. So, take action today to…
- See the impact of your words
- Reflect on why children are being revengeful and
- Start learning respectful ways to get kids to do chores and other directions you give them.
You can totally do this! Know that by just stopping saying one or two phrases that are hurting, your child will feel better and will be more responsive to you. When you make a small change, it can have a big positive response from your child.
Don’t miss out on this fantastic opportunity to download “The 7 Most Common Phrases Parents Say That Stop Kids From Listening”! You’ll also receive my weekly emails where you will learn how to transform annoying conflict into loving cooperation in your home.
Cynthia is available for private coaching sessions so you can quickly get the answers you need and make those much need changes right away. Click HERE for a complimentary 45-minute Fast-Track Clarity Session to learn what you can do now to create more harmony in your home.