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The 7 Worst Things You Can Say To Your Child

By Rebecca Odes |

Parenting can be so damn stressful. Kids push boundaries and buttons, and it’s a parent’s job to stay calm and steady in the face of it all. But most of us don’t perform this job with absolute perfection. We sometimes and say things to our kids we wish we could stuff back inside our mouths. I’m sure most of us have some cringeworthy moments to mull over and make up for.

But some verbal mistakes are worse than others. Parenting expert Chick Moorman, the author of  Parent Talk: How to Talk to Your Child in Language That Builds Self-Esteem and Encourages Responsibility,  thinks there are seven really big baddies. How many of them have you heard slip out of your mouth? 

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The 7 Worst Things You Can Say To Your Child

This plays into kids' worst fear: abandonment.

 

If I said any of these things, I’d regret it, but I can’t say they all seem equally awful. Enabling incompetence isn’t great, but is it as bad as telling a kid you regret his existence? Do you agree with this list? Anything you’d like to add…or subtract?

Read Chick Moorman’s article on Pregnancy.org for more about why he thinks these are the 7 worst things a parent can say to a child.

photo: me and the sysop/flickr

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About Rebecca Odes

rebecca-odes

Rebecca Odes

Rebecca Odes is a writer, artist and mother. She was inspired to write her blog, From The Hips, during her first pregnancy when she discovered every pregnancy book she came across made her feel anxious or irritated. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children.

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142 thoughts on “The 7 Worst Things You Can Say To Your Child

  1. Meagan says:

    I disagree with “because I said so,” because I know very few parents who would turn yo that answer first. This is what people say when they’ve already answered a question of “why?” Several times and the kid is either just whining or being intentionally annoying. I wouldnt say its necessarily the BEST way to deal with oestering, but I don’t think it communicates “you don’t matter.”

    I’m torn on “you should be ashamed.” I think there are plenty of times a kid knows perfectly well what he’s done wrong and why its wrong, but I’m not sure how telling him he should be ashamed actually helps him to feel bad for poor behaviour. I think though that “you should be ashamed,” is kind of a synonym for “I’m disappointed,” which makes more sense.

  2. Rebecca Odes says:

    @Meagan: Yes, “I’m disappointed” is a much more constructive way of saying what parents actually mean when they say “You should be ashamed”. The idea of shame adds another layer that I think might be at least confusing. At worst, it’s damaging in the way Moorman suggests. His style is clearly very child-centered so it makes sense that he sees the “Because I said so” line as a reduction in the child’s value. This is something I know a lot of parents disagree with.

  3. Meredith says:

    I think there’s a place for shame. It should not be their primary motivator, but honestly, we all feel it when we do something wrong, and it serves a purpose. As the child is learning empathy and respect and self-control and tools to behave correctly, shame is a helpful motivator in small doses. Saying “you should be ashamed” is a way of saying, “that terrible prickle you feel right now has a name; take note.” It shouldn’t be the first thing parents say. I feel the same about “because I say so” — if a parent generally explains reasons for things and the kid abuses that a little as a distraction, it’s fine for mom to say, ‘yk sometimes you’ve got to just do it because I say so without a lot of discussion.’

  4. Rebecca Odes says:

    @meredith: I totally agree, and have a kid who abuses that on a regular basis (which is why I think that because I said so line is probably the most commonly expressed of any of these). I don’t think that should be the default response, though. I’d be interested in understanding more about whether this guy sees any difference in context and/or delivery. It’s hard to get that from the original article, though you definitely get more of a flavor for his thing there.

  5. goddess says:

    “Because I said so”- not equal to “We never wanted you anyway” and “You’re the reason we’re divorcing” @@
    “Because I said so” is used judiciously, and sparingly to end a discussion that we just aren’t going to have. Sometimes when I say no, it means no and the very first reason is an end to and of itself and it’s NOT negotiable and “because I said so” is the shutter-upper.

  6. bob says:

    I think I could come up with worse.

  7. baconsmom says:

    I’m sorry, nothing stops a tantrum like, “OK, well, I have to go to the next aisle. You have fun screaming.” Three steps later, the kid is right next to you, silent and biddable.

    I don’t think it’s about abandonment as much as it’s about the fact that her time screaming isn’t more valuable than my time getting things done. I go out in public to accomplish a task, and a tantrum interrupts that, which is just rude. Pointing out that you will not cater to a screaming kid isn’t “abandoning” them: it’s teaching them that they aren’t the center of the universe.

  8. bettywu says:

    @baconsmom – Good point. I think the difference is between “I’m leaving you here” and “I’m not going to give you an audience for this anymore”

    In my, admittedly limited, experience I’ve never done the I’m leaving without you thing but I’ve had success with I’m not helping so I’m not going to feed into your drama anymore and am going over there.

  9. Holly says:

    I wish “because I said so” was more in favor, actually. I hate hearing parents negotiate with kids. Or explain unpopular decisions. Sometimes the answer is simply, “because I said so.” I am the adult, I make the decisions and, gosh darn it, sometimes I simply know best.

  10. Stacia says:

    I have to occasionally say “Because I said so” to my husband. He just does NOT understand the logic behind some things and I cannot simplify or explain anymore. But at the point I say “because I say so” I’m also saying “believe me/trust me, because I can’t explain anymore and I know it’s correct.” I can easily say- and he will agree!!- I have a better vocabulary and understanding of things (there goes that vocab proof, ha!) but I have issues explaining because of the way I learn vs. how he learns. But I try to explain first!! And I have seen parents leave a tantrum child and walk outside a restaurant/inside, or around the corner. They usually try to reason first, and then once they “leave” that tantrum is done. I think that threat of abandonment is effective when done compassionately.

  11. NoMissy says:

    Personally, “I’m disappointed” destroyed me growing up. It seriously hurt me, and even if I hear the words today as an adult, my stomach churns and my heart pounds like a bird trapped in my chest. For me, I think”you’re the reason we divorced” would have been easier to stomach. Every kid is different, and the fact of the matter is we all just have to be mindful of the things we say to them. It takes many years to undo damage to self-esteem.

  12. Snarky Mama says:

    What Holly said.

  13. lisacat says:

    I agree with this from NOMISSY…
    “Every kid is different, and the fact of the matter is we all just have to be mindful of the things we say to them. It takes many years to undo damage to self-esteem.”

  14. Laura says:

    I can’t see why “Let me do that for you” is in this group. Sure, we should encourage self-reliance, but I say the same thing to friends and my husband when I’m trying to help. It may not be something you should say all the time, but it is not on the same level as “We never wanted you”

  15. Ashley says:

    I agree with Holly. “Because I said so” is a line I’m sure a will use one day when my child either tries to renegotiate the rules or question my authority. As my father used to say, “There is no democracy in this house.” And he was right. He was the adult and responsible for my safety and well-being; therefore, he made the rules. My only choices were to either abide by them or face the unpleasent consequences.

  16. Thiele G. says:

    Some of these are just mean. I am guilty of the “because I said so” line! But a parent who says “We did not want you anyways” should NOT be a parent.

    http://generousramblings.blogspot.com/

  17. andrea chorney says:

    i don’t negotiate with children nor do I have the patience or the desire to explain every single thing we’re going to do, so I personally am a fan of “because I said so.” My son is 11 now. This line never comes out of my mouth… it doesnt’t have to, because we both know, it’s because i said so. i’m not a mom nazi, but I’m nto going to negotiate, i’m not going to haggle, bend the rules, or change my mind, and I found the earlier he realized that the easier it would be for both of us. I’m a single mom, work two jobs, go to school, I just don’t have time for ridiculous explanations about rules we’ve already established.

  18. MeMeMe says:

    @Holly and her agreement party, If I tell my child to do, or not to do something: I want them to know why. It doesn’t mean there is negotiation, it just gives an explanation. You have to talk to your children and give them reasons even at a young age, such as; it’s bad for you, it’s healthy for you, it could hurt you. I’m not saying that “because I said so” shouldn’t be used, I use it all the time. Somethings are better explained to children, they need to know and understand that there are good and bad reasons behind what you are teaching them to do.

  19. cassidy says:

    how about adding “what is WRONG with you?”

  20. Jeanne@bellissimakids.com says:

    Is this just me or is “You are the reason we got divorced” not far worse than saying “Because I said, so. That’s why”?!! What do others think?

  21. The Blog Entourage says:

    Oh, I agree Cassidy! That’s another thing parents shouldn’t say.
    I’m impatient and have ocd, so I really struggle with not saying “Here, let me do that for you”. I’ve learned to just let them do things their way even if it turns out messy or crazy. I’ve noticed that after doing that for several months, their confidence has started to shine through and they actually like volunteering to help out with things!

  22. Tony says:

    I never used the term “because I said so”. It’s human nature to question anyone’s reasoning that is different than our own. I gave my daughter’s an answer that they understood the first time around and there was no more, “Why not”? I was slapped by my mother for asking that question. Not after two or three questions but generally on the first. I never laid a hand on my daughters in anger, either. They knew, however, when I said they were grounded for x amount of days, it MEANT x amount of days. They are great young adult women today and never gave me problems.

  23. estefani says:

    The because I said so can be subtracted just because u can’t really explain anything and I would add your such a retard that’s not fun to hear

  24. Gina says:

    I say “if you don’t clean up, Im going to just leave you here at home.” Is that bad? It gets them to clean up. I am going to take them of course, but is it bad to say I’m going to leave them at home? I don’t think so. I do however ASK them “do you want to come with me or stay here” when we are out…they always choose to come with me. And when I say, “Because I said so”, I can also end coversations with, “Because thats the way God made it.” The other thing are things you should not say, but the 2 above I believe are really not that bad if you don’t say it all the time…and I dont.

  25. Terry says:

    Most of these sound like things i heard as a kid, or at least that i could see a parent saying “we’re going to leave you here” or “why cant you be more like your brother/sister” or “Because I said so” They’re not great things to say, but a couple of them were just plain horrible! “We Never wanted you anyway” and “You’re the reason we’re divorcing”??? who says those things to a child?? Some ppl shouldnt have kids.

  26. Angelia says:

    ‘Because I said so’ can more than easily be used as a crutch, if used too long. It’s human nature for a child to wonder ‘why’ or ‘why not’, but if “because I said so” becomes the justification for anything, the child will eventually use it as early as recess days as justification to bully the younger kids. I’ve seen it happen. It’s not about negotiation, most of the time. Using that accursed line leads to more harm than good, in the long run.

  27. Sarah says:

    i hated ‘because i said so” as a child. my parents never used it but teachers did..a lot. if you never explain why a rule exists then t holds no meaning. a rule existing merely for the sake of existing is a lot easier to break than a rule that exists for a known reason. or at least it was that way for me. i’m going with the assumption now that my son is the same. granted he’s 2 right now, so it hsn’t really come up yet, but i have no doubt it will

  28. Micki says:

    I really don’t understand the point of this article. The sayings here are either so vile, that a reasonable, non-abusive parent would never use them, or so harmless, that most every parent has used them, and still managed to turn out good kids.

    A parent who would think it is acceptable to toss out such gems as “you caused the divorce” or “we never wanted you anyway”, would not be here reading parenting advice.

    However, “here, let me do that for you…” That is the standby phrase of every tired parent who is 10 minutes behind leaving for work with a preschooler who wants to zip their jacket and tie their shoes. While you certainly do not want to use this phrase on a continual, daily basis, I can’t believe it is anywhere near the worst thing you can say to your child; nor it is even really a bad thing on occasion.

    “Because I said so” is also nowhere near a “Worst Thing” you can say to your child, it is a teaching phrase that shows your children that no matter how much they might wish it, they are not in charge, and do not have the authority to override a parent’s judgement. When I have already told my daughter twice we are not having pudding for dinner, we are having a cassarole (that I know she enjoys) then “Because I said so” is perfectly appropriate. Matter of fact, that is exactly the correct reason why we are not having pudding for dinner.

    I guess I just don’t see how any of this really applied to most parents, I either recoiled in horror over the abusive phrases mixed in here, or scratched my head over the ‘old standbys’. My kid is not afraid of me, nor does she think she is helpless, and she is fully aware that while I am in charge the majority of the time now…the day is coming when she actually can stay up as late as she wants, eat whatever she wants, and stop asking permission to go where she wants….She just has to grow up a bit more.

  29. Samantha says:

    Honestly, I grew up with some of these phrases “because I said so” “you should be ashamed” “here, let me do that for you” and “if you don’t stop I’m going to leave you here.” I grew up just fine. Everyone’s always sugar coating everything these days. If you honestly want your child to grow up to be a responsible person you need to treat them the way you were treated. It’s getting to the point where you can’t even tell your child they’re doing something wrong because you may be saying it the wrong way. Let me tell you, I’m 19 years old and I work full time, I’m going back to college and I pay my bills on time all the time. The only reason I’m not in college right now is because my senior year my grandma was sick and instead of saying “omg I’m so much more important than her” I decided to take a break and put my time into helping take care of her and also telling my dad she was more important because I can go to college later on. I don’t get how some of these things are so bad to say to your kids. I got called a brat when I was a kid, I was yelled at, grounded, spanked, stuck in the corner, went to bed without dinner and my dad has said before “I love you, I just don’t like you right now” when we’ve made him angry (not when we were kids but now that we’re older.) I don’t understand why everyone wants to baby their kids. Let them grow up and make mistakes, it’s the only way to learn from them. Hasn’t anybody else noticed that MORE kids are getting in trouble now than they were when we were kids. Hasn’t anybody else noticed that MORE kids in middle school are having sex than when we were kids? Hasn’t anybody noticed that MORE kids are talking dirty than when we were kids? There’s a reason for that, and it’s because you can’t talk to your kids how you should and you can’t discipline them how you should. You aren’t obligated to agree but it kind of goes hand in hand.

  30. Brit says:

    As much as I hate it, I’ve used, “I’ve got to go over there, so I guess you’re gonna have to scream here by yourself”. It’s always when we’re running errands and a tantrum is happening. Once he realises I’m not going to cave, and no amount of screaming & begging is gonna change my mind, he’s done and back to being right there with me.

  31. vickie says:

    BECAUSE I SAID SO, for me means you already know the rules you know what i expect and it needs no further explanation.I have a 16 year old son that could debate hours for me my own reasoning & is that not damaging to me? I mean, who is the parent & who is the child? If it is something that needs an explanation, or is an important issue I will explain.If its can i stay at my girlfriends house for a while longer when i have already came to pick him up…it is no & because i said so..if this makes me bad so be it…

  32. Agatha says:

    I agree with Cassidy as well. My father has always asked the question, “What is wrong with you?” and honestly, I found it worse than him calling me a b-word or anything else among those lines. Though I was older when he started saying it, those words caused a rebellion in me where sometimes I would end up asking myself if there really was wrong with me, or I would get angry and justify that everyone else had the problem, not me. Because my father asked this question, I found it difficult, and I still find it difficult, to follow any orders or requests he had. A lot of times, I would ignore his authority because he implied in that question that there was something “wrong” with me. This question also depleted the little self esteem I ever had. I think that this proclamation is just as bad as saying “we never wanted you anyway.”

  33. Shannon says:

    As much as I hate to even think back on it, I’ve told my daughter the “I never wanted you” line. I mean, she was only 1 and I was 17 and frustrated, but that’s no excuse. To be honest, I’ve said and done some really despicable things to my children and in the end they turned out to be better people than the ones who created them: they forgave me. I offered no excuse or explanation because there wasn’t one to offer. I began doing right by my children and lo and behold, guess what? They began showing respect by doing what they were told and even helping out without being told. It took a lot off my shoulders…but if I could take back what I said about not wanting my children, I would. I have no way of knowing how that will affect her later in life and I hope history doesn’t repeat itself when my children have children of their own one day.

  34. Traci says:

    I agree with Ashley and Andrea 110%. They hit the nail RIGHT on the head!!! As a parent/adult, you should not have to explain the reasoning behind any rules, things that children can or cannot do or why things are in your household. Children have no right to question why things are the way they are. I have raised 3 children with the “because I said so” saying and they have turned out just fine. They knew that when I said something, not to question me because I was the parent and they were the children. They also knew that I would not tell them anything that would not be detrimental to them or their well-being. AND, IT DIDN’T MAKE THEM FEEL LIKE THEY DIDN’T MATTER.

  35. Hillary says:

    my mother used the “why can’t you be like your older sister” line quite a bit as we were growing up. it was very confusing for me as a kid, because i felt that she didn’t want me to be “me”, she wanted me to be exactly like someone else, no matter the situation or the externalities involved. my sister and i are very different: she is shy, i am outgoing; she is quiet, i am talkative; she is hesitant, i am headstrong. after awhile, i finally realized that my sister’s personality is quite like my mother’s and therefore she has the “preferred” behavior between the two of us. of course i rebelled mightily, although i never did anything illegal or immoral (thank goodness!); it manifested more in a desire to completely separate myself from my entire family for about 15 years. it took those 15 years to grow up correctly, to love myself as who i really am, whether she likes me this way or not. i agree that this saying is a particularly harsh one for a child. there are nuances of unfairly comparing your children’s personalities, that they are doing something wrong simply by being themselves, that one child is more liked than the other (bringing up sibling rivalry issues), and on and on… all in one little sentence. what would concern me more, however, is that a parent would even think this way in the first place- that being unique from your parents and siblings is a bad thing. i don’t care how tired or frustrated you are by the tasks of parenting, there is something deeply wrong if that’s the case.

  36. Sherry says:

    Parents today spend too much time trying to be their children’s friend. You are not their friend – you are a parent, and you should parent. When you make rules, stick by them, don’t haggle about the rules. Some of the above statements are definitely abusive to a child’s esteem and should not be used. “Because I said so” is not one of them. If you made a rule, there need not be explanations why you made that rule. YOU ARE THE PARENT! You should be older and smarter than the child. That’s reason enough.

  37. brandee langarica says:

    Upon reading all the comments I realized something: It is so sadly evident that most parents and people in general, are still lacking in simple kindness and respect for anyone, especially the ones we claim to love, look at the percentage of bad marriages and divorces for proof, and as my great grandma Violet,used to say. WE SHOULD ALL BE ASHAMED OF OURSELVES!!! Parenting should come down to this, Love them and show it with kindness, honesty,patience,encouragement,respect and laughter.If you can’t possibly imagine that will make a great if not wonderfully happy child, imagine one without those small free-dumbs (Yes, that is my bad play on words. LOL) those kids are abundant and they are really angry. If you have given your kids a happy enviro-mentally (thats a new word I just made up and I like it alot) then when you do mess up once in a great while, It is forgivable,but don’t think that just because you are the parent that means you don’t have to admit you are wrong or don’t have to say sorry when you are. You get what you give, Violet said that alot too. She had all the quips including because I said so, but she said it with a smile and you knew she loved you so you trusted that it was in your best interest and it always was, Just love them,,,, fiercly.

  38. Ed says:

    I think most commenters missed the point on the “because I said so” line. It is one thing when it is a last resort, or when the child is obviously contesting your authority, but entirely another matter when used as the go to reply because you can’t be bothered teaching logic to your crumb cruncher. And believe me a lot of parents use it serially. I am not fond of the time excuse justifying this retort either. BTW if you use it regularly because you don’t have the time to explain things, perhaps you should simplify your life and find the time. If you don’t have the time to do the parent thing (and explains thing to your child) you should be ashamed of yourself! After all, Andrea, you seem to find time to do what you want, like read and post to this Blog! Inappropriate priorities is no excuse.

    I specifically disagree with Traci’s position, that the child has no right to question what they are told. That method, teaching rules without explaining the logic is called “programming.” Teaching rules are good for their own sake does not teach children how to think for themselves, and risks creating adults who will follow directives out of obedience to authority, even when such authority is illegitimate. This is just one factor that lead to good people allowing Nazis to have their way. Programming is something totalitarian states wish more parents would do.

  39. Michelle Lampson says:

    Children need to learn that families are not little democracies where every member has an equal voice in decision making no matter what their age. Even teens should know that while their parents should listen and take into account their needs and feelings, the parents are still the ones in complete charge of major decisions. This is the way it has to be – parents are responsible for everything that happens to the family. Kids are not. Therefore parents should rightfully be in charge – not the kids. Telling a child “Because I told you so” after you’ve attempted to explain your reasoning to them is not a horrible thing. Its a time-tested way to reinforce that ultimately, parents are the ones in charge and no amount of whining or debate is going to change the decision. Older kids need to learn to accept their parent’s explanations instead of endlessly challenging and debating that reasoning.

  40. Jessica says:

    I think regardless of what their parents say to them (and God forbid they were never told “We never wanted you.”), children will grow into whatever adults they are meant to be. Very well-educated, loving parents turn out confident serial killers everyday. You do the best you can, make sure you do it with love, try to stifle the anger and frustration (although that’s valid and normal) and count to ten and breathe through it. You hope against hope that they’ll turn out okay — but ocassionally saying any of these things won’t turn them into low self-esteem freak.

  41. sharon says:

    7 things a parent should NEVER say to there child
    1. you were to susposed to be the other sex when you where born, and reminded them of it everyday of there lives.
    2, Never call your child names, like stuipd, dumb, dumb, idiot. Moron, your retarded.
    3, Never compare your child to there brothers or sisters. And say Why are you not like, your brother, or sister, why do you not get the grades they get in school, Why this or that.
    4, Never tell your child they will never amount to anything in life.
    5,Never call up the relatives or tell the neighbors when your child has done something wrong.
    6, Never, show home movies of your child trying to do some school subject they are really bad in. Never take home movies of it.
    7, Never blame your child for what is wrong in your marriage.
    all of the above MY PARENTS did to ME. I lived in a house of hell. My parents are now passed away, and GOD got them for all of this. they did to me.

    1. Patricia says:

      I can add 7 more to this list:
      1) “The wrong one died in this family” — a reference to my older brother who died before I was born. (Good for making a child feel unwanted.)
      2) “I can’t wait until you are 18 and can leave this house” (say this often enough, and your child will feel even more unwanted. Remember — you can’t make a child feel unwanted enough so repeat, repeat, repeat every little insult until it becomes part of your regular conversation.)
      3) “You are a slut and a whore.” (Great for building character and even more hurtful when the child is neither a slut nor a whore!)
      4) “You are never going to amount to anything.” (I ended up being among the top people in my profession– just to prove them wrong.Unfortunately, they have no idea what I do for a living or all I’ve accomplished in my life)
      5) “Why can’t you be like (fill in the blank with the name of a sister, friend, relative)” (Great for building confidence and character….and resentment towards another sibling, friend or relative.)
      6) “This is our house, not yours.” (Good for making a child feel like part of the family.)
      7) “Are you stupid?” — no, I’m not — see answer #4

      And my favorite — “You look like you have no teeth,” said by my mother after her only child was interviewed on national television.

      A recipe for parents:
      Mix all those “compliments” together, throw in a few good beatings and make sure you ignore the child for at least the first 18 years of his or her life. Never show any interest in what the child is interested in. All conversations must focus on the parent and all the sacrifices the parent made for the child. Never ask the child about his or her dreams, life or work. Show total disinterest in everything this child does….unless you can somehow relate it to yourself. In that case, ignore the child and focus all relevant conversation on yourself.

      Thanks mom and dad — you gave me the incentive to leave an abusive home in a decaying town and head for the big city — where I did quite well for myself, unbeknownst to you.

      ..

  42. Walba says:

    “Because I said so” was used on my children, but it was usually with a smile, so they knew that their time of questioning, fussing, or whatever was at an end. Now that they are grown and we are discussing things, they will use it. It was a simple way to for them to know that they had given their input, but things weren’t going to change because of it.

    “You should be ashamed of yourself” was used occasionally, but only after a discussion of what they did was wrong and how it hurt someone’s feelings. They knew the difference between doing something something that was wrong, and doing something that was hurtful to another. They are both very compassionate people now.

    I’ve watched them with their nieces and nephew (their step-sister’s children); they also have the same sort of way of letting them know they are loved and need correcting occasionally.

    Loving your child means correcting them when they need it. It means taking the time to set rules and explaining them in a way the child can understand. It means saying your sorry when you goof up, so they know that goofing up is something everyone does sometimes. Parenting isn’t always easy, but it is worth it, why? Because I said so!

  43. Arthur Ngwube says:

    I’ve said much worse to my kids and they still turned out well. Very well indeed, I think parents today are too soft on their kids .. It’s a cruel mean evil world out there … And all the tele tubby phrases you might use on them will not prepare them for the jungle…

  44. Regina says:

    When I once confronted my mother about her alcoholism she replied “You’re enough to make anyone drink”. I think that has all those beat.

    Words hurt-you don’t need to verbally abuse your kids in order to prepare them for the jungle.

  45. dolleybird says:

    “Because I said so … “. This may be a phrase that the author doesn’t like, but I recommend that all parents use it. As a teacher of many decades, I can tell you that it works. When I said it to my students, they would say, “Oh, o.k.,” and willingly do what I told them. Children love to argue, and this phrase cuts off the argument, and most students just go along with it. Of course, as with anything, it can be overdone, so use the phrase judiciously.

  46. Christina says:

    Yup. My parents basically told me most of that stuff growing up lol but i dont think it gave me any problems whatsoever. Of course they didn’t say those more severe things like blaming me for their problems or not wanting me or whatever cuz that is messed up shit.

  47. Kacie Gonzalez says:

    How bout “You make me want to kill myself, Just kill me now.”

  48. heather says:

    i agree with megan and baconsmom

  49. Melissa says:

    “Because I said so” to me, doesn’t mean, “I matter and you don’t”. It simply means, Mommy ( or Daddy ) whomever, makes the rules, and as a child, you have to follow them. I don’t however see anything wrong with giving them the reason “I said so”. Sometimes, when I’ve exausted every logical reason as to why I’m telling her to, or not to do something, Because I said so, is the only other reason why.

    “If you don’t stop that, I’m going to leave you here” , I think COULD be used the wrong way, However, I agree with the lady who said — “I’m no longer going to give you an audience” I feel the same way, We’re not going to waste time on a fit, or misbehavior. I don’t believe in threatening to just up and leave — I got threatened that when I was little, and it terrified me. The way I use it is “Ok, none of us are going” or “Ok, we’re going to the truck” ( if in a store ), and I have indeed followed through with it, we have just went to the truck, or my husband has exited the store with her, and we have just stayed home due to misbehavior.

    “Here, let me do it for you” — I’m not sure about teaching helplessness, or whatever the term used was, but if I see my daughter struggeling, I do offer my help, however, I don’t just do it for her.

    “I’m dissapointed” I think this is ok, again, as long as it’s used correctly. Everyone gets dissapointed with someone or something sometimes. They need to know what type of behavior or actions cause dissapointment. We need to teach our Children all elements of emotions, and how to deal with them, and if we never show them that we’re dissapointed, whether it be with them, or anything/one else, they’ll never learn these things. If it was used as “You’re a Dissapointment” then it’d absolutly be wrong.

    “Why can’t you be like your sibling” — HUGE No No. Absolutly no Excuse for this one.

    “We Never wanted you” – Wrong on so many levels.

    “You’re the reason for our divorce” – Again, wrong on so many levels.

    “You should be ashamed of yourself” – Another one that could be ok, or horribly wrong. They do need to know shame, and things they should indeed feel bad for, however, I don’t know if this is the best way to teach that. I personally have never used it. I think a better way to put it would maybe be “You should be ashamed of your actions”.

  50. Rev. Meg says:

    Here is the one sentence one should never say to one’s child:

    I wish you were never born!

    That statement can destroy a young life in two seconds. I was a preschool teacher for 10 years, and a nanny longer than that. Children can understand your words long before they can speak themselves, so never assume that your child did not understand what just came out of your mouth. If you are angry enough to formulate that thought, take 10 seconds and a deep breath before speaking!!

  51. Dana says:

    I have strived to never use “Because I said so” but I will admit I have failed at times. Sometimes when you are asked why more times than you can count and seem to not be able to stop the conversation it lends a certain finality. I usually end a long why session with “you making Mommy mental” along with a silly face. It can cut the tension and distract long enough to change the subject. Of course I may need a new tactic once she hits her tweens and teens.

  52. Diane says:

    Okay, first of all, my mother said to me, “Because I said so, that’s why.” And I hated it. But then I had children. When they are jumping up and down in a booth in the restaurant and you explain that it’s bad manners, or that they’ll fall and get hurt, or that they’re bothering others, and they still won’t stop, I sure would say, “Because I SAID so, THAT’s why! Now SIT DOWN!” You can be sure that they’d sit right down and not cause a commotion after that because they knew I meant business. That’s the problem with parents today, their kids are ill-behaved because the parents can’t put their foot down. I think this one is okay if used sparingly. One thing I did not see on the list and I feel it should be is “You were a mistake.” Nope. Not nice. Even if you don’t mean it to be mean.

  53. Amgirl says:

    i like this column..parenting is no joke and i salute to parents who brought up kids who are respectful,polite,kind,considerate and above all Godfearing…if a child is Godfearing,no doubt he or she knows what is bad and what is good…human as we are,we can be tempted..but if you fear God,most likely you will pick the right choice..Godbless us all…

  54. anna says:

    I love my parents, but growing up, I was told quite often that: “I wish I’d never had you.” “I wish you’d just run off or something.” “I wish you’d get kidnapped.” “Why don’t you just die then and that way I don’t have to deal with you anymore.” “I wish I’d given you up for adoption/I wish I’d given you away when I had the chance.” I understand that my mother was only 19 when she had me and had no parenting instincts whatsoever, but I hated hearing things like this. It often made me wish that she had given me away to someone else when I was born. My mother and I get along better now that I’m grown and a mother myself, but I know deep down that I can’t trust her with my child because of the way she was with me.

  55. Lyssa says:

    I have to agree with the “because I said so” bit. My daughter responds pretty well if you explain your reasoning to her, and she may not like it, but she won’t throw a tantrum or some such. However, the second anyone says that to her (my sister and mother have both had the experience), she /then/ starts the why game. She actually told me that she thought my sister was “not smart” after that.

  56. Carrie says:

    I can think of alot worse things to say to a child than most of the ones listed. I agree that there are lessons learned in the phrases like “Because I said so or You should be ashamed of yourself”. Kids need to learn what they should be ashamed of and that if you get that feeling you shouldn’t do it. They also need to know that a parent does have the ultimate say in any decisions but I do believe a parent should attempt to explain why a rule is in place. If they understand why the rule is there they are aware of what can happen if they defy that rule, like getting hurt.

  57. Kim says:

    Samantha, you are wise beyond your years sweetie! Very well said!

  58. marissa says:

    my mom says tht to me all the time…hahaha this is here adress toooo lol opps

  59. Eri says:

    My mom always told me I’d never have any friends and I’d be lonely.

    Wow, geez, Mom. That made me feel better after I had a bad day.

  60. Caren says:

    Most of these are too unkind and don’t have any good effect. But
    Because I said so” does establish, correctly, who is in charge, and kids do need to learn that for their life later which may not include becoming president of the company of their first job, etc…. As a child visiting my cousins one weekend, I felt sad upon hearing my uncle stopping his son from trying to fix his bicycle and saying the only solution was to take it to a shop. My parents were much more likely to let me try to do something myself and them to be there in case I asked for some help. Years later that cousin accidently died while living a life on the streets as a homeless alcoholic druggy. The message I heard when visiting for a short time was not in line with parents teaching their children for success. Even I could see the difference. No parent or anyone else is perfect , intentions are usually good, and most do the best they can. But a little introspection and more quiet observation of the child receiving the words may help some in the longrun?

  61. Suziebrook says:

    Instead of “because I said so” we used “Because it is not appropriate”

  62. Erica says:

    “What is the matter with you?” or “Are you brain damaged?” I’m sure it was my parents’ “innocent” way of pointing out mistakes to me but it always made me feel as if I were fundamentally flawed in some way. Even now, as a grown adult, these words echo in my mind anytime I make a mistake. I definitely make a point not to say these things to my son and not belittle him for his mistakes.

  63. Erica says:

    Regarding “Because I said so…” Of course I heard that as a kid (who hasn’t?) and it always frustrated the crap out of me, and yes, as a kid, when I heard that reason, it always led to me questioning whatever decision led to “because I said so” usually escalating to an argument.

    I really try not to say that now. I find it’s much more effective to give a reason my son can understand. When he argues my decision I say “I’ve already given you an answer and told you why,” and I ask him to repeat the decision I made and the reason back to me. It cements my decision as final in his mind while reinforcing that as the parent I am in charge. But I also hope that he understands and learns from my reasoning that goes into my decision-making.

    I find that if I treat my child with respect, he is respectful to me and cooporative with my decisions and rules… even though he’s not getting what he wants or getting his way.

  64. Dee says:

    “We (mom and day) only stayed togeather because of you girls” This one always makes you fill so warm and fuzzy. NOT Exspeacily after your mom has spent years telling how awful her marriage has been. No child wants to know they are the reason for their parents unhappiness

  65. donah says:

    Besides being a mother, I also ran a daycare in my home for 16 years. I frequently used the “because I said so” line, however, I would say “the first reason is because I’m the adult and I said so. The second reason is…….” When the kids were old enough I also explained that sometimes I’m not able to tell you the reason, but there’s always a reason.

  66. jerold says:

    at what point does it become because i said so ,i think we have enough i’s and u’s and not enough we’s

  67. Jill says:

    As a parent of a couple of pretty successful young adults, who love and respect their parents AND others in authority, including their professors, bosses, etc. – I disagree that “Because I Said So” is one of the worst things a parent can say to a child. This was the final answer to many conversations as they were growing and learning. They are the children after all and haven’t figured out some of the bigger lessons in life yet. We are the parents who, hopefully, are a bit farther on that journey. Sometimes we just know best and that is that. Our culture is producing a generation of of incredibly intelligent and talented young adults – unfortunately, because we don’t draw lines in the sand for them, they can also be arrogant, entitled, and disrespectful folks. We do our children a disservice to allow them to think they might just be the final authority. Their first working relationship with their boss will likely deal a painful blow to their self-inflated perspective. A reason is always important to offer – however, when the reason isn’t understood by the child, sometimes, “because I am the adult (and you are not)” is totally appropriate.

  68. Jennie says:

    Some of those aren’t so bad. I have told my kids that if they didn’t change their attitudes they would be staying home… “I’ll leave you here!” But I would NEVER say to my child that I never wanted them. How could I when my beautiful monsters are everything to me. I can honestly say that my hubby & I genuinely WANTED to be blessed with both our kids :)

  69. Sarahinez says:

    I used s longer form of “Because I said so” that worked at least some of the time. “In any situation where two people disagree, one has to make the final decision. As the adult, I am that one. I am responsible for you legally, morally and spiritually. God entrusted you to me. Your father died in peace because he believed that I could and would take care of you. By law, I must pay any damages that you cause to others and must pay arrange and pay for any treatment for damages that you cause to yourself.”

  70. Sandy says:

    I know this is controversial, but “You should be ashamed of yourself” can be appropriate when kids are involved in bullying. My mother used it for just that occasion, so each of her six kids only heard once in a lifetime, if at all. Contrition is important, and the shame we truly felt helped us move to some heavy reflection. Anybody agree? Maybe not, but why shouldn’t kids know that there are truly some shameful acts, like being a bully.

  71. ann paquette says:

    I agree with every one except telling your child that you are the ultimate authority and the buck stops here. The world is a very frightening place for kids and when we take full control, it allows the child to relax. Sometimes we need to say no and that is the end…it shows your child that you are the big person in control. It does not start a power struggle…it puts all the power in the parent. Where it belongs.

  72. Shelley says:

    I agree with all of these except for “Because I said so.” Sometimes, “Because I’m the mom and I said so” is all the answer they need. I don’t need to explain every little thing and defend my every choice to them. Frankly, I’m the mom, and I get the last word.

  73. newton says:

    While we have all used “Because I said so” in the heat of moments, its a pretty weak parenting tool overall IMHO. I find that if I show my kids day to day that adults follow rules too, even the adults “in control” – like driving rules, manners, following signs, behaving in stores etc – then you can drop a line like “because that’s the rule, and we all follow rules”, and you usually get a good response. If that doesn’t work, then I just blame the Republicans

  74. newton says:

    Any parent who believes children have no right to question why things are the way they are, and that you are the final authority and that your kids grew up just fine in this kind of system is deluding themselves. I hate when parents use that “my kids turned out just fine” garbage. Really? Go talk to your grown up kids and see how fine they feel.

    Im not one to mollycoddle kids, but I do believe there is always a time and place to talk to your kids about why rules exist and why we follow rules. Maybe not in the heat of a moment, but at some point you need to talk with your kids about why rules need to be followed, or else rules are meaningless to them, and they are just biding their time until they can rebel against you in their teens or post teens. Once they do that, you’ve already set the bar so low that you have two choices, 1) let them rebel and kick em out, 2) exact even harsher demeaning “im the authority” punishment aka — hitting them.

    Parents need to help kids understand why rules exist and are followed if they want their kids to grow up respecting laws and rules. Maybe thats why so many adults dont respect laws and rules anymore.

  75. Sheena says:

    “Because I said so” gets said alot here. I have an 8yr old son, 7yr old son and a 7yr old step daughter. I get questioned alot about WHY?!?! and even tho i have explained WHY I still get asked BUT MOM WHY, so it gets said. “If you dont stop that Im leaving you here” I dont really say those words but I have said something to that sence. I also tried something my grandmother rest her soul told me to try, When they throw a fit in the store tell them “everyone is staring at you” and if that didnt work “Get your butt on the floor and throw a tantrum with them” Yes I understand everyone stares at you but thats when you look them in the face and ask “May I help you with something, if you can do a better job raising MY KID then please give me your 2 cents.” It worked tho is my point I was so embarrassed but it WORKED lol. Im just happy that I raised my kids to know not to throw tantrums in the stores or in public especially when they witnessed it from the outsiders point of veiw with another little girl who was throwing a fit in the store and the mom was just screaming at her to stop my kids asked why the girl was being so bad and I reminded them “remember when you do that sometimes?” and they realized oh sorry mom.

    Try something me and my DH do its called the “I FEEL” meeting its where we all sit at the table and discuss how we feel about anything and everything that someone else does. And no one is aloud to get mad about it they just have to listen and feel how the other person felt. Mommy and Daddy also say things it helps the kids open their eyes and see PARENTS MAKE MISTAKES WITH EACH OTHER ALSO. For example: one of mine was (and you look them in the face when you talk to them) I feel annoyed when you dont listen to me when I talk to you and especially when you walk away. I would really like it if you looked me in the face and listened to me when I talk to you.

  76. Sheena says:

    I also Learned in a child development class. Say positive things. Instead of STOP RUNNING!!! say Use your walking feet. Instead of STOP SCREAMING!!! say this rhyme 3x they like it “Indoor voice (low tone) OUTDOOR VOICE (loud tone).

  77. sarah says:

    Personally, I see nothing wrong with the “Because i said so…” After explaining 500 times why they can’t do that or say that, gets tiresome and it attracts negative attention.I say it! Because I’m the parent they are the child. Some parents let children get by with too much now days. Then in return the child(ren) become spoiled a.k.a always getting their way by throwing temper tantrums, manipulating, and bribery.

  78. heather says:

    pshhh…whatever. that’s crap. “Because I said so” is not equal to “we never wanted you anyway.” I would NEVER say “I never wanted you anyway” or “you’re the reason we aren’t together” I love my kids but like a few other people have already said… its “because I said so” once all reasonable answers have been exhausted and they are still asking “but why??”

  79. sarah says:

    The ” you should be ashamed of yourself” should only be said when the child has done something horribly wrong say like push another kid down and bit them, or have said somethings that shouldn’t be coming out of a child’s mouth. Then let them know why, preserve the value in them that “Treat others the way you would want to be treated” and as far as the “we never wanted you anyway” who says that?! That will mess with a child psychologically. Never say that! Post par tum depression is an exception if it is not said directly to the baby. I suffered severe postpartum depression i wouldn’t wish that on my worse enemy! I’ve thought similar to the “If you don’t stop i will Leaving you here” but never done it. The way my child was acting no criminal would want to abduct them, she would scare them away! lol As far as saying it came close but no.

  80. Jazmine says:

    The only understandable one to slip out may be the first one. If you ever have the nerve to say anything else you didnt belong having any children in the first place.

  81. Cheryl says:

    From as far back as I can remember, my mother always told us (4) kids she wished she never had us. Not only was she emotionally abusive, she physically beat us every chance she got…When I was 47, she decided to tell me every thing she hated about me, I finally had the nerve to stand up to her and tell her that she was never going to speak to me that way ever again, I picked up my daughter and left. I haven’t seen or heard from her since, that was 3 yrs. ago — A huge burden has been lifted off my shoulders — I would never dream of saying that to my children…Never once did she ever tell us she loved us — I have only one chance at motherhood, I pray I am doing my best.

    1. Cheryl, I also have four children who are now grown, and my first died last year of an unknown heart malfunction. I cry everyday at his loss. I wanted ten children but financially it wasn’t possible. I think I would rather have my tongue ripped out of my throat then tell any child you were not wanted. You will be a good mother becz your mother showed you all the things your should not do with your own children. I give you much praise for unlike others who have an unloving mother, then pass that on to their own kids, your mother did you favor and showed you whatNOT TO DO WITH YOUR OWN. The best part of life is feeling that life inside you and holding and kissing that life forever. Your children are your children for the rest of your life. You keep up the good work and it is ok to get mad at people and children you love, it doesn;t mean you don’t love them, it just means you are setting boundaries that they will need for the rest of their lives. Blessings, BB

  82. Kelley Wilson says:

    I too have gotten to the point of frustration and used because I said so, but reading this post made me think about other ways to say it and I came up with this. Because you should respect me enough as your mother to know what is right and this is what I want you to do

    1. Kirstey says:

      I found a little saying that works really well when my children start arguing or acting up in the grocery store. They are 6 & 9 and both girls. For the most part they really behave well in public but if they are tired and just not getting along well or being grumpy I stop and look at them and say ” I’m going to sell you to nearest group of gypsies I see and I am certain I can get AT LEAST two chicken and a pig” this ALWAYS makes them giggle and calms all three of us. I don’t say it mean and I don’t threaten to leave them by themselves. Honestly though I really have never dealt with either of them having a full on tantrum out in public they know how to behave and if they would like to go shopping with mommy they had better act right or they will stay home with dad next time ( and they really like to go shopping for some odd reason ) so it works for us. I have said the because I said so but often it has been said in response to why after I have told them to pick up their toys or put away thier shoes or backpacks and telling them because it doesn’t go there, it looks messy and we are not pigs have been said more times (just in one day) then is really necesary already so because I said so becomes perfectly reasonable in this situation. I don’t think there is ever an excuse to say some of the other thing mentioned and it saddens me that there are parents who actually say those things to a child.

  83. Ana says:

    I grew up with a lot of these phrases. The only two that get me as seriously bad are the divorce one & the you were never wanted one. Those are bad. I don’t agree (for the most part) with the “results” of the rest of these phrases. “Because I said so” puts the parent in charge. I’ve seen far too many parents who have given up their parent position & let their child rule them, and all of them get frustrated by it as their child gets older. Children need to know who is in charge-the parent. I know this is not a popular viewpoint, but I’ve seen the results of parents giving up their position and it isn’t pretty.
    Likewise with “You should be ashamed of yourself.” This one is a little trickier, I’d rather say “You should be ashamed of your BEHAVIOR.” Shame isn’t necessarily a bad emotion. It can be essential in children developing a sense of what is right and wrong and what is proper behavior. When I was younger, if I was ashamed of my behavior (and still to this day even), I didn’t repeat it.
    I think the primary issue with some of these phrases is when and how they are used. In the proper context, they can be beneficial. Used incorrectly, they can lead to adverse effects. For example, telling a child to be ashamed of normal behavior can be detrimental. But telling a child to be ashamed of shoplifting can be a positive-as in when my mother made me march back into the store at 4 years old, put the candy bar back on the counter & say “I stole this.” And she told me I should be ashamed of my behavior. I never stole another thing in my life. I even return to the store and pay if I find something in my bag that wasn’t paid for.

  84. Christine says:

    When I was pregnant with our son (who is now 26) for some reason I decided to start bugging my husband. Every time he said or asked anything I’d say “why?” over and over. He’d start getting flustered and asked me what exactly I thought I was doing and I told him “I’m just getting you used to what’s coming.”. I think he really appreciated the time before our son started talking because of it.

  85. amanda says:

    This is kind of dumb, I doubt anyone says hardly any of that to their children, and a couple of them I can see reasons for saying them. “Your the reason we divorced” “we didn’t want you anyway” No one says those things. “Why cant you be more like your brothers/sisters” I can see someone saying that one, that is wrong. But some of those there are reasons for saying them, and their nto bad.

  86. Hexxuss says:

    I don’t think several of these are bad at all. If my son is whining in a store that he wants something, I DO (and WILL) walk away & say “bye”. I refuse to give an audience to that type of behaviour. I was a military brat – when your parents tell you to do something, you do it. You don’t question WHY or anything else – they’re the adults, and YES, they ARE the boss of you, and you need to do as you’re instructed, plain & simple. Put it into a worst-case scenario. Someone breaks into your home & they don’t think anyone is home, you tell your child to go into the corner of a closet & not make a sound. They reply, loudly, with “WHY!!!??” Guess what? Bam, both of you are dead. Harsh reality of today’s world – kids are getting into more & more trouble because more & more parents are letting them question everything they’re told to do instead of towing the line. They have NO fears of repercussions because they never get in trouble for anything… Not going to apologize for being a hard nose parent & don’t feel the least bit bad about it. What I say goes, period.

  87. Wiglet says:

    Really? That’s all you got? Geez, I have a list yea-long of things my mother said to me that were way worse than these seven.

  88. MakeYourOwnSammich says:

    I should send this to my parents. Considering I was the one that pretty much raised both my brother and sister until I moved out a couple days after turning 18, that I’ve yet to be out of work for over a month, it seems ridiculous that my parents still wish I was more like my alcoholic, druggie sister. After all, I never saved up enough to pay for college out of pocket and she graduated after my parents paid her tuition, rent, car payments, insurance, and gave her extra ‘play money’. At least my brother knows how I feel about it…they tell him the same thing.

  89. MakeYourOwnSammich says:

    BTW, what’s worse? We never wanted you (saved for my brother) OR we only had her (referring to me) so we wouldn’t have to pay for a baby-sitter or a maid. I just wish she’d stop crying when we send her out to mow the grass (grass allergy, my eyes watered because they were so irritated, and wheezing when my nose got so full that it ran down my throat and cut off my airways). Never mind she only levels the driveway three times a week so she can do homework on the other days.

    At least I never wrecked the car when I was five…like my dad did. He didn’t quite make it out of the driveway and wrapped the van around a tree before it could level the corn field. I was such a bad kid with that manual push mower…

    They wonder why I never call for another round of ‘why your sister is better than you’.

  90. Susan says:

    Ok, so I agree with some of the things said here about parents need to be parents, but we also need to think about the age of the child when deciding how much to teach, & many times it is ok to repeat before saying, because the rules have not changed (my take on because I said so.) Samantha, Sherry and some others hit a real nerve in me. I was beaten, left to care for other siblings at to young of an age without adults around & told most of this list (above & below article!) For me (no specific order) the worst were: they only had us kids for servants, to do the chores they did not want to do; no matter how hard you try you will never be good enough; I only wanted one child & would never have had the rest of you; you are responsible for anything & everything that goes wrong in the whole world no matter how far away from it you are (talk about a guilt trip!!); and that I deserved to be left at the orphanage.
    That said, “not good enough” & the guilt trip lines were the most damaging 2. I hated being punished for what others did, & doubly so when the adult knew someone else did it!! Please parents (good ones know this) never punish your child for anothers misbehavior!

  91. anouk says:

    I feel very sorry for those of you who have been so badly abused as kids, left feeling worse than unwanted. Just know that it was NOT your fault. Only the adults were and are to blame for their misbehavior as parents.
    I have been beaten and called dumb all the time as a kid. It took me many years of other experiences and therapy to realise I wasn’t dumb after all. But I still feel unworthy, even though I know I’m not.
    As the mother of a daughter I now make a point of it to be as positive and loving as I can to help build her self-esteem. Which doesn’t mean that I won’t teach her rules.
    Because I am the adult, I am responsible. But she is human too, so I understand her questions. Nothing wrong with showing kids you respect them and their opinions, just as long as you also tell them that they can have things their way once they have grown up. Growing up and being a grown up is all about responsibility.

  92. Chelsea says:

    “Because I said so” is a stupid line. Every single time I heard it when I was a child, I argued. Because that isn’t a good reason for anything. Even as a child, I had the sense to know that. I always took it to mean that I was right, and my parents didn’t want to admit it, and I always hated hearing it. To me, even as a child, I was always analyzing things. If I was told to do something, and I couldn’t see a reason for it, I asked why. If the answer was “because I said so”, I refused to comply, or else I did as they asked, but grudgingly. If that phrase comes out of my parents’ mouths now, I either simply leave (and do not do what I was told) or I argue and tell them WHY I don’t feel I should have to do what they’re asking. My parents learned fairly early on that if they didn’t explain themselves to me when I wanted an explanation, they lost my respect. I was angry at them and unresponsive to them. Wouldn’t talk to them, wouldn’t stay in the same area of the house as them. I was a generally obedient child, but they would have a very ANGRY child on their hands for hours if they pulled the “because I said so” line on me.

    As a child, I accepted my parents’ authority. I knew they were in charge. But being in charge didn’t mean they had any business treating me like a fool if I questioned them. “Because I said so” is a phrase intended to shut down discussion, and that’s a lazy way to parent. If you can’t be bothered to explain your reasoning to your children, you don’t deserve to have their respect. And if you’re simply incapable of explaining your reasoning, you also don’t deserve your children’s respect. If you have to rely on ridiculous phrases like “because I said so” to get your children to understand that you’re in charge, you’re not a very good parent at all.

  93. Shelly says:

    That last one is a fact… While that is not EXACTLY how it was said .. growing up I heard my mother say “I never wanted any kids, I only had you because your father wanted kids” … and she has said it as recently as in he last 5 years (I am now 46 and I have 2 younger sisters) ….

    I have never forgotten it, nor can I ever forgive those words though I do have a relationship with her because she is my mother and I have the only grandchildren in our family.

    I tried to tell her once that those words were hurtful and she argued that “someday I would say the same thing to my kids”… I am here to tell you I would rather die than say such a horrible thing to my kids and it is the furthest thing from the truth.

    I can also recall when I learned that I could not have children (tho I later adopted a daughter and gave birth to the miracle baby boy at age 40) hearing her tell my step father “She is one of those lucky women that can’t have kids” ….

    I have no understanding of anyone saying such cruel things to their child except that their lives are so bitter that they want others to share in their despair.

  94. stormchaser says:

    I think a lot of the disagreement for some of these is centering around context. Some of these are obviously wrong, and some it depends on the circumstances, age of the child, and things like that.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with saying you’re going to leave and go to the next isle or to the car when a child is throwing temper tantrum, saying, “I’m going over there, when you’ve decided you’re done acting up feel free to join me” doesn’t imply an sort of abandonment. If you’re screaming at your child and say, “You’re a horrible brat and I’m leaving you, you’ll be all alone” and walk out the door leaving your 7 yr old crying on their knees at the door saying “I’m sorry mommy, please don’t leave me” while you drive off (as was done to me) that can be incredibly damaging to a child who isn’t sure you’ll come back. So context is important.

    I also think there’s some gray area with “because I said so.” If the child is asking in earnest “why?” giving an explanation is appropriate and doesn’t make you look like less of an authority figure. Also, listening to their thoughts on why you might not be right doesn’t make you look like a weak parent, it makes you look reasonable and teaches children that it’s ok to change your mind after listening to another person’s perspective or admit that you’re wrong sometimes. Of course you should only agree with them or bend when appropriate or you will look like a pushover and get taken advantage of big time. Parents shouldn’t be a kids best friend, but they shouldn’t be dictators either. If you both know darn well the child understands why and is just being argumentative, I don’t think there’s anything wrong saying, “I’ve already explained it to you, you know why, end of discussion” or “this is not negotiable.” In a time-dependent, emergency, or safety situation, obviously whatever’s going to get the fastest response is the way to go.

  95. Kristina says:

    I think my Mom said all of these to me and they were very damaging in all the ways mentioned below the comment. Please think before you speak and say things that will take years for the child to undo as an adult!

  96. joe says:

    We can’t tell our child “here,let me do that for you” but vote for politicians who win with that statement.
    No wonder we have become unable to suceed

  97. Lynda says:

    The worst thing my mother said to me was “we wanted a boy and we got you”. I am now 65 and this statement still resonates in my mind.

  98. J Howe says:

    What’s wrong with instilling a sense of shame and guilt for doing something your kid’s not supposed to do, like refusing to do something you have reasonably requested of your child (assuming they’re old enough to understand)? Accidents do not fall under that category, and shame does NOT lead to low self esteem. Do you ever get that nagging voice in the back of your head telling you to not do something before you do it? That’s called your conscience, and not heeding it brings shame upon yourself and anyone negatively affected by your shameful decision. Teaching your child that it’s shameful to throw a fit just because they’re onery is called good parenting.

    Listen to your conscience, mothers and fathers. Listen good, because it will tell you how to raise your child to have good, balanced consciences and LISTEN TO THEM. Punish them physically, take priveleges and treats away, and let your kids know that there are serious consequences to bad behavior / attitudes / disrespect.

    Also, if your child really needs help and you DON’T help them, all that tells them is that you don’t give a damn enough about them to take a second out of your day to teach them something they are having trouble with. THAT lowers self-esteem. Letting children learn something on their own is fantastic, but young toddlers especially are going to have a lot of stumbling blocks in their way before they learn to navigate life effectively. Caring, loving parents understand that and are moderate in their allowance of assistance. Not too much and not too little. Just use your brain!

    Don’t worry about being “politically correct”, or what John and Jane Neighbor are doing next door with their kids. If you really need help and advice about that sort of thing, please reach out to your mothers and fathers or anyone else in your family who had families of their own; they have been there before and have scads of experience in areas you never even dreamed of, since they raised you up from an infant into a functional adult. Also, there’s *GASP* churches locally who are glad to lend some sage, Biblical advice about raising children!

  99. Stephani D says:

    At about 12 I started responding to every request to do something with “Okay. Any particular reason?” Probably annoyed my parents to no end, but I didn’t get in trouble for whining or talking back.
    I also agree with Stormchaser, I got an “I already explained it to you X times/ you know why.” as a kid when I was just stalling for time. An alternative to ‘Let me do that for you’ is asking ‘can I help?’ and standing by patiently (in the case of a tough jar of peanut butter or something.)
    My parents would walk away if my brother or I kept up a temper-tantrum, but only with warnings such as ‘If you don’t calm down, I’m going to walk away. You have until the count of three to start calming down.” Okay, it may not have been the best thing to do, but we learned that throwing a fit doesn’t solve anything. Not nearly as bad as my dad and step-mom driving away from her 12YO daughter in a restaurant parking lot, and threatening to do it again or really leave once we circled the block and returned.
    Now that we’re older, my brother and I get compared to each other a lot (sometimes in the same breath) and we completely resent it, it leads to us teaming up to hide things from mom, (which is probably pretty stupid, but it’s mostly using holiday money to buy stuff online). A warning for parents with young kids: If comparing them to each other doesn’t up the sibling rivalry, it may get rid of it once they’re teens. Our mom has to deal with a 17YO and a 19YO with rather large imaginations and quite a bit of free time.
    With an older kid, ‘you should feel ashamed’ or even ‘I’m dissappointed’ can be damaging. One of the few times I had a shouting match with my mom was after I had done something quite stupid and she kept lecturing me about it, ignoring my crying. even after I told her I understood why she was mad and why it was stupid and that I wouldn’t do it again, and that I was nauseous. I finally got fed up and shouted that in case she didn’t remember, having someone you love be upset with you hurts pretty f*cking bad. Whenever I do something stupid, her going on about it, bringing it back up for months or even years just makes me feel mad and stupid, it doesn’t help me learn a lesson from what I did.

    Mostly: Context and common sense. And try to treat your teenager like an adult.

  100. Heather says:

    I have a couple for you and yes my mother said these things to me when I was a kid. “You are such a beautiful person on the outside, but your insides are the ugliest I ever seen.” “No one will ever want you because you are a piece of shit whore”. Just to let you know these things were said to me when I was a young teenager and there were many other things said. I graduated college while working fulltime and raising a child. I bought my first house at 25, I was always very responsible and thankfully I rose above her mental abuse. She never helped with anything I did it all on my own. But she wonders why as an adult I want nothing to do with her. And she tells everyone that I am the crazy one, that I made all this up because to outsiders she seemed like a good mother.

  101. Lisa says:

    If anyone has had trouble withe #1–”If you don’t stop that, I’m going to leave you here” This may work for you (it did me) When my son was 5, he had a temper tantrum in the toy isle in Wal-Mart. He wanted a toy & I would not get it for him. He rolled around screaming & crying & hitting the floor. I told him people were watching him, He only stopped long enough to look around to see & then continued throwing his fit. I then told him I was leaving & if he wanted to come with me, I would be in the next isle. Of course he didn’t hear me. But I walked away & kept an eye on him him. I turned the corner of the next isle & watched him. He then realized I was not there, got up & started looking for me. (panic did hit him). I immediately called for him & came out of the isle where he could see me. I told him that I was right here, but that he needed to stay right next to me or he could get lost. After that he NEVER gave me any problems in the store. He stayed next to me. Another thing that worked for me was BEFORE I went into the store, I would tell my kids “We are only going in for..(list items–or show them the list of items)” or “I am not going to buy any toys this time” or “I do not have the money to buy anything else.” By giving them SPECIFICS–If they act up in the store, you just simply remind them of what you told them before you entered the store. You could also tell them that maybe next time you would get them something. That worked GREAT for me.
    But REMEMBER– If you tell them specifics-”only these items”, “not enough to buy anything else” or “not buying toys at this time”–MAKE SURE YOU FOLLOW THROUGH—If you buy more than what you said or buy them something you said you would not buy–THEY NOTICE—- DO NOT GIVE IN if you told them this–You must stick to your words–or they will not believe you when you say them again.

  102. jane harris says:

    Have read the comments. Parents be aware that there is a fine line between little things we say to our children and child abuse. My mother and father had a terrible marriage which I was blamed for, So try to say things in a positive way. Praise for a small hurdle will help more than one could ever know to your child. And please give the good job phrase a rest it is mundane and looses its effectiveness.

  103. rawr says:

    because I said so?Is that all a parent has for an answer?No vocabulary,no meaning to stop?It sounds like a 5 yr old talkin o.o.If I were a kid,I would just say:”Can I have a real reason,now?”.That’s just my answer :3

  104. Elizabeth says:

    Some of these are full of it. *I am shamed of you* is blunt and to the point. This is of course if the kid did something wrong.
    Because I said so is fine in my eyes to use. It won’t work. But it is far from damaging than some of the others.

  105. Beth says:

    I agree with all but the first and sixth. I mean, I wouldn’t say “I’m going to leave you here” to a three year old, unless it’s in the context of, “I’m going to leave you in this room to throw your tantrum. Come out and join me when you’re through,” but an older child could take it more jokingly and realize “oh, I’m being a brat”; unless they’d been abused, they would not immediately jump to “oh, she’s going to abandon me!” So I think that one’s all about age and context and honestly, the child himself. Some children think on abstract levels at younger ages and can pick up shades of meaning, while others always take things literally. My point is, should this be one of the things you never say your kind? I wouldn’t put it as one of the top seven. There are a lot worse things, I think.

    As for the “You should be ashamed,” I think shame is an emotion that is sometimes needed and one that is being phased out of our current culture. It’s not helpful if the child does not know what they did wrong (but really, no chastisement is productive if the child does not know what they did wrong), but in certain serious cases, they should know that you are disappointed, that your morals have been violated, and that they should feel bad about it. Then tell them how they can rectify the situation and you hope it never happens again.

  106. Joe says:

    “Because I said so” is shorthand for “because I’ve made a decision, told you what it is, and explained it to you. Now we’re not going to discuss it further, and if you try to prolong this discussion, something you don’t like is going to happen to you.”

  107. Michelle says:

    Aanother really bad one I have heard was from a mother to her misbehaving child in the grocery store – “I can’t love you when you’re acting like that.” Seriously made my heart drop. As angry as she may have been with the way he was behaving, it is NEVER okay to tell a child you don’t or can’t love them. “I am very upset with how you are acting right now” or something would have sufficed.
    I also do not agree with telling a child they are being bad. It is their actions or behavior that is bad, not them as a person. Wording is everything, andthe wrong words can hurt beyond belief.

  108. Andrew says:

    Both “your the reason we got divorced” and “we never wanted you anyway” can be severely damaging to a child’s mental health, if a child thinks that it was the root cause of a parents divorce even if it already thinks that, it being vocalized by a parent confirms their thoughts that they are to blame even though the child has nothing to do with the parents marriage. this can cause a child to spiral into a loop of depression and/or anxiety problems later on in life.

  109. siobhan says:

    ermm ‘because i said so’ is not particularly harmful to a child in any way, but it does create a loot of frustration in the child when they dont actually understand why.. lets face it ‘because i said so’ isn’t a reason.. it basically saying ‘because my opinions more important than yours’ .. and in refrence to whoever it was earlier that said that saying because i said so to answer their child’s question of why they cant have pudding for dinner’ is ok…. i would have thought that ‘because its not healthy’ would be a more acceptable answer so they understand why, and not just think that their parents are being stubborn?
    i personally think it shouldnt be used, and if you’ve already explained why then say ‘i’ve already told you, i wont tell you again’ and then move onto a different topic?

  110. backlinkuri says:

    Bestial, e exact ce cautam eu de foarte multa vreme .tnx

  111. Jess says:

    ‘Because I said so’ seems to be what parents say when they realise they don’t have a reason or have lost the arguement, funny thing is they don’t realise the kid knows that’s the reason so it’s pretty ineffective lol

  112. Cole says:

    “You should be ashamed of yourself” and “because I said so” are fine and should be used more often. The suggested alternatives are much, much worse because they teach children precisely the wrong lessons.

    If a parent says “I am disapointed”, it tells the child that what they did was wrong because of how it made the parent feel. The corrolary is, if the parent doesn’t find out then they aren’t disapointed and the bad behavior is OK. On the other hand, “you should be ashamed” tells the child that some actions are wrong regardless of whether they get caught. When children (and grown-ups) do something that they know is wrong, they should feel ashamed. It’s also called “having a conscience”.

    From the earliest ages children challenge parental authority in order to figure out the limits of acceptable behavior. Most of us are familiar with the toddler who has just learned to walk and tries to make the “big getaway”. When the parent restrains them they know “OK, that’s as far as I can go.” Naturally, the range of acceptable behaviour expands as the child gets older but the idea of limits never completely disappears. In my experience, the trick to raising well adjusted kids is to give them lots of freedom within well defined boundaries, but when they approach those boundaries parents have to be able to say “STOP” without being challenged. If the child asks “why”, the correct answer is “because I said so.” If the parent is forced to explain then they have lost all authority and the child is in charge. Deep down this terrifies them because they know they are not ready for that kind of responsiblity, so they act out.

    This does not mean that every parent has to be a tyrant. You can explain the rules later at a time of your choosing (say over dinner), but in the heat of the moment somebody has to be in charge and it had better be the parent. If you say “I am disappointed” to your kids and are forced to justify every decision, they will end up with no conscience and no sense of boundaries. That’s a bad recipe for society.

  113. a says:

    I’ve used the I said so line. My kiddos question plenty and have arguements for most reasons I giveso yeah there comes a point when it’s simply I’m the adult and I decide. I usually get a why to that as well then the answer is b/c I bought it, or it’s my house and there’s the door if you don’t like it.

    I’ve also done the I’ll leave without you. mostly in the form of ” where am I at, where should you be, and who do you plan to go home with” when they start to wonder in the store. Thats not abondonment. Thats me saying hey I can’t do my job and keep you safe if you aren’t with me. It’s putting it in their hands to make a choice.

    And I’ve compared my kids. They often start in with but I’m smarter or whatever else and I’ll compare them. I’ll list of each of their strengths and weaknesses. They need to know that being good at one thing doesn’t make them a better person, cuz we all suck at something and excel at something.

    It’s all about context and how you explain it so it is a positive lesson, not just a bashing.

  114. Cath says:

    I NEVER allowed my children to use “stupid” when describing themselves or anyone else. Actions can be stupid, but not people. It always hurts to be called that (speaking from experience)!!

  115. ClaraBelle says:

    My mom’s favorite is/was, “You don’t know what you’re talking about.” Ever since I was a kid, she’s said that to me when I’ve expressed an opinion that differed from hers, even if it is/was valid. It made me feel like my opinions didn’t matter & were stupid, so I just stopped trying to talk to her, which ended up in me moving out when I was 17 with the sole purpose of getting away from her. I am 30 now & she still doesn’t understand why I moved out or why I hesitate to talk to her. She still tells me that I don’t know what I’m talking about when our opinions differ. I feel that I am a failure as a parent in her eyes, and that not only hurts immeasurably, but makes me feel that I need to constantly second guess myself as well.
    She also made it clear that she only stayed with my dad until I was a teen because of me. I felt responsible for her unhappiness for a long time & many times wished that I’d never been born (even when I was 8 – 10 years old).
    I delete most of the comments I type out on sites like this because my inner voice is saying, “You’re stupid & no one wants to hear what you have to say.” I have also been socially avoidant & severely depressed since my pre-teen years. If you think that what you say doesn’t matter or stick with your kid (even adult kids!), please think again.

  116. ARS says:

    I have a close friend whose mother always told him that he is “retarted because his dad beat her when she was pregnant” Then on his 19th birthday she told him that that wasn’t true but that hes retartded “because I tried to abort you” “didn’t want you because I wanted a girl” I don’t understand why anyone would say this to a child. I have had several arguments with my husband about my son (his stepson). He had said quite loudly when we have argued that “Hes not my son” I’ve told him this hurts me and if my son ever hears it it will crush him. Hes six years old and my husband is the only father hes ever known. Also its not just words that hurt its also actions. My parents favored my brother and he is still spoiled to this day(hes 21). And I a can see it already with my husband favoring our 2 year old daughter. Actions are just as hurtful if not more. O always feel like no matter what I do I will never be “as good” as my brother because of all the favoritism. I doubt they even realize that all the acting out I did as a teenager was so that I could get the attention he was getting.

  117. Old fashioned mom says:

    I am a 23 year old mother of two. I have a 5 yr old daughter and a 2 yr old son. I was raised very old fashioned and I will raise my children the same because I do not want my children to be one of the many fit throwing gets everything they want kind of kids. I teach right from wrong we have no middle ground in my house . I agree with the other posts shame is needed disappointment isn’t (as pointed out will just cause the child to hide disappointing thing) as I said my daughter is 5 and I do not treat her like a regular helpless 5 year old. She is very self sufficient and respectful and out spoken. She doesn’t talk back and uses her manners . She doesn’t raise her voice at me or her father and we do not tolerate fits. I raised her this way for a reason look down on me if you want, but I am proud of my child. I instilled shame early ie… She was sitting at the park with a dress on and she was showing her panties, I leaned over and told her she ought to be ashamed to show her panties to anyone because we keep our legs closed and act like a lady who keeps the color of her panties secret. This worked! I would rather my child be ashamed that a little boy saw her panties than be on the next episode of teen mom. A shameless society is what has gotten us where we are today. Don’t worry about stepping on someone’s toes about the way you raise your kids just raise them right instill morals, shame, gratitude, kindness, and respect early and you will have done your part to change the world. My 5 year old tells everyone she is gonna change the world and I couldn’t be more proud of who she already is at this age. I am looked down upon by moms my age because I am stern with my kids and like I said we have no grey area but I am not gonna stop raising my kids this way because someone doesn’t wanna step on toes. I got boots on I don’t care one bit to go for a walk! Thanks and I hope there are more parents with the same thoughts.

  118. g baum says:

    I’ve got a couple to add. How about “did you think that was smart” if you say yes you get smacked for talking back, if you say no then you get smacked because “why did you do it then”.No matter how you answer you get smacked, and then your mother comes out with “I have to pay him to talk”, no shit. Another good one is “he’s useless, good for nothing, I don’t what’s going to come of him”. Thanks for helping my self esteem Mom. Now she wonders why I’ve been on anti-anxiety and anti-depressant drugs for years. Duh.

  119. e says:

    My mom always said because I said so and never really explained what she wanted from me. Still does this and I’m nearly 30 and have a toddler and second one on the way. She also always did it for me 1) because it would be faster and easier for her 2) it would be done better than if I did it 3) she could take credit and be the hero. I let my toddler help me do a lot of stuff even though I’m aware I.could do it better because then she’s proud of herself and learns self help skills. I let her struggle a bit before helping much to both my parents dismay. I never want my kids to feel helpless or worthless just because doing everything for them would make life easier for me. Ofc I help her do stuff.

  120. e says:

    My mom always said because I said so and never really explained what she wanted from me. Still does this and I’m nearly 30 and have a toddler and second one on the way. She also always did it for me 1) because it would be faster and easier for her 2) it would be done better than if I did it 3) she could take credit and be the hero. She also always spoke for me or if I talked repeated what I said even though I made myself perfectly clear the first time. I’m a totally different parent… I let my toddler help me do a lot of stuff even though I’m aware I.could do it better because then she’s proud of herself and learns self help skills. I let her struggle a bit before helping much to both my parents dismay. I never want my kids to feel helpless or worthless just because doing everything for them would make life easier for me. Ofc I help her do stuff but I always let her try to speak for herself but usually needs translation since she’s not quite 2 yet and let her experiment doing other things.

  121. caz says:

    One thing that my mother used to say to my sisters and I was, “i brought you in this world, and I can/will take you out” this still lingers with me today at 31.i literally would picture this in my minds after my mom would say it, and yes it inspired fear and uncertainty in my young mind wondering if mom was capable of this. My mom is deceased but I have to admit I hold a lot of resentment for some of the things she would say or do. My mom was old school, and now that I’ma parent, I try my best to not do some things as she did.

  122. mila says:

    My father used to say: “I cannot wait when you will be 18 and I can kick you out”…I did not give him a chance and left on my own… Now, that place he rented I bought it for me…And I let him live there….We have much better relationship now that I am 38 and have children on my own….But I still wish I could tell him ” You still wanna kick me out? Out of where? You live in MY HOUSE”…. However, he created a trauma in me that I would be homeless. Now, I own 1 house and 3 condos just because of that trauma….(I paid them all off)….

  123. Jen Beck says:

    The photo is…disturbing.

  124. Dana says:

    “The 7 Worst Things You Can Say To Your Child”? There are a couple that are not good- the divorce one…yeesh, but the 7 worst? No. Clearly, many other kids were completely unaffected by many of these things being said to them while growing up. No way am I going to judge that!
    I have just read all of the comments posted. I must say there are some very clever, insightful & smart people who are a pleasure to read. Others are angry, get personal and hurtful to people who post whom they don’t even know. Complete strangers (!) and they start their replies by saying things like “…I am guessing…” Yes! You are guessing! Stop guessing. Calm down. We’re just here to exchange thoughts and ideas, not attack each other.

  125. Diane says:

    I am a divorced parent of two children ages 20 and 24 as well. I don’t regret having them, they are my joy and pride, I regret having them from the man that fathered them.

  126. ikon0304 says:

    because i said so is a valid answer to any question. if i try and explain to you the reason i am saying no, you just wont like the answer and argue with me about it for an hour. because i said so says it all in 4 words..short sweet and to the point.

  127. sheyla says:

    Dont push your kids around to much they will learn how to be very good educated adults when thew time comes like around 12 or 13 years !!!!!!

  128. don says:

    children as well as animals are a whole lot smarter than we give them credit for. if we go with the big me little you, its my job to tell you no and I don’t have to explain myself, what happens when your not there to tell them no? and they’re free to make that judgement call on there own with no education other than I said no.
    you need to explain why something is not good for them and help them to see in definition, and deep details from time to time so they can understand where we’re coming from and why they should probably make the same decision when your not available or around. I understand that we as adults don’t always have the time, say in a check out line and, but we should make every attempt to make the time.

  129. dustin chastain says:

    I just have to say that through reading all of these topics and the comments. It is a little unnerving that everyone seems to think that they are experts. You all crack me up. These articles are for ‘entertainment’ purposes only. If you take them serious then that’s your own fault. Stop pretending and do something that matters. (That can be almost anything, really). Just saying…

  130. catherine says:

    My mother often told people how she cured my temper tantrums when I was a toddler. If I kicked off in a public place, she`d walk off & leave me, & I`d stop misbehaving & run after her. I develpoed behavioural problems later on in childhood, & she never understood what she`d done wrong. She was a very stupid woman & a lousy mother who should never have reproduced!

  131. One of the worst things my mother could say to me was “Because I said so.” That was the exact phrase she used when I decided to run away.

    Even worse, I hear parents tell their kids, “I don’t care.” If that is true, why did these people even have children? If you do care, at least care enough to give a simple explanation or direction, or find another phrase to use. “I don’t care” really stings.

  132. Kassy says:

    I’ve heard more than one of these come from my parent’s mouths. Especially my mother. And I can say that these have had horrible affects upon both me and my younger brother. “Because I said so,” for one, has always been a first response for my parents. When I was younger, I literally wanted to know why I had to do whatever action I was being told to do, being a curious being. As I grew older, I knew if I said ‘Why?” I would get that answer, but I did it anyways, just to be rebellious. But there were some times when I legitimatly wanted to know why, what was the reason for said action? What was it going to do?

    I think though, one of the worst ones I’ve heard spill out of my mother’s mouth was always “Why can’t you be more like your brother/sister?” i have four brothers, three older and one younger, and an older sister. I’ve always been compared to them, so hearing “Why can’t you be more like (insert name of sibling here [Usually it was my sister])?” Pissed me off the most. I hated being compared to my siblings, knowing all the things they did on the side that my ever-oblivious mother didn’t see. I just wanted to be myself. Eventually, I started asking the question “Why CAN’T I be more like them?” And so I started copying what they did, from their hobbies to the way they carried themselves. And of course (no surprise!) she still always said “Why can’t you be more like ___?”

    Another one I’ve always heard from my mother, and even the mothers of some of my friends, and one I consider the absolute worst thing to EVER say to ANY child is “You’re worthless/You’re a mistake/You’ll never amount to anything.” It breeds self hate in the child and (trust me) they later develope self-esteem issues and usually end up having to seek proffessional help.

    I won’t prattle on and on about how horrible my mother was to me. But let’s just say, at eighteen years old, self-enrolled in Job Corps (meaning *I* did the research and *I* made the appointments and *I* made sure I was able to *get* to those appointments, even if it ment taking the bus, and *I* made sure I had absolutely everything I needed before I left and *I* made sure I had my room all nice and packed, and all I required of them was some money for snacks and lunch for the bus ride to center and a ride to/from my appointments and to the bus station), with a loving boyfriend, and no child on the way, I can confidently say I’m in a much better place than she was at my age. But, I’m still on anti-depressants and I still have self-esteem issues from all the things I’ve heard that she-devil say about/to me the past eighteen years. But, I figure I can give her The Bird and horde over her head my (currently) three certifications and the other nine or ten certs I will have obtained by the time I leave here, not to mention the high school diploma, driver’s liscence, and option of going straight to college after I’m done. All paid for by the lovely government, while she is busy keeping a job, getting a full time job, and paying for the masters she’s trying to work on for teaching at the ripe old age of 47.

  133. Bee says:

    With the exception of ‘you’re the reason we’re divorce’ one parent said all those things to me over and over again, the other just didn’t talk! I interpreted what was said as, my goodness we kids are really stressing you guys out! So my greatest fear was having children. I don’t ever remember being told I was loved or remember being hugged but I was not beaten and I was given all the ‘things’ I wanted. To this day I’m so thankful I don’t have the burden of children and if I had to go through childhood again, I still would prefer to be given every ‘thing’ I desired – keep the hugs.

  134. pepper says:

    I have personally stopped my 5 year old niece from running through a store weilding a very pointy curtain rod, taken a bag of Dorito’s out of her hot little still awake hands after midnight, had to tell her parents she was texting me after midnight on a school night because, yes, they gave 7 year old a cell phone and never set the parental controls or checked up on it and I had to teach her the dangers of being on the internet alone without adult supervision. She told me-”I’m not mad at you Auntie, I know you were just looking out for me.” She knows that because I say so is because she needs to be raised properly and her parents provide no boundaries. I am not going to include her in private adult family discussions while she watches rated R movies and asks me questions I wouldn’t answer if my mother asked. It’s called age appropriate.

  135. Connie says:

    There is no power struggle when I say “because I said so” because I am the only one in my house with power! That’s what’s wrong, kids have too much power.
    Want to hear the 7 things you should say to your kids? Just ask me. My only title is mom though so you may not believe my answer.

  136. Trish says:

    If we say “Because I said so”, how are children supposed to learn from that and be able to make the right decisions on a day when you are not with them. I always give my children a reason why. If they continue with the why’s, then I tell them I have already given them my reasoning, and ask them “why did I say?”. On the very rare occasion they’ll ask “why?”, and it makes me realize I really don’t have a good reason, maybe it’s up for discussion!

  137. Lisa says:

    One thing I heard that really did some damage was “you are crazy. You need a psychiatrist.” Funny thing is, I did see a psychiatrist. Turns out, I wasn’t the crazy one, but I still doubt my sanity and fear losing my mind someday. “Because I said so” didn’t faze me, really. Threats of abandonment hurt, but I think they also made me more independent. Oh well. Doesn’t matter so much now. I’ve made peace with my mom and she knows the mistakes she made. All things considered, I was a very lucky child and turned out fine.

  138. María says:

    Well, yes, that’s why they say such things…

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