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As parents, we often underestimate the power our words have over our kids. While we all make mistakes, the words you continue to speak to your child will shape who they become in the future.

No one is perfect, but if you are continuing to say any of the following phrases to your children, it’s important to notice the mistake and correct it. Why? All of the phrases below can be quite damaging to your children. Not only that but as a father, wouldn’t you want to empower your children, instead of holding them back with your words? With that said, here are 7 things a father should never say to their kids.

1 You are such a bad kid.

While your child may be behaving badly, that does not mean they are a bad kid. They are a kid who is making bad choices and behaving badly. Remember to label their behavior, not the child, because when you do, you are engraining in them that they are bad, and this is likely a label they will try to live up to if they hear this too often.

2. You should be more like ________.

The comparison game is a game nobody wins. You may even mean it innocently enough, but remember, not only is this a form of manipulation, it is damaging. While you may just want them to behave better, what they hear is that they are not good enough.

3. Because I said so.

While you may have heard this growing up, it’s not the way to go. If your child is trying to understand why you are telling them to behave a certain way, tell them. They need to understand why, so they can learn. Just saying “Because I said so,” is the worse form of discipline.

4. Your mom is such a __________ (insert anything negative here.)

DO NOT talk badly about your child’s mother around them. Not only does it emotionally harm them, because they love their mom, but you are setting the stage for how they will treat their partner later on.

5. You are so stupid!

No matter how your child is acting, do not call them stupid. The words you use with them now will stay in their minds forever. I assure you, you do not want them to believe they are stupid or worthless.

6. You are okay. Stop crying.

Your intention here may be to soothe them, but this is emotional invalidation pure and simple. Kids are humans with emotions. Sometimes, those emotions can result in crying. When you tell them to stop, instead of acknowledging how they feel, you are destroying their ability to emotionally regulate themselves.

7. If you loved me…

This is emotional manipulation pure and simple. DO NOT guilt trip your kids!

8. What’s wrong with you?

Your child may behave like a crazed baboon, but saying something like this will destroy their sense of self. Remember, kids, misbehave, because they are humans and because they are developing. Yes, this will mean that sometimes, they may not act exactly as you wish. Don’t be so hard on them.