You don’t mean any harm when you say certain things to your child. In fact, the following statements are meant to help, calm and encourage. But they could have a negative impact. Here are seven phrases you might not want to say to your kids

1. “Never take a ride from a stranger.”

The majority of child abductions occur by someone the child knows. Talk to your child about never taking a ride from anyone, strange or familiar. Establish a code word that only you and your child know and instruct her to never go with someone unless that person knows the code — and the only way the person could have gotten it was from you.

2. “Practice makes perfect.”  

If your child devotes more time to a task, he’ll definitely improve. But being perfect implies being the best, which doesn’t always happen. And he’ll make mistakes along the way, which are part of the process. Instead, encourage your child to work hard, because he’ll get better at the skill and that’s something to be proud of!

3. “If a kid is mean to you, that means he/she likes you.”

Johnny pulls your daughter’s pigtails in class. Susan constantly calls your son mean names at recess. You don’t need to hastily report a bullying incident. But using this phrase to justify the act implies it’s okay to be mistreated by someone who likes you. And what kind of message is that?

4. “Great job!”

Use encouragements like this one sparingly and when it’s well deserved. When your child hears it after completing every task (no matter how simple) he soon starts expecting it. Additionally, praise from you starts becoming his only reason for doing anything. How will he learn to do things well just for the sake of doing them? Instead, praise how hard he worked on the task.

5. “I hate the way my _____ looks.”

Your kids are listening and watching when you comment about body image. After enough comments, they get the message that body image is important and start examining themselves. Encourage a healthy lifestyle, minus the negativity.

6. “Let me help.”

If your child is struggling to complete a block tower or finish a craft, let them struggle. When someone swoops in to help, they'll begin expecting assistance and miss out on the important part — trying!

7. “You can be anything you want to be when you grow up.”

As much as we want to believe our kids are capable of pursuing any career path, they aren’t. Just ask the person whose interest in becoming a doctor never changed until their multiple attempts to pass intro-level science classes caused them to. Let your child know that more options are available to those who work hard. But never let them assume a career choice is guaranteed.

What else should you never say to your child? Let us know in the comments!

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