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What You Shouldn’t Say To Your Children Anymore And What To Say Instead

What You Shouldn’t Say To Your Children Anymore And What To Say Instead

According to psychology expert Kendra Cherry, “Self-concept is the image that we have of ourselves. How exactly does this self-image form and change over time? This image develops in a number of ways, but is particularly influenced by our interactions with important people in our lives.”

Our children listen to us. What we say, and how we say it, plays a huge role in how they view themselves.

As parents, we want to do everything we can to help our children have the best possible life experiences. Since our communication influences how our children view themselves, we should be careful with how we say things. Try these suggestions for creating positive interactions with your children and help them develop a healthy self-image.

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Instead of saying “You’re driving me crazy!” say “Your actions are frustrating me.”

This separates the person from the action. You love the person; however, you dislike the action. You can clearly communicate to your child that his or her actions are frustrating. Actions can be changed without implying that something is wrong with the person.

Instead of saying “I hope you’re proud of yourself!” say “I am sure you are as disappointed as I am.”

Instead of shaming your child, you can let them know you are disappointed and that you are certain that he or she is disappointed as well. Showing empathy when something doesn’t go well goes a lot farther than shaming someone.

Instead of saying “Shut up!” say “I need you to be quiet.”

When we tell our kids to shut up we are setting an example by telling them it’s okay to tell others to shut up. This is hurtful and rude. Instead, ask your child to simply be quiet. One comment is a demand, while the other sounds more like a request. Most people comply better to a request than a demand.

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Instead of saying “Next time do better!” say “I know you realize how important it is to do your best.”

Most likely your child knows when they haven’t done as well as they would have liked. Instead of reprimanding him or her, try to be encouraging. You can validate your child by offering encouragement and believing in them.

Instead of saying “I promise,” say “I will do my best.”

When we make promises to our children, they expect us to follow through on them. When those promises get broken, children tend to remember it even if we had a very good excuse. When we say we will do our best they know we will try very hard to do something, but that not all things are possible.

Instead of saying “Let me do it,” say “Would you like some help?”

It’s important that we let our children try and fail. We empower them by letting them work through things themselves. We are available to help, and it’s better for them to ask than for us to take over.

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Instead of saying “Leave me alone!” say “I need some space.”

Our words can be very cutting. Sometimes we lash out at our children during moments of weakness. Instead of telling our children that they’re a burden, we should tell them that we need something that only we can provide ourselves. This takes the focus off the child and makes them realize that we need something they can respect. They aren’t the problem; we just need to work through something alone.

Instead of saying “Don’t cry,” say “It will be okay.”

It’s okay to cry. It’s a natural reaction we all have at times. Children need to feel validation and comfort when they are upset. We can assure them things will be okay and help them work through it without controlling their actions.

Instead of saying “You are so smart,” say “I love how hard you work” or “I admire your ability to understand.”

When we tell our children how smart they are, we put pressure on them to live up to our expectations. They might avoid things that make them not look smart. We need to foster their work ethic and ability to learn without placing undue expectations on them.

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Instead of saying “Hurry up!” say “Let’s get moving.”

When we tell our kids to hurry up, that’s usually when things start slowing down. When we take the pressure off them and place emphasis on the entire family trying to work toward the same goal, everyone’s motivation improves.

Featured photo credit: Mother and Daughter/Gagilas via imcreator.com

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Tomi Rues

Adjunct college teacher, notebook/journal designer, author

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Published on January 30, 2019

How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

In roughly 60 percent of two-parent households with children under the age of 18, both parents work full time. But who takes time off work when the kids are sick in your house? And if you are a manager, how do you react when a man says he needs time to take his baby to the pediatrician?

The sad truth is, the default in many companies and families is to value the man’s work over the woman’s—even when there is no significant difference in their professional obligations or compensation. This translates into stereotypes in the workplace that women are the primary caregivers, which can negatively impact women’s success on the job and their upward mobility.

According to a Pew Research Center analysis of long-term time-use data (1965–2011), fathers in dual-income couples devote significantly less time than mothers do to child care.[1] Dads are doing more than twice as much housework as they used to (from an average of about four hours per week to about 10 hours), but there is still a significant imbalance.

This is not just an issue between spouses; it’s a workplace culture issue. In many offices, it is still taboo for dads to openly express that they have family obligations that need their attention. In contrast, the assumption that moms will be on the front lines of any family crisis is one that runs deep.

Consider an example from my company. A few years back, one of our team members joined us for an off-site meeting soon after returning from maternity leave. Not even two hours into her trip, her husband called to say that the baby had been crying nonstop. While there was little our colleague could practically do to help with the situation, this call was clearly unsettling, and the result was that her attention was divided for the rest of an important business dinner.

This was her first night away since the baby’s birth, and I know that her spouse had already been on several business trips before this event. Yet, I doubt she called him during his conferences to ask child-care questions. Like so many moms everywhere, she was expected to figure things out on her own.

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The numbers show that this story is far from the exception. In another Pew survey, 47 percent of dual-income parents agreed that the moms take on more of the work when a child gets sick.[2] In addition, 39 percent of working mothers said they had taken a significant amount of time off from work to care for their child compared to just 24 percent of working fathers. Mothers are also more likely than fathers (27 percent to 10 percent) to say they had quit their job at some point for family reasons.

Before any amazing stay-at-home-dads post an angry rebuttal comment, I want to be very clear that I am not judging how families choose to divide and conquer their personal and professional responsibilities; that’s 100 percent their prerogative. Rather, I am taking aim at the culture of inequity that persists even when spouses have similar or identical professional responsibilities. This is an important issue for all of us because we are leaving untapped business and human potential on the table.

What’s more, I think my fellow men can do a lot about this. For those out there who still privately think that being a good dad just means helping out mom, it’s time to man up. Stop expecting working partners—who have similar professional responsibilities—to bear the majority of the child-care responsibilities as well.

Consider these ways to support your working spouse:

1. Have higher expectations for yourself as a father; you are a parent, not a babysitter.

Know who your pediatrician is and how to reach him or her. Have a back-up plan for transportation and emergency coverage.

Don’t simply expect your partner to manage all these invisible tasks on her own. Parenting takes effort and preparation for the unexpected.

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As in other areas of life, the way to build confidence is to learn by doing. Moms aren’t born knowing how to do this stuff any more than dads are.

2. Treat your partner the way you’d want to be treated.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard a man on a business trip say to his wife on a call something to the effect of, “I am in the middle of a meeting. What do you want me to do about it?”

However, when the tables are turned, men often make that same call at the first sign of trouble.

Distractions like this make it difficult to focus and engage with work, which perpetuates the stereotype that working moms aren’t sufficiently committed.

When you’re in charge of the kids, do what she would do: Figure it out.

3. When you need to take care of your kids, don’t make an excuse that revolves around your partner’s availability.

This implies that the children are her first priority and your second.

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I admit I have been guilty in the past of telling clients, “I have the kids today because my wife had something she could not move.” What I should have said was, “I’m taking care of my kids today.”

Why is it so hard for men to admit they have personal responsibilities? Remember that you are setting an example for your sons and daughters, and do the right thing.

4. As a manager, be supportive of both your male and female colleagues when unexpected situations arise at home.

No one likes or wants disruptions, but life happens, and everyone will face a day when the troubling phone call comes from his sitter, her school nurse, or even elderly parents.

Accommodating personal needs is not a sign of weakness as a leader. Employees will be more likely to do great work if they know that you care about their personal obligations and family—and show them that you care about your own.

5. Don’t keep score or track time.

At home, it’s juvenile to get into debates about who last changed a diaper or did the dishes; everyone needs to contribute, but the big picture is what matters. Is everyone healthy and getting enough sleep? Are you enjoying each other’s company?

In business, too, avoid the trap of punching a clock. The focus should be on outcomes and performance rather than effort and inputs. That’s the way to maintain momentum toward overall goals.

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The Bottom Line

To be clear, I recognize that a great many working dads are doing a terrific job both on the home front and in their professional lives. My concern is that these standouts often aren’t visible to their colleagues; they intentionally or inadvertently let their work as parents fly under the radar. Dads need to be open and honest about family responsibilities to change perceptions in the workplace.

The question “How do you balance it all?” should not be something that’s just asked of women. Frankly, no one can answer that question. Juggling a career and parental responsibilities is tough. At times, really tough.

But it’s something that more parents should be doing together, as a team. This can be a real bonus for the couple relationship as well, because nothing gets in the way of good partnership faster than feelings of inequity.

On the plus side, I can tell you that parenting skills really do get better with practice—and that’s great for people of both sexes. I think our cultural expectations that women are the “nurturers” and men are the “providers” needs to evolve. Expanding these definitions will open the doors to richer contributions from everyone, because women can and should be both—and so should men.

Featured photo credit: NeONBRAND via unsplash.com

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