10 Things Not To Say To Your Child

Parenting is no easy job. And the most important — yet difficult part of parenting is learning to talk to your child. Children take everything literally and the way you talk to them goes a long way in building their personality.

As a parent, however, while in the middle of juggling tasks, you might end up reacting to your child, at times even speaking out unintentional words. Unfortunately, a child’s mind is not developed enough to understand that these were unintentional and as a result, it cripples their little minds.

But do not worry. We’ve all been through this.

And from all the experiences and research that we did, one thing is clear — the only way we can avoid this from happening is, by carefully monitoring what we speak to and in front of our children.

Which is easier said than done. But with a little bit of effort and strong will, we can make a better of us and minimize the mishaps.

So here are the 10 things that you should definitely refrain from saying to your child.

1. ‘You are a bad boy/girl’Never feed your child with negative thoughts, it kills his/her self-esteem.

Never feed your child with negative thoughts, it kills his/her self-esteem.

Kids are innocent and believe in goodness. Always tell them to be good, happy, and positive.

Explain to them that some words or actions are bad and might hurt or harm somebody. But don’t tell them that it makes them a bad boy/girl.

In fact, give them a positive comment like “you are the best/cutest/brightest child in the world”. Chances are that they would never want to let you down again.

Teach them what is right and wrong, and to value good things over bad.

2. ‘Why can’t you be like your brother/sister?’

Never compare your children with their brother/sister. It makes them jealous. They will feel left out. It drives the feeling of failure in your kids and develops dislike between siblings.

3. A straight ‘NO’A straight ‘no’ is too harsh for your little prince/princess.

A straight ‘no’ is too harsh for your little prince/princess.

If kids hear ‘no’ all the time, they lose confidence and faith in their parents. If you don’t approve of your child’s action, try giving options.

For example, instead of saying “No shouting,” try “Talk softly, please.”

Instead of “Don’t play in the house,” tell him/her “Why don’t you call your friends to the park and play.”

4. ‘You can’t do this!’

Never shake your child’s self-confidence.

There will be times when children would want to do something that you know they won’t be able to do. Just remember to give them a chance as long as it doesn’t harm them.

When my son thinks he can lift a heavy chair, instead of ‘you can’t do it,’ I tell him, ‘try if you can do it or I will help you,’ or  ‘You might hurt yourself in this attempt. So let me do it for you.’ The best alternative, however, is ‘Let’s do it together!’

Kids learn through trial and error. However they’ll never try anything new, if you’ve made them afraid to try.

5. ‘Don’t talk to me’Never ban the channel of communication between you and your child.

Never ban the channel of communication between you and your child.

Never ask children to stop talking or arguing. Let them question and share their opinion freely. Rather talk to them if you want them to stick to your advice.

Tell them what they are supposed to do and why it’s important.

Convince them with your words, tone, and expressions. Yes, keep talking and listening till they buy your point.

When my child doesn’t buy my point, instead of asking him not to argue, I make a sad face and say ‘Okay, do whatever you like, but I am upset.’

This may start the conversation again and you have a chance to bargain or win the argument. Try arriving on a win-win situation.

12 Mind Boggling Brain Games to Activate Thinking In Kids

6. ‘Girls/Boys don’t do that’

A child is a child, so let him/her be. Don’t create gender-biased rules.

Let kids decide for themselves — whether to be more like a girl or a boy when they grow up. Don’t stop them from exploring things they may be curious about or good at.

When my son was three years old, I bought him a kitchen set and was prepared to see people surprised. Who said boys shouldn’t cook?

7. ‘Leave me alone!’You are everything to your kid. Never demand to be left alone.

You are everything to your kid.

Never say you will leave him/her alone, or demand to be left alone.

Never say things that will hurt children to an extent that they feel they aren’t loved or wanted.

It’s a big no-no even if you feel like pulling out your hair, or just want to be alone.

Talk of kids teaching us patience? Yeah!

8. ‘Let Daddy come and I will tell…’

This common mistake by parents is a double whammy. It instils anxiety and fear in your child — especially of the person who you’re going to tell about whatever happened, and it shows you’re incapable of handling your child or the issue.

Also, don’t make it an everyday threat. There are things your kid may do unintentionally, or irresponsibly. You may want to tell your spouse about it.

In which case, ask your kid, “Do you want to tell dad, or should I explain it to him and give the reason?” Let your child take ownership of his/her mistakes and actions, but do so respectfully.

9. ‘No one wants a kid like you’A ‘problem child’ doesn’t exist by its own. They are a reflection of their surroundings.

A ‘problem child’ doesn’t exist by its own, right? We are the ones to blame if kids become problematic.

They are a reflection of the parents.

They have learnt everything from their parents, family, friends, and surroundings.

So if you think your child isn’t behaving properly, remember, he/she didn’t choose to be in the world that surrounds.

You chose that world!

10. ‘You are too big to do this!’

Don’t deprive your kid of childhood.

Kids will grow up, what’s the hurry? Instead, be like them and see if it makes them more comfortable and happy.

So when my 8-year-old wants to jump on the bed because India won a cricket match, what do I do? I start jumping too, and love to see him happier!

As a parent it’s our responsibility to make them happy, secure, and confident to face the world.

What other things do you think a parent should never say to a child? Do share them with us in the comments below. If you found this article useful, do share this with other parents.

Article originally published on – May 27, 2015, updated on – February 07, 2017

90% of a child’s permanent foundation for brain development occurs in the early years according to Rauch Foundation. An overuse of gadgets can only stunt this growth and cause a negative impact on the child’s overall development.
If your child is spending more time swiping and scrolling, instead of interaction with the real world, you need to act before it’s too late.
Find out if your child is being meaningfully and positively engaged by taking this simple quiz.

Ekta Sharma Bhatnagar is a writer, dreamer, and a neat-freak mom constantly trying to keep pace with her fast-growing, tech-addict kids. A proud mother of two, she is a seasoned media professional and a self-confessed Bollywood buff. Ekta has written extensively on Entertainment, Careers, Lifestyle, Interiors, and Parenting for Indiatimes.com, Education Times, Economic Times, Mumbai Mirror, Times Property, other publications and corporate websites. Follow on Twitter @ektabhatnagar

88 Comments

  • Durlabh Deka

    July 26, 2017 - 10:15 pm

    Hi
    Nice article on parenting. I would like to add here that now a days parents consider their child as property rather than assests. Speaking to child on high tone can crippled their mental growth.

  • Swathe

    April 22, 2017 - 7:43 am

    The article was very useful, thank you.

    I’m my opinion there a few more points that can be added-
    1) Judging kids by their outcomes like competition’s outcomes, school scores etc is not very right. I think, kids should not be told to outstand in the event, they should, rather, be told to enjoy the event , give their best to the event and not worry about the outcome. Afterall , every kid has talents, but all of them cannot do everything. Like once, I and my kid went to a Lego competition, he participated in the 4-8years category, and he was the only 4 year old there , rest of the kids were older. Every parent there was pressurising their kids, shouting at the kids asking them to speed-it-up, all the kids were nervous, but I took it easy, the nervous kids came up with very nice, unbeatable designs, but the parents continued to push them and they were so nervous, the kid who was clearly leading ended up giving a little extra pressure to the final creation and it fell apart, she struggled but couldn’t put it back, every kid made a mistake or two and couldn’t keep their creations for the judge to evaluate, only my son , with a simple creation could reach the final and he won. Pressure, clearly doesn’t work. Every time the outcome won’t be favourable, but the work will be consistent. Teach children​, confidence, don’t pressurise them to excel.

    2) Never gossip in the presence of the kids, it teaches them to be speaking unnecessary things about others, instead speak of good things, useful knowledge sharing is very important. Bring up responsible kids.

    3) Don’t keep discussing serials, filmstar gossip, political gossip in the presence of kids. Instead discuss good deeds, discuss financial plannings, teaches children the value of money and they will grow up as planned and responsible spenders. Discuss climate change-green cover etc, they will learn to respect their environment.

    Be very careful what you speak infront of the kids. Parents can mould their children, the way they want to. Speak responsible, you will grow responsible humans, they will make you proud and they will be proud of their own bringing​ up.

    • Rakesh

      April 24, 2017 - 6:24 pm

      Hi Swathe,

      These are some really nice inputs.

      Thank you for taking your time to share them with us!

  • Kawal

    March 16, 2017 - 3:15 pm

    awsome yar…. most of the parents commit such mistakes…….
    even i do some of them…hehe
    but jokes apart really grt tis shared by u i appreciate
    waiting for such more tips ahead…..

  • Siri

    February 10, 2017 - 12:05 pm

    Very well articulated and very useful information

    • Rakesh

      February 13, 2017 - 5:42 pm

      Thank you so much Siri.

      Glad you found it useful.

  • rachna lakhmani

    February 8, 2017 - 12:16 am

    I love your advice thanks a lot 😊

    • Rakesh

      February 8, 2017 - 4:06 pm

      Thank you so much.
      Glad you liked it.

  • monti

    February 7, 2017 - 10:01 pm

    Thanks for such informative article. I always look for places or guidelines how to be a good mother. Looking forward to such articles and your effort much appreciable.keep up the good work.s

    • Rakesh

      February 8, 2017 - 4:08 pm

      Thank you so much.

      Glad you found it useful.

      We have more articles on parenting and child developement. You can check them out here – flintobox.com/blog/

  • Tejasvini Chatterjee

    February 7, 2017 - 5:07 pm

    Hi ,very nicely written explaining all aspects,i think we can add one more thing in it,that we should always motivate them to do something new always,and tell them to be compassionate towards elders and respect them ,we can inculcate empathy in children by telling them stories in various forms.

    Good to read it

    • Rakesh

      February 7, 2017 - 6:48 pm

      That’s absolutely right.

      Positive environment really matters.

      Thanks for sharing the comment.

  • Uma Sankari

    February 7, 2017 - 1:24 pm

    Parents should respect each other in child’s presence . I have hundreds of mothers n father’s I’ll treated by child just because of his /her spouse’s I’ll treatment

    • Rakesh

      February 7, 2017 - 6:49 pm

      Thanks for sharin ur views Uma.

      It’s important for a child to be brought up in a happy environment.

  • jayasreekar

    January 31, 2017 - 9:07 pm

    HI
    Nice .You can add more now a days parents judge children by their success. One parent told to his child ‘you are a failure and I spent lot of money on you ,give back my money.’ Till intermediate he was a brilliant student after attacked by jaundice after intermediate i.e +2, he was not that focused to studies. Is that student problem not getting good result?

  • swapna

    November 25, 2016 - 11:49 am
    • Rakesh

      November 29, 2016 - 1:13 pm

      Thank you for the kind words and that’s a really nice article.

    • Droy

      January 31, 2017 - 8:39 pm

      This very good instruction for all common person

      • Rakesh

        February 7, 2017 - 6:43 pm

        Thank you so much.

  • Divyen

    November 19, 2016 - 1:10 pm

    Nice article…… If we treat children by this manner than, definitely our new generation will change the nation. I am not married but I will surely give my best effort in future as well…..thanks a lot

  • SPK

    November 8, 2016 - 7:45 am

    Nice

  • G.John

    November 5, 2016 - 11:00 am

    Really appreciate these things. very good advice for parents. Lot of Thanks

  • Vijaya

    October 31, 2016 - 6:09 pm

    One’s love to children, must be unconditional.

  • ManishRD

    October 30, 2016 - 6:20 am

    I’m Still Unmarried…
    But It’s Very Useful To Me, To Be Prepared For The Future…
    Thanks For This Article…

  • V.Chandra Shekhar Rao.

    October 21, 2016 - 6:50 am

    Thankyou For Your Useful Hints

  • Radhika

    February 5, 2016 - 12:12 pm

    This is a good article I have ever read.thanks for sharing such information.I should do it definitely.thank u

    • Sumitra

      February 6, 2016 - 11:08 am

      Hi Radhika, glad you liked the article! Thanks for your feedback.

  • Mayank

    September 9, 2015 - 3:17 pm

    Simple and so meaningful. A eye opener.

    • Sumitra

      September 12, 2015 - 4:08 pm

      Hi Mayank, Thanks for your feedback =)!

  • satya simhadri

    September 9, 2015 - 7:32 am

    It’s wonderful article to share and implement as a parent to brought up our children to be self displined and successful.

  • dr.s.divakaran.

    August 25, 2015 - 4:35 am

    Becoming a parent is a very great responsibility.
    Children will do as you do. They do not follow your pravachan. If you lie before them they will lie. If you take a bribe before them they too will take a bigger bribe .
    If you value only a rich life your child will become the worst corrupt officer of the government.
    FIRST AND FOREMOST ACT IN SUCH A WAY THAT A CHILD IS INSPIRED TO DO GOOD AND PROGRESS IN THE SERVICE OF HIMSELF OR HERSELF AND THE SOCIETY AT LARGE.

  • Asma kazi

    August 24, 2015 - 3:39 pm

    Very nice n useful tips.
    Thanks a lot mam.
    I will follow ur all 10 tips n also totally agree to that.

    Thanks again.

  • Sampa

    August 24, 2015 - 2:48 pm

    Its really very needful and good article, thank u very much to share some of your knowledge with all the parents out there…we sometimes need even guidance to guide our baby or child in this fast moving life.. its very nice and great help to educate parents themselves….

  • Muthu Krishnan

    August 20, 2015 - 6:44 am

    This is a great article. Thank you!

    • Sumitra

      August 20, 2015 - 5:58 pm

      Hi Muthu, thanks for your feedback!

  • HS Mehta

    August 18, 2015 - 5:43 pm

    Very educative. Thanks. May i get it my mail to share with many more.

    • Sumitra

      August 19, 2015 - 11:14 am

      Hi HS Mehta, thanks for your feedback. You can subscribe to our newsletter for an update on blog articles.

  • ALIYA

    August 12, 2015 - 7:29 pm

    Really a great article… very true dat child is reflection of parents… So I wish every parent try and implement this tips into their parenting… Thanks for your helpful tips

    • Sumitra

      August 13, 2015 - 11:07 am

      Hi Aliya, Thank you for your feedback.

  • Kumar Swaminathan Naidu

    August 12, 2015 - 7:10 am

    Thank you madam your suggestion is really very helpful for all the parents in the globe keep on sending such advices if possible in my above email Id please thank you once again.

  • shailesh singh

    August 12, 2015 - 6:35 am

    Thanks madam…. I admired your article….

  • Madevan

    August 12, 2015 - 5:39 am

    Very useful info!!!

  • Siva

    August 11, 2015 - 10:31 pm

    Thanks for this article.. Not only for parents.. Its worth following for handling any kids.

  • Rama

    August 11, 2015 - 10:23 pm

    Super article.
    Liked the pointers you have provided a lot !!

  • C. Rangithsingh

    August 11, 2015 - 9:43 pm

    Thanks for the guidelines. I am sure everybody will find this useful.

  • Ramesh Rathod

    August 11, 2015 - 12:09 pm

    Very nice points regarding parenting and thanks for sharing and i request you to send few more points…..

    • Sumitra

      August 11, 2015 - 2:42 pm

      Hi Ramesh, thanks for your feedback.

  • NG

    August 10, 2015 - 5:45 pm

    Great article on parenting!! Thanks for sharing, and keep writing them – they are of big help for lot of parents

    • Sumitra

      August 13, 2015 - 11:09 am

      Hi, thanks for sharing your feedback.

  • Ekta

    August 10, 2015 - 5:00 pm

    All the best and Happy Parenting!

  • Ekta

    August 10, 2015 - 4:59 pm

    Dear All,
    Thanks for your comments and i am glad you liked the article 🙂

    • Sashikant

      September 6, 2015 - 5:25 am

      Dear Ekta,

      This is an absolute amazing article. Definitely meaningful, helpful & with that gist of awareness of how one is trending with their parenting.

      I loved the way you have put down the points with utmost optimism, keeping a kids’ thought process in mind.
      Hats off to you!!

      Thank you.

      • Sumitra

        September 7, 2015 - 6:22 pm

        Hi Sashikant, glad you liked the article! Thanks for the feedback.

      • Ekta

        February 26, 2016 - 10:58 am

        Thank you all for your generous comments! 🙂

  • Parshuram Gautampurkar

    August 10, 2015 - 1:57 pm

    Hallo Ekta,
    Nice very nice tips. What amazes me ,if you have tried and got positive results out of all these . I suppose , certainly, you must have.
    My grand daughter-Sanika , 4 years old, studying LKG , has suddenly started behaving quite abruptly , stubborn of highest degree , often compels her parents/grand parents to do what she wants. Her addiction to watch TV, almost 3-4 hours a day has put all of us to a lot of inconvenience. She takes very little interest in her studies, The child has gone simply problem some to deal. The changes in her behavior , I suppose , have taken places after her mother gave birth to another child . A feeling has developed in her mind that all are focused on a tiny child and she is being ignored. We try our best to convince her at every stage but sometimes proves in vain . Though she is good at her health , tremendously fast her in every action -a brilliant mind but often she meets with accidents-falling from cradle, skiing etc.
    2-3 tips,that you have suggested but we have yet try ,shall be put to her practically. Hope ,things change to better.
    Good wishes, Thanks
    Parshuram Gautampurkar,Sawai Madhopur,Rajasthan

  • Subhas Pillai

    August 10, 2015 - 11:37 am

    Thankxx. for this usefull article for our kid…

    • Sumitra

      August 13, 2015 - 11:08 am

      Hi Subhas, glad you found the article useful!

  • Gopalakrishnan K

    July 8, 2015 - 11:39 am

    We can also add the following:
    Never say, “You are suffering now for your past mistakes”
    everybody,including parents make mistakes and it is part of human life. The way is to find solutions for our past mistakes and parents should help children solve it.
    “I told you again and again not to do it. Now dont bring it to me.”
    This is the worst sentence you can tell not only to your child but also others. Nobody likes to be told that he is stupid and you are smart.

  • Neelakandan

    July 7, 2015 - 2:50 pm

    HI its very useful tips,thank you

    • Sumitra

      July 7, 2015 - 4:15 pm

      Hi Neelakandan, Glad you found the article useful.

  • devarshi

    July 7, 2015 - 11:11 am

    Dear:
    Madam,
    Thank you so much. it’s such a very helpful article for me. i am so busy and i had very stressful life and that all things are effect on my child. I done big mistake. i do correct my self and behaving like good parent.

    • Sumitra

      July 7, 2015 - 4:16 pm

      Hi Devarshi, thank you for sharing your feedback. Glad the article was of use to you.

  • Sundararajan RS Iyengar

    June 21, 2015 - 1:14 pm

    Well said for all the above. Congratulations.

    I have been through that abuse,trauma and torture all my life and hope that God gives me another chance to be born to caring and loving parents and siblings and finally good teachers.

    I pray to God Almighty to give me another chance so that I can grow up once again.

    • Sumitra

      June 24, 2015 - 10:55 am

      Hi Mr Sundararajan, thank you for your comment and for sharing.

  • Dr.Rajesh Rajagopalan

    June 21, 2015 - 6:32 am

    An excellent pointers to set a whole new phenomena of what is to be taken & left ,it brings a self confidence in parents to follow the whole aspect .

    • Sumitra

      June 24, 2015 - 10:57 am

      Hi Dr Rajesh, Thank you. Glad you liked the article.

  • Dr. Anand Deshmukh

    June 20, 2015 - 9:43 am

    A good guidance for parenting, I am a father of two year old daughter and I think it is a right time for such advice to be adopted.
    Thanks a lot.

    • Sumitra

      June 24, 2015 - 10:58 am

      Hi Dr Anand, Thanks for your comments.

  • Dr. John Abraham

    June 19, 2015 - 11:48 am

    A wonderful article with nice points. I would like to add
    4 points
    1. no comparing with any other kids not only just bro/sis
    2. never make a trophy out of your kid..as a showpiece asking him to perform to show the parents skills that have been taught to make the parents feel proud .let him do it if he wants
    3. never bribe your child saying “if u do this i will get u this or that … “if u stop playing now i will give u a chocolate….his behaviour will be gift based and gift oriented performance and obedience
    4. rules to be sent in the house with discussion and consequences of breaking it is stated clearly with their opinion also considered and all in the house is bound to follow it.. this shows they are also respected and tehy are responsible for their actions and the punishment is not spelt out in a tyrinical manner
    i feel some times a “NO” does go a long way .. reasons can be told age appropriately the words of parents as paramount needs to be conveyed to kids at a young age itself
    i am a dad of 3 kids. 2 boys aged 5 yrs and 4 yrs. one daughter who is a special child aged 7yrs

    • Sumitra

      June 25, 2015 - 4:30 pm

      Hi Dr John, thanks for your valuable input. Glad you liked the article.

    • Dreams

      November 18, 2016 - 10:13 am

      Can someone say what to say to child as the conversations are all about what not to say…

      • Rakesh

        November 29, 2016 - 1:40 pm

        Thank you for your feedback. We will work on an article on the same and share it soon. Stay tuned! 🙂

  • aakbar khan

    June 19, 2015 - 11:39 am

    Thanks for sharing the above Parenting tips… I was thinking it is the most difficult job in world to handle a child of the age 3/4… after reading ur article I’m feeling much comfortable with my child… thanks a lot…

    • Sumitra

      June 25, 2015 - 4:30 pm

      Hi Mr Aakbar, glad you found the article useful!

  • Santosh

    June 19, 2015 - 1:34 am

    Except on point number 8… A girl need not be a boy and a boy need not be a girl.. It is the opposites that attract and let us leave it the way nature intended us to… Apart from that – spot on…

    • Sumitra

      June 25, 2015 - 4:25 pm

      Hi Mr Santosh, thanks for your feedback.

      • SATTSH H N

        October 28, 2016 - 7:28 am

        Really meaning full tips to parents…I am implementing in my life right now !!!!

  • Jayanta K Ghosh

    June 18, 2015 - 1:59 am

    Thank you very much for this wonderful guide.

    • Sumitra

      June 25, 2015 - 4:18 pm

      Hi Mr Jayanta, glad that you found the article useful.

  • Hari Kishan

    June 17, 2015 - 11:34 am

    This is a great article..

    • Sumitra

      June 25, 2015 - 4:05 pm

      Hi Mr Hari Kishan, thanks for your feedback.

  • Chris Hembrom

    June 17, 2015 - 11:25 am

    Nice article on parenting. I agree to all the points except the one on saying a ‘Straight No’. I believe as parents we should learn to say NO to genuine cases of unreasonable/incorrect demands from our children. Providing them options for every demand will develop a false hope in them. In life they will not be getting a basket of options always. Many times it’ll be either YES/NO. If something is wrong they should know that it is wrong. You can provide them with options if there is one available but making it a practice is not right.
    I have tried this on my 3 1/2 year old son and it’s working wonderfully. Infact I have observed that my Son respects my answers and obeys them happily without getting discouraged. Obviously, saying NO to every demands of theirs without analysing the requests first is also not right.

    • Sumitra

      June 25, 2015 - 4:18 pm

      Hi Mr Chris, thanks for sharing your personal view! Like you pointed out, there’s always an exception to a rule.

    • Tushar Gurjar

      August 12, 2015 - 2:23 pm

      Totally agree to what Chris has to say.

  • T.Elakkuvan

    June 16, 2015 - 2:35 pm

    Respected Madam,

    Thanks for sharing the above Parenting tips..with your professional experiences. Will share you more on my experiences and thoughts for the well being of society towards parenting techniques.

    Thanking you,

    Regards..

    T.Elakkuvan

    • Sumitra

      June 25, 2015 - 4:08 pm

      Hi Mr T.Elakkuvan , thanks for your feedback!

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