5 Things You Should Never Say to Your Children

Building Blocks Therapy Centre’s

5 Things You Should Never Say to Your Children

By Nada El Araby

trapped child

  1. When your child misbehaves, the worst thing you can do is to say: “you are a bad boy/girl.”


Why not: It is important to label the child’s behaviour as bad, and not the child themselves. The child is not bad, but what the have done is bad.

Amending your speech: “Your behaviour was bad”

Additions: Acknowledge the next positive behaviour your child does, and make sure to highlight that.


  1. When your child gets hurt, the worst thing you can do is to say: “you are okay, nothing’s wrong, you are okay.”


Why not: Your child is not okay at the moment. It is vital to acknowledge that.

Amending your speech: “Oh no, what happened. Oh look, that looks like it hurts. It will be hurt for a bit then it will be okay.” Or “Mummy/Daddy will help you. We are here, don’t be scared.”

Additions: Check in with your child. It is important to give them attention when they are really hurt. Of course, sometimes the child is not very hurt, but they may exaggerate and cry excessively when someone is around. It is important to recognise when your child is really hurt and when your child is crying to gain your attention. However, it is still important to acknowledge they are not okay.


  1. When your child is finding learning hard, “If you don’t get high grades on your exams, you will be punished.”


Why not: You are conditioning your child to a negative consequence based on their ability to perform in an exam. Your child may not be able to get the highest grades, and it is important to understand that your child’s C grade may be the best they can do.

Amending your speech: “I will be very proud of you if you try your best on your exam.”

Additions: Whatever grade your child gets, praise them on trying. Your child may not be very happy if they did not perform well, because most children want to get good grades. Acknowledge that your child may be disappointed, and encourage them rather than show them you are disappointed.


  1. In some cultures, it is frowned upon for boys to cry. It may also be frowned upon for people to show their feelings. If your child cries, it is vital to avoid saying: “don’t cry”, “crying is for babies”, or “crying is for girls.”


Why not: It is important to allow your children to feel safe and comfortable to express their feelings. Crying is for everyone, and everyone should have the right to cry. Crying helps the child or even the adult express their emotions rather than bottle them up.

Amending your speech: “I can see you are crying. It is okay to cry. We can talk about it if you want.” Or “I am here for you, I can see you are upset.”

Additions: It is essential to allow your child to understand that crying helps them feel better in the long run. Crying is not for babies or for girls, and it is also important to let them know that even mummy and daddy may cry sometimes. It is important to let them know that we cry when we are sad, and even sometimes when we get scared or hurt.


5.“Because I said so” is not always the best explanation to give to your child, because it is not an explanation.


Why not: Even though you might not always have time to explain to your children, it is important to give them a basic valid explanation.

Amending your speech: “I know you want this toy, you can get it another time instead of today.”

Additions: Your child may say something back, and it is important to work with that or to restate what you have just said. Your child will function better when they understand what is happening or why they are asked to do or not to do something.