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Whether we wish to admit it or not, our words have power, especially the words we choose to use with our children. While the following might not seem like a big deal to you-please bear in mind that children are still growing, developing, and learning.

While most parents have the best intentions, none of us are perfect. Many of the things we say to our kids were learned through our own experiences with our parents. Unfortunately, this is how things (even the worst things) continue to get passed down through generations. Thankfully, it can stop with you. Knowledge is power. Below, I will cover 9 things a father should never say to his kids.

1. Here, just let me do it.

When your child is learning to do things on their own, the last thing you want to do is step in and take over, unless they are in danger. The thing is- they are learning. When you step in and do it for them, you rob them of an opportunity to learn and grow.

2. Why aren’t you more like ________?

The comparison game is quite cruel. While you might not mean anything by it- what they hear is “You are not good enough.” Remember, kids, internalize what they hear. Empower them instead of tearing them down.

3. Anything bad about their mother.

No matter how upset you get at their mom, keep it to yourself. Do not tear down your partner in front of your kids. They are learning cues for respect from you, so keep that in mind.

4. You are such a bad kid!

Just because your child is acting bad does not mean they are bad. However, when you say this out of anger, you are labeling them as a ‘bad’ kid. Not only does this destroy their self-esteem, but it also sticks them with a label that might just become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

5. Stop being so shy!

If your child is shy, telling them not to be is not going to help. Instead, help them (in an indirect way) to face their fears, if their shyness is rooted in fear. Otherwise, bear in mind that kids aren’t all the same. Some people are more introverted, and there is nothing wrong with that.

6. You’ve started putting on some weight, haven’t you?

Even if you say this due to concerns about their health-when you put it like this, you are sending the wrong message. Instead of pointing out weight gain, try to teach them to eat healthier and include more activity.

7. We’ll never afford that.

Do not put financial burdens on your kids. Saying we ‘will never’ afford that is a very fixed mindset thing to say anyways. Instead, say, “That’s a big purchase. Why don’t we put up some money for that later down the line?”

8. I’ll never forgive you.

No matter what your child does-you will forgive them. You might be mad at the moment and say this, but be wary of doing so. It’s okay to get onto them for bad behaviors, just make sure that you don’t give them a life sentence for a mistake or bad choice.

9. It’s not that bad! Stop crying!

Emotional invalidation is a very real thing that leaves emotional scars that can last a lifetime. Everyone has emotions, and even if your child’s seems trivial-they aren’t. They are valid for your child. Instead of shaming them for their emotions, help them work through them.