Things you say that are scarring your child for life

They slip from the lips so easily, but cause a lifetime of pain and suffering.

WHAT are the worst things you can say to child?

According to a new post on the question-and-answer website Quora, it’s pretty much everything your parents once said to you, including:

Stop crying or I’ll REALLY give you something to cry about;

Stop acting like a baby; and

How could you, after all I’ve done for you?

The question was posed on a section of the website that deals with mental health problems, with answers flooding in from teachers, psychologists and adults still scarred by things their parents said to them.

Besides not saying things that might damage a child forever, many readers agreed that “the most psychologically damaging thing you can say to a child is a lie that they find out later was not true”.

Others argued that “the number one most psychologically damaging thing you can say to a child is ‘I don’t love you’ or ‘you were a mistake, I wish I had never had you’”.

Phrases that came up repeatedly included:

  • You make me so angry.
  • Are you stupid?
  • I don’t like you right now.
  • I’m disappointed in you.
  • You asked for it.

Parent educator Karl Ngnatcha argues that the most damaging thing you could say to a child is actually nothing.

“By nothing, I mean not talking, communicating or interacting with your child at all,” he says. “At as young as few months, children depend on daily interaction … the less interaction a baby gets with the mother, the more damaged he becomes.

“As he/she grows up, they keep searching for the love they are not getting. Eventually, they give up trying to be loved and go in a path of destruction.”

Psychiatrist and twin parent Satyen Sharma says that it’s important not to threaten children, by saying: “If you do that, it will kill me …”

“The next worst thing parents can do is to label a child,” he says. “A child believes the parent and derives his sense of self from his parent. So if you are calling him ‘lazy’ or ‘stupid’, there are only two possible outcomes: he doesn’t believe you and renders your words useless; or worse, he believes you.”

What did your parents say to you? What do you find yourself saying to your children? You can join the conversation here.

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