5 Phrases You Should Never Say to Your Kids, According to a Psychotherapist

Want to raise mentally strong kids? Here’s where you can start.
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profile picture of Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
June 25, 2019
dad helps young daughter on the monkey bars at the playground
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Right from the get-go, parents are taught all of the ways to raise physically healthy kids. You know all about the super foods to incorporate into your kid’s diet and why exercise through play is so important for youngsters, but there’s more to a kid’s wellbeing than what meets the eye. Raising kids to be mentally healthy is just as important as physical health. Psychotherapist Amy Morin took to Instagram recently to share an encounter she had with a patient and his father, and urge parents about the importance of raising kids to be mentally strong.

Tips for promoting positive mental health:

Image: Kitkat Pecson

“A father accompanied his 8-year-old son into my therapy office and said, ‘I’m so proud of him for being so strong. He hasn’t cried once since his grandmother died,"’ Morin recounts. “It was a shining example of how mental strength gets misconstrued and turned into a toxic message for kids.⁣ Mental strength involves knowing how to express them in healthy ways, such as crying when you’re sad.⁣”

It’s important for kids (and adults too!) to know how to express themselves in a healthy way. Teaching youngsters to repress their anger, sadness, anxiety or any other emotion their grappling with, does far more damage than good. Morin continues her post by sharing five common phrases parents should avoid saying at home.

5 Things You Should Stop Saying to Your Kids

  1. It’s no big deal. You may be trying to brush off your kiddo’s worries, but in reality it minimizes their emotions. Instead, try teaching your child to cope with whatever is bothering them
  2. Stop crying. Most adults feel uncomfortable when others see them crying, and that’s probably because they were taught at a young age that crying is a sign of weakness. On the contrary, crying is a healthy way to express emotions. If your kid is throwing a fit while in public, you should definitely address it, but Morin stresses the importance of correcting the behavior and execution, not the emotion
  3. You’re the best kid in the entire world. Your kid is special, there’s no denying it, but when you throw praise, try focussing on the effort applied as opposed to the achievement
  4. Everything will be okay. It’s natural to want to reassure your child and calm their fears, but you can’t protect them from everything. “Instead of telling them that nothing bad will happen, give them the coping skills and tools they need to handle life’s inevitable challenges,” Morin advises
  5. Calm down. Spoiler alert: No one has ever calmed down after being told to calm down. Teach kids how to “de-escalate” themselves, and remind them of those skills when they’re having the occasional fit.
    ⁣ ⁣”Every day you have opportunities to either help kids create habits that build mental muscle or habits that will drain them of mental strength,” Morin says. “If you catch yourself using these types of phrases, shift your parenting strategies.”

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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