Oftentimes, we tease our kids to bond with them and for fun. And while your intentions aren’t to hurt your daughter, sometimes even the most well-intentioned teasing can backfire.

Words have power, and children, especially little girls can be quite literal. During the formative years, they are soaking up every little thing you say to them, even when you don’t realize it. And though you may view it as teasing, they may see it as criticism. Some forms of criticism to young girls can be quite damaging.

Here are 8 types of teasing your daughter wishes you would stop.

1. About her appearance.

Little girls are self-conscious, and they take your words at face value. They are already anxious about the way they look, and when you tease them about their looks, deep down they may wonder if your jokes are rooted in truth.

2. About her friends.

If she brings around unsavory friends or that worries you, acknowledge that on a serious note, not through passive-aggressive teasing. Teasing will only make her defensive and far less likely to take you seriously.

3. About her academics.

Disappointing grades can cause high emotions for parents and children, and while light teasing by reminding them to do their homework is okay, making fun of their grades is another. Be wary about teasing your daughter about her grades.

4. About introversion.

When you are an extroverted parent raising an introverted child, their behavior may seem weird to you. However, teasing them about their social awkwardness is only going to make them retreat further into their shell.

5. About weight.

Be very careful not to make remarks about your daughter’s weight. Even if you mean it because you are worried about her health, try to approach it in a way that isn’t focused on her image. If you don’t, you may teach her to have an unhealthy body image and relationship with food.

6. About her fears.

Everyone has fears and phobias. Making fun of or teasing your daughter about what she is afraid of will only make the fear that much worse because regardless of what you think, her fears are real to her. Try consoling her and empathizing with her instead.

7. About her style.

Young girls go through several different styles to find their own, and while some of their phases may be a bit different than what you would expect, don’t tease her. Allow her to experiment with her style and encourage her to try new styles. She likely already feels self-conscious about her clothes and her style, and picking on her about it will do far more harm than good.

8. About her emotions.

She needs her feelings and emotions to be validated not made fun of. She might seem like she is overreacting or emotional when in reality, she is under a lot of pressure and simply is trying her best to maintain her composure. Give her some grace.

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