As a parent, knowing how to relate with a child as they develop can be a highly rewarding venture. Learning how one’s child views the world and mentoring them as they process new feelings and changes are all part of being a parent.
According to child psychologists at the Western Washington Medical Group, United States of America, as children grow, they go through progressive developmental stages, even as environmental, genetic and cultural factors can affect their development, and how quickly they progress from one stage to the next.
Psychologists said it was usually difficult for children to explain what they were going through, much less to analyse their feelings, which was where child psychology could help give parents highly important and valuable information.
The experts explained that children’s emotional and social developments were deeply intertwined, and helping them understand their emotions early could have a powerful impact on current and future emotional developments.
As they grow up, children develop values, awareness and social skills necessary to relate to the people around them through what they hear and see.
Thus, parents were advised to be conscious of their utterances to others around them and to children as what they are exposed to is most likely what they will carry with them either for a few months or a lifetime.
They should never be wounded by words and this is why the following has been advised as some of the words that parents should never say to their children.
“You did well but you could do better”
According to Jesse Turner of Parent24, a parenting organisation based in South Africa, any compliment that is followed by “but” should be avoided as it takes away the meaning of the compliment itself.
She said, “Celebrating small victories is a way to motivate children to constantly do well. Using the word ‘but’ will make them feel like they have not really made you proud and didn’t do enough, which will certainly do more harm than good.
“Instead, try saying: ‘You did well and I am proud of you. I bet you are going to keep getting better and better!’”
“Stop crying, you’ll be fine”
Telling children to stop crying makes them feel like they are wrong for showing emotion. As much as it may be frustrating for parents, it doesn’t help to demonise children for doing something that children do naturally, as this can result in the invalidation of their feelings.
“Instead, try saying: ‘What’s the matter? Why are you crying?’ – and don’t say this in a hostile manner. Your child will then be more inclined to communicate their feelings and tell you the problem beforehand in the future,” Turner said.