Raising a child is much more difficult than it is written about in young parents’ manuals. You never know how a casual word or deed can affect your child, be engraved on their memory and influence their whole life. Especially with girls who have a fragile self-esteem. It seems that you cannot avoid mistakes in this delicate matter. However, to make fewer of them, psychologists recommend remembering a list of things you should never say to your beloved daughters.
Raising a son or daughter is both challenging and responsible. However, psychologists believe that in a world of established gender stereotypes it is much easier to harm a girl’s future self-esteem. That, unfortunately, can lead to problems in her professional and personal life later on. We underestimate the power of words so often…
To help parents avoid embarrassing mistakes, psychologists have compiled a list of “key” phrases that you must not tell your kids. Even such seemingly little things are capable of programming the mind, which is just being formed, and introduce negative attitudes. So, be aware of what you are saying: what if you really keep saying wrong things?
1. “You’re too young for this”
As soon as they learn to walk, most girls start playing as if they were moms and imagine a fairy tale wedding of their dream. They also know what they would like to do when they grow up. They say it consciously and even introduce arguments. Today it may be a career of a fashion designer, and tomorrow – a police officer. Psychologists are unanimous: don’t discourage the child who is trying to find his or her way, even if these attempts are so early and naïve. If your daughter wants to go in for dancing or take classes of English, or simply help you making pies – try to meet her needs. After all, the phrase “you’re too young” will later transform into a dangerous formula – “you’re not good enough for that.”
What to say instead: “You can achieve whatever you want if you work hard, you will not be afraid of difficulties and learn to overcome them.”
2. “Lower the bar”
Perhaps not everyone can become great artists or exceptional dancers. However, none of them would have achieved success without lots of training, commitment and faith in their own strength. Discover your child’s talents, listen to them and help develop in something they like. However, if your child’s progress does not live up to your expectations, never show frustration, and certainly do not advise “switching to something simpler”. Psychologists agree: as long as an occupation makes your child happy, let them do it. Success will come later.
What to say instead: “Keep trying, be patient and you will succeed”.
3. “It is a man thing”
Whatever was said about gender equality, we still keep separating boys and girls. However, the world outside the family is changing. Jobs, career opportunities and the requirements of employers keep changing, as well. So psychologists recommend that you need to show your daughter, since the early age, what mom’s doing and what dad’s busy with. It will help her to adapt to the big world easier in the future. That includes household chores: she may help not only with dinner in the kitchen, but also with the car in the garage.
What to say instead: “Only you can decide what you like and what you do not.”
4. “You’re wasting your time”
This phrase grows stronger in communication with a teenager. Especially with a girl. After all, you can be absolutely sure: a date with this guy, attempts to play the bass guitar or going in for acting is dead-end and hopeless waste of time. “You’d better study”. Sounds familiar? Psychologists warn that no matter how you try to protect your child from what you think is inefficient, let him or her find their own path. The search is impossible without errors. That’s okay to make mistakes. However, new occupations and people fill a person’s life (especially a young one) with sense. And you never know when and in what situation you will be able to use the newly acquired experience.
What to say instead: “If you have thought this through and you’re sure you need it – go for it.”
5. “Don’t. I’ll do it for you”
It is probably most parents’ favorite phrase. And, according to psychologists, it is one of the most dangerous ones. By doing so you deprive your child of a most important quality – independence. While the boy will compensate for a complete lack of household skills by entrusting his would-be wife with household chores, the girl is likely to develop unhealthy dependence on men, which can border on self-doubt. Sounds like a not very happy life, right?
What to say instead: “Try and do it yourself. If you do not manage, we’ll do it together.”
6. “Girls do not behave like this”
When expectant parents learn that they will have a daughter, they immediately picture a sweet pink room, filled with unicorns and pretty ruffled frocks. However, the reality almost always makes its own adjustments. Your princess may ignore dolls since young age and complement cute little dresses with broken knees. And at the age of 12, she may demand a skate and refuse to wear skirts. And that’s fine. If you daughter is uncomfortable in the traditional framework of femininity, don’t torture her and yourself at the same time. Perhaps this is a way to display her creativity. “Boyish” clothing or hobbies does not mean you are raising a bad person. By the way, tomboys also become feminine beauties and make wonderful moms.
7. “That’s nothing. Don’t stuff up your head with this!”
Psychologists warn: parents often underestimate their children’s problems and feelings. After all, what an adult considers a trifle can be a tragedy for a child. They keep reminding us of the need to talk to your children. Moreover, girls are more likely to trust moms than boys are. However, even a genuinely encouraging phrase “it is a trifle, do not bother!” is likely to turn into “you don’t understand me” in your child’s mind. Be ready for this, don’t get angry or try to convince your stubborn child.
What to say instead: “I understand you. How can I help?”
8. “Take her for a model!”
Let them say that everything is comparative. However, the world would have much fewer unfortunate people, if they stopped comparing themselves with others. And phrases like: “take your girlfriend/sister/celebrity for a model” means pushing a child to an ongoing contest with ghosts. The result will not give anything good, except for total dissatisfaction and the worst conclusion that “everyone around is better than me.” Psychologists are unanimous: do not compare! And do not force your child to take anyone for a model.
What to say instead: it is better to simply remain silent.
9. “Don’t eat so much!”
Many mothers are concerned about the future shape of their daughters even more than their own. Everyone wants their “Princess” to attend a school of models or, at least, dancing. However, phrases like “don’t eat so much”, “girls do not eat this much”, “you don’t want to be fat, do you?” are a direct path to health problems. Anorexia, bulimia, gastritis and ulcers – the psychosomatics of these diseases are often associated with parental attitudes. If you are really worried about your daughter’s look, better encourage her to go in for sports or other physical activity. Preferably, by your own example.
10. “You’re too good for him”
Few things can compare with I-am-the-worst attitude. One of them is “I am the best.” Many parents make this mistake, especially girls’ mothers. Every parent wants their child to be happy in the future and marry a wonderful person. However, constantly criticizing your daughter’s boyfriends or young men (no matter kindergarten or middle age) you keep pushing her luck further and further away from her. Psychologists keep saying: parents ‘ opinion means much more to us than we realize. So a sharp remark about your child’s partner can at times accurately hit the target. And it is very likely to plant a seed of doubt. If you really want your daughter to be happy in her personal life – step back. Give assurance when she needs it, but never impose your opinion. And no matter if your daughter is 15 or 35 years old.