What Parents Should Never Say In-front of Your Children?
Created by Rashmi Balagopal Updated on Nov 26, 2019
One evening, as I was preparing dinner, I heard my almost 3-year-old son who was then playing with his toys say “Stupid! Shut up!” I couldn’t quite believe what I just heard. I asked him what he just said and he promptly replied: “Nikhil say stupid”. I sat him down and told him “please don’t say that Nikhil, it’s not right”. Needless to say that night I was preoccupied, trying to wonder where he picked the word from. The very next day I was on the phone with one of my friends and I caught myself saying “Oh my god…shut up!!! That is so stupid”. Well, well, guess where my son picked that up from! This incident made me wonder what else is my child observing and learning from me.
Considering above, sometimes you will be in dilemma "What parents should never say? What should you not say to your child?" There are many factors in and out of our control that affect and have an influence on a child. One of the main factors that may have influences on a child the environment that we provide for our child. A child’s environment may be classified into Family (his home, parents, grandparents, etc) and community (like schools and other people the child has interactions with).
Things That Parent Should Not Say in Front of Your Child
As a parent, we could control the “family environment” of the child. We are so focused on raising our children well that we are always at our best behavior while we directly interact with them, but sometimes we tend to forget that children observe us even when we are not directly talking to them. Our actions, facial expressions, even our body language makes an impact on the little ones. Some of the things we may need to keep in mind always when those keen ears and eyes in our audience are:
1. Heated Arguments: It’s normal for arguments to crop up between adults. An occasional argument, a disagreement in opinions or thought, which then is settled amicably, maybe is okay. After the animated discussion you can always explain to the child that mom and dad are still friends, they just had a disagreement and it is natural to disagree once in a while (you could even give an example by saying, “ it’s the same as when mum asks you to pack up your toys and you disagree with mum”). Name-calling and violent gestures may need to be avoided. Animated exchanges every day between parents or adults in the house may have a negative effect on a child’s psyche. [Read - 7 Tips for Parents to Control Angry Outbursts]
It is essential that your child see that you have settled your differences. The closure is essential.
2. What’s On The T.V: Always be aware of what you are watching on the television or computer. Since we don’t have ratings on any shows or disclaimers (other than the non-smoking ones),it is essential that we monitor what they watch. It is a proven fact that not all cartoons are appropriate for children. Some of them may have violent and offensive language, which could lead to, a negative impact on the child.
You may want to keep a tab of what others in the household (grandparents, maids) watch while children are just hanging around. It is only natural that they might just want to watch their favorite serial or a movie, but reminding them of those observant pair of eyes may just work in your child’s favor. The other day I saw that my house help had switched on a music channel and “chikni chameli” was on and my son was so engrossed watching that. I admit it; he loves all the so-called item numbers (although I allow only hearing them and not watching them), but sometimes we have to make sure and let the others in the household know of the impact that these minuscule things may have on the child.
Lastly, Taking your child along for a movie that is not meant for children may have a negative impact on them; one could always catch the movie on the DVD at home on a later day.
3. Leading By Example: Small acts of kindness on our part will go a long way in inculcating empathy in our children. For example, helping someone pick up fallen goods, holding the door for the person behind you, standing in line and waiting for your turn, helping an old lady get on to the escalator, not staring at a physically handicapped or mentally challenged person may inspire your child towards a just way of life. [Read - 5 Ways to Teach Your Child by Example]
4. Maintain Consistency in Disciplining: Imagine a situation where you are busy in the kitchen or trying to finish up a presentation and your child is nagging you for something that you know he/she is not supposed to get at that time. They persist with whining, crying and it becomes a tantrum. How many of us; in that situation would just give in to that tantrum by offering him/her what she wants? I, for one, am guilty. Sometimes just to get my son to stop whining and let me off the hook, I give in to his tantrums. I justify it to myself by saying, “I can’t deal with it right now, I have no patience to handle it”. What I have realized is that giving in to his tantrums just to get them off my back when it suits me and then trying to discipline him, gives him a reason to throw more tantrums. Being consistent about the kind of behavior that will be acceptable may make one's own life much simpler.
5. Offensive Language: We all know it’s a big no-no. No matter how much one may want to get into a verbal altercation with a negligent driver, one must always avoid foul language in front of the child.
6. Watch What You Say: You might want to be cautious while talking/commenting about others behind their backs. The little parrot in your house can get the word out to them next time they meet.
7. Be A Role Model: How you treat others around you has a direct impact on how your child behaves with others. Your tone, your gestures, everything will be mimicked. The tone you use to address your house's help will be the tone your child will use to address him/her. In order to teach them our children to be polite, one may have to have to be polite as well. We could try to practice what we teach them, for example; when we find some time for ourselves, we could head outdoors more often rather than play video games or sit down with our laptops or tablets. We could pick up a book and read rather than watch TV. These small actions that we practice in front of them may lead to having more impact than verbally directing them (Like they say actions speak louder than words). [Check - How to Be A Good Role Model for Your Child?]
We invest our time, energy and love to see that our children maintain their innocence and are not exposed to negative influences and experiences. We read to them, we play with them; we talk to them and focus on spending quality time with children. Before we choose their schools/daycares we make sure we research thoroughly, get other parent’s thoughts, we talk to the principal and teachers in the schools. We always want to make sure that they are in a safe and secure environment because we know that children spend an average of a quarter of their day and some of them more than half their days in schools and daycares. Let’s try to extend that effort a little bit more into our day-to-day lives and be role models for our children. Let’s all walk the walk and then talk the talk. Let’s be good examples for our children and in the process improve ourselves too.
| May 07, 2013
Liked it through and through... true to the hilt..... something that we indulge ourselves in unwittingly. Reinforces the belief that children are the reflection of their parents..... What we do today has a direct impact on what children do in their lives in future. This article, thus, reminds us to be cautious with each step we take, with each word we speak.
| May 07, 2013
"After the animated discussion you can always explain to the child that mom and dad are still friends, they just had a disagreement and it is natural to disagree once in a while" These lines are really thoughtful and easy to explain to a 3 yr old am goin to explain that to my son also...
| May 08, 2013
This oh shit word is something I realized too, We do take a lt of care with what we don't want them to say and do ,however there is a lot our kids learn when they move into the big world outside home. Most important is to teach them humility, being caring to young and old, respect, showing affection,honest,and God Fearing and his they pick up from us. We need to live by example show respect to each other , differences sorted out before we go to bed showing affection toward each other (this make our kids warm and loving people) we are the best role models just be good humans and give them good memories to live by
| May 21, 2013
This is so important to realize. Today morning I took my son to the park. While playing with a group of kids, I observed that one girl was often using the word "Yaar" and "teri to". I reminded her that's these are not nice words. She stared and moved on!!! Let's see what happens tomorrow :)