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5 things not to say to your kids


The old saying goes something like this: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Well, ditch it; the aphorism is 100% wrong.
Words do hurt. Words are extensions of thought, emotion, value, opinion, and more. Words put together into sentences can be a life sentence if we’re not careful. Never underestimate the power of a few well chosen, or careless, words.

As All Pro Dads, we have this power at our disposal every day we’re around our children. We talked with teachers, social workers, pastors, and parents, and the following five examples came up often enough that they bear some extra thought.

1. Nothing:
Just as solitary confinement is one of the most difficult punishments to endure, being squeezed out or ignored by a parent can be damaging to your child. Talk with your child. Open dialogue means the relationship is going somewhere.

2. “I don’t believe in you:”
The simple fact of knowing that dad believes in them gives your kids strength, courage, motivation, tenacity, and more. Take that belief away and the damage will be huge.

3. “You’re such a disappointment:”
Our kids can mess up, and they will. But if we want our children to learn from their mistakes, it’s the mess we address and how it can be fixed. We need to separate the child – who is not a failure – from the mess. The label of “failure” is a heavy load to carry, and most kids won’t hold up.

4. “Why can’t you be more like your brother/sister?”
Comparisons are a waste of time; they’re hurtful and they serve no positive purpose. Each child is an individual and their calling is to live into the possibilities that go hand in hand with being your child, and a child of God.

5. Anything negative about your spouse:
Whether divorced, happily married, or struggling, never complain about your spouse to your kids. Never, ever. Every dad we know who went down that road has had a bad experience. Every dad who talks about their spouse with 100% respect ends up being respected more himself.