What would you say are the worst things that parents say to their children?

photo of Joane Goulding founder of the sleeptalk methodA. Most parents I’ve talked to admit that sometimes they say things to their child that they don’t mean or later regret saying.

According to American Psychotherapist Antonia Van Der Meer, a parent’s temporary loss of control may, unfortunately, mean permanent heartache for the child if nothing is done to correct that impression.

For example, when parents come home tired and irritable and discover their daughter or son has again left their books for homework at school, even the most understanding parent may find themselves blurting: “How can you be so stupid?” “When are you going to learn to think?”

Or when taking the children on holiday and all they do is fight with each other, even the most patient parent might ask aloud: “Why did I ever have children?”

And sometimes what is actually said might be quite innocent or benign, but it is heard or interpreted in such a way by the child that can cause the hurt.

Van der Meer suggests that all parents are bound to lose control occasionally and lose sight of the fact that their words can make a child feel wounded, rejected or unloved. Whether menacing, negative or hostile statements are said intentionally or just slip out, the result is always the same: the parent feels temporarily relieved, perhaps, but real damage may be done to their little one’s self-esteem and the bond of trust between them.

It’s important to recognise and to resist saying hurtful things. It’s important that parents learn to handle their own anger and frustration in order to teach a child how to behave.

You know as parents we have all made mistakes when communicating with our children. We need to learn from those mistakes, forgive ourselves, take the learning, leave the negative memory behind and move on. It’s never too late to learn.

SleepTalk gives parents a second chance to redefine the basic self-image of their child and create a positive belief in place of previously accepted negative ones.