Simple commonly-said phrases that parents utter to kids, such as 'you naughty girl', could do them more harm than good in the future, revealed a new study. The researchers suggested that these sayings may be bad for the children's self-esteem as it teaches them to label themselves.
Gregg Chapman, psychologist and clinical manager at Strategic Philosophy, said, "Instead of 'You naughty boy/girl!', parents should address the underlying situation or problem. Parents should not use 'How many times have I told you?', instead they should engage with their children and ask them how they can get their child to effectively understand the message they are trying to convey. The child is not behaving with a sense of obligation to the parent and so 'How could you do this to me? After all I do for you!' is not helpful. Instead, parents should help their child to understand the effect of their actions."
‘Some commonly-used phrases by parents, such as 'You naughty boy/girl!' to describe a child's behavior, may be bad for the children's self-esteem as it teaches them to label themselves later on in life.’
Chapman further added, "Making statements like 'You wait until you're home' can lead to the child feeling scared and insecure within the relationship, while using statements like 'Don't be stupid' to describe a child's behavior may lead to them labeling themselves later on in life."
Dympna Kennedy, founder of parenting organization Creating Balance, said, "The statement 'You make mummy very happy when you eat all your dinner' should be avoided as it is important that children do not think they need to do external things for praise - something which can lead to them becoming people-pleasers later on in life."