Being a parent is never easy. No matter how hard you try to be the ideal parent, there will surely be days when you feel like you're doing an awful job. It's not only physically challenging, but emotionally exhausting as well.
As a parent, there will be times when you'll be tempted to utter unpleasant words due to annoyance, if you don't watch yourself. Maybe you've heard someone call their child “dumb” (tanga) or "maarte" when they are finicky eaters or choosy about the clothes to wear. Careless words like these are so powerful in that they prompt a child to doubt his abilities and question himself.
As explained by child psychiatrist Dr. Charles Sophy, “It’s important to remember that children are never too young to understand. It’s not just the word – it’s the tone in your voice and your facial expression which give meaning to the words. It’s also your body language – the whole picture – that sends a negative message."
Sometimes, without meaning to, a seemingly harmless statement can have a negative impact. Labels or comparisons such as “My eldest child is the smartest among them” may cause insecurity to his siblings, even if that was not the intention.
Avoiding these kinds of words and phrases will do your child well. And bear in mind that choosing your words well and not reprimanding your child does not mean excusing his misbehavior. There are a lot of positive ways and reinforcements that you can use while conversing with them. Always remember to compose yourself first and be mindful of what you say and how you say them.