9 disallowed sentences and their alternatives for a flexible upbringing

We parents cannot protect our children from everything, but we can help them deal with problems and setbacks on their own. This ability is called flexibility. In early childhood, we lay the foundations for our children’s emotional strength. So what we tell them and how it makes a big difference. 9 forbidden sentences we parents say often – and very simple alternatives that strengthen the child’s resilience.

You never stop learning – and that goes for us parents too. These are the nine phrases we’ve probably all said or heard many times that can (unintentionally) erode our children’s resilience and rob their self-confidence. Even if it’s well intended and feels completely normal.

#1 “All the best!”

Oh yeah, who among us hasn’t said that sentence before when our little one fell and ran away without a scratch? Or fell into our arms crying after the vaccination? Sure, we often say the sentence to calm down and want to tell our child that nothing happened. However, in doing so, we begin with our perspective, which we unwittingly impose on our offspring. Because he was still very afraid, he was in pain or fear. With the sentence “All is well!” We prevent ourselves from listening to our child and allowing his feelings. And so in the end, it’s not much better than “Put yourself together!”.

A better alternative: “Is everything OK?”

It is best to ask the question calmly, without fear (sometimes it is easier said than done!). If we use our body language to convey that there is no danger, the reassuring message will also reach our child without us imposing our viewpoint on him. Instead, through an open question, we address our child and show him that we accept his feelings – and want to hear about them.

#2 “Stop! Not like that!”

Sometimes the literal scissors mentioned above are what you carry “wrong”, pasta that falls off the plate or pants that are put the wrong way: How many times a day do we want to say: “Don’t work that way!” or “This is the wrong way!” ” It’s not that bad if everything isn’t perfect. Is the child wearing clothes? Did you like pasta? Is the image cropped? When children do something themselves, they feel like they did something themselves. This makes you happy and satisfied. And when an action has consequences, this is a double lesson: pasta is wiped on the floor, and it is difficult to walk in crooked shoes.

Better alternative: “Can I tell you a trick?”

If you deal with the consequences together, now is the time to show your kids how better next time could be: “If the plate sticks straight, a little spaghetti will fall off.” or “If you hold the scissors with your thumb up, you have more control when cutting.”

secret knowledge

Nobody likes to know everything, and this also applies to parents. But everyone likes to start with the “secret” facts! I love using this with my kids and acting very mysteriously (even with somewhat saucy advice). With a copywriter like “I have great insider advice, would you like to know?” Hardly any child can resist.

#3 “Let me do this.”

You’re late and your son can’t zip his jacket. Argh! Or your child is incredibly frustrated that the star-shaped stone does not fit into the round hole of the plug-in toy. Of course, it is right and proper to give our children help when they need it or ask for it. But often we tend to simply step in without being asked to make things easier for them in the short term so that they have to master themselves in the long term.

A better alternative: “Tell me if you need my help.”

With this sentence we bring our children back in control of the situation and thus enhance their self-confidence. Because we convey our faith in them. If they ask for our help, it is best to give it as little as possible. So instead of wearing both shoes at once, we can first provide verbal support and stay close by: “First open the top velcro.” If they need more help, we can go one step further: “I’ll make the right shoe, you left!”

The more such situations we create, the more self-confidence and frustration tolerance our children can build. But: This does not mean that there are no moments when we as parents simply have to step in. A coatroom early in a daycare might not be a good opportunity for such a learning moment, but on the weekends when there’s time, it is.

#4 “I give up!”

Family life sometimes plucking hair! And who among us has not grumbled “I give up” in a difficult situation. Of course, showing honesty and emotions is also a part of it for us parents and not a bad thing. But we quickly forget that our offspring imitate everything from us. If we want to raise resilient children, we have to set an example as best we can.

Better Alternative: “It was hard for me, but I made it!”

By creating situations in which they see us as trying new things or not letting problems frustrate us, our children can learn resilience from us. Even if we don’t feel like it, we as true superhero parents overcome difficulties every day. Just remind yourself to share these experiences (not scary!) with your kids more often. “I wanted to call my girlfriend earlier and she wasn’t there. It saddened me, but I’ll try again later.” Perhaps you master a difficult puzzle together, take a course or try a new recipe. So your kids can see that not everything is always easy for parents either – and that’s totally normal.

#5 “It’s easy, you can do it!”

It is good and right to verbally support and encourage our children. But “You can certainly do that!” Its various forms actually increase unnecessary stress. Maybe our kid wants to make it on his own anyway? Or just enjoy doing it yourself? We take it away from it if we add performance pressure. At the same time, it is frustrating to dismiss something that seems difficult to our children as easy, that they may not even want to try.

Better Alternative: “I know it’s hard, but I think you can do it!”

It doesn’t look any different, but we show our kids that we understand how difficult something is. At the same time, we convey to him that we believe in him.

#6 “Calm down!”

No matter how many tantrums we’ve had with our kids, it’s never easy to see them unhappy. And of course we want to support them to be able to calm themselves when they are sad, angry or anxious. But good intentions “Calm down!” It is not the best solution, because we mean that they are overreacting or their feelings are unjustified. This makes you insecure and can impair your emotional intelligence.

A better alternative: “Let’s take a deep breath together.”

Every child finds different techniques useful in dealing with their feelings. We can help by staying calm, being there for our children, and welcoming their feelings. When the big feelings are out or in situations where they are tense or tense, introducing calming techniques can help. This can be deep breathing, a hug, cuddling with your favorite teddy bear or a walk. It is often important for our children that we do this together. This assures them that their feelings are normal, they will go away, and most importantly, they can’t scare us.

#7 “Don’t fall down!”

How often do we find ourselves in situations that make our pulse race? Whether our kids are climbing unfamiliar heights on a climbing frame or racing across a mountain on a (paper) bike: First, it’s a good idea to assess the real danger. As parents, we all have different levels of tolerance for what we allow our children to experience. But most of the time, it’s better to stand aside or stand unnoticed than to yell “Watch out!” or “Be careful” or “Don’t fall!” Our fear can quickly spread to our children and prevent them from trying new things. Sure, we should fully intervene in situations of real danger, but our children also have to experiment to a certain extent in order to learn.

Better alternative, um enhance flexibility:
“Wait on the turn!”

Sometimes there is no other way, our child is out of reach and we are afraid that something is going to happen. Help and concrete advice help our children master the situation themselves and know where they should be careful. “Grab the branch below you!” Or “Let the child pass first” is much more useful than the more vague “be careful.”

Jennifer Cooper

Fostering Resilience in Children Through Respectful Parenting

The basic idea of ​​a respectful upbringing is to treat our children with respect – even in difficult situations. Among other things, it is found in the famous early childhood educational concepts of Maria Montessori, Amy Pickler and Magda Gerber and the educational style of attachment parenting.

The common denominator they all have is that it is never too late to change our behavior as parents. And every moment we apply their principles makes a positive difference. That’s why, in addition to 9 parenting tips, we also have 9 great alternatives that not only strengthen your children – but also your relationship with them. Try it!

#8 “This is (still) too hard for you!”

Kids love to try things they might be too young or inexperienced to do. After all, they want to do and be able to do everything just like we do! But “I’m still too young for that.” And its various forms make them feel like we don’t take credit for them. At the same time, it leads to a lot of frustration.

Better Alternative: “My scissors are very sharp, but let’s get your craft scissors and cut out the picture.”

On the other hand, offering alternatives that they can actually master builds resilience and often distracts from the source of danger. At the same time, we take seriously the interest of our children in learning certain skills. And the more they practice age-appropriate things, the faster our kids will be able to get on with adults.

#9 “You can do it yourself.”

Our children develop resilience when they get used to the fact that things don’t always work out and they are allowed to make mistakes. But that doesn’t mean we have to leave them alone with their problems. Because our children feel encouraged in their attempts when they know we support them.

Better alternative, um enhance flexibility:
“Let’s find a solution together.”

When we sit close to them and watch them find a solution (and fail), we let our children know we trust them. That’s why we can still stay in the background and help out if they really need us.

Advancing Child Care: A Guide to Respectful Parenting - Janet Lansbury
Advancing Child Care: A Guide to Respectful Parenting – Janet Lansbury

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