Most of the time, if not always, we are not aware of what we are teaching our children by labeling them every time they behave in certain ways, and we reiterate these labels on them many times daily by saying them over and over again; And it’s sad, but we leave tremendous psychological damage every time we do it, not knowing that it will negatively affect them later on. Read on to find out 4 things we routinely say to children that harm them psychologically.

Children have fragile brains. If a 10-year-old boy hits his head on concrete, he will suffer more damage than his 35-year-old father would suffer under the same conditions. Most of us instinctively know up to there.

What we often ignore, however, is the fact that children not only have more physically fragile brains, but also mentally. Psychologists compare a child’s brain to the smoothness of play dough.

The harsh words that the father of the 10-year-old boy was able to say to him, cause psychological damage , they can remain in his son for years.

4 things we always say to children that cause them psychological harm

These seemingly harmless words can affect children’s psychological development a lot in their adult lives. What follows is a list of 4 harmful phrases that children hear too often and cause them psychological harm.

1 – “You are very delicate.”

According to psychologists, many children are simply born with a more finely tuned nervous system. As a result, they react quickly and intensely to almost everything. Parents of these children often make the mistake of trying to eliminate this sensitivity.

Over time, this takes the child’s brain chemistry out of control and reduces his ability to identify with others. After all, if they are taught that their emotions are not important, why would they think that other people’s emotions do matter.

Child psychologist Elinor Bashe encourages parents to listen and accept a child’s emotions, even if they don’t seem logical.

2 – “That’s life.”

When your son comes home upset that his crush rejected his request to go to the dance together, it can be tempting to say, “Well, that’s life.” What that phrase suggests is: “Hey – your experience here is not unique, so hold on.”

That might be totally appropriate to say to a 25-year-old under the same circumstances. But a child’s brain is physically incapable of understanding the fact that their experiences are not unique. When told that, they will feel guilty, frustrated, and confused.

Instead, you must validate their experience and encourage resilience.

3 – “Because I said so.”

Little Luis refuses to go to sleep at 8 pm if he doesn’t know why he should always go to sleep at that time. His exasperated mother says, “Do you want to know why? Because I say it.”

That is a terrible answer. It tends to create resentment in children, as it forces them to accept a dogmatic belief. This will inevitably lead to a power struggle as that child learns to find answers for himself that question the authority of his parents.

Instead, as frustrating as it could be, why not answer the question. I mean, your parenting decisions are based on logic – why not share it with your child? It will help them understand that sometimes the authority really knows more and better.

4 – “Shut up.”

Children learn from a very young age that the phrase ‘shut up’ is understood as an insult. And let’s face it – the last person who should be insulting a child is his father. Now, you most likely have a very good reason to tell your child to ‘shut up’.

That reason is likely overwhelming you. Often happens. Your son is not going to stop singing Justin Bieber and it is very frustrating. But instead of telling them to shut up, why not explain that – well, Mom had a long day and she would really appreciate a little silence.

Better yet, give your child the opportunity to make all the noise he wants for ‘X’ hours, he has to be quiet.

Dr. Eric Jackson

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses. He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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