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7 Things You Should Never Say to Your Toddler

By Monica Bielanko |

Telling my son not to touch something is like sending him an invitation in the mail to PLEASE! COME MESS WITH MY STUFF!

As I’ve mentioned before, dealing with a toddler is often like trying to handle a drunk frat boy on acid.

Nothing makes sense. To you or them.

Why are you stuck in that cupboard?

I don’t know.

How come you’re eating the dirt?

I don’t know.

Why did you smear poop on the wall?

It’s pretty? (At least it’s an answer)

But that’s just the frat boys; toddlers can do some crazy stuff too.

That’s why it can be hard to know what to say or what not to say on a minute to minute basis, and that’s when you’re really trying to do a great parenting job. Often, you’re in the middle of paying bills or making dinner or a million other things and your kid is in your way, trying to keep you from doing what needs doing as aggressively as any NBA player blocking an opponent from making a basket. But, as any parent of a toddler knows, there is way more fouling in parenting than on the court.

You know what happens next, right? You blow up like Ron Artest  Metta World Peace on the hardwoods and say something you don’t really mean. Or you really mean it but don’t want your kid to know that. Something like “Leave me alone!  Go away!”

I’m guilty of that and a couple other things and maybe you are too?  Read on for some of the most common verbal mistakes moms and dads make when dealing with their toddlers and some tips on what to say instead.

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What NOT to Say to Your Toddler

Stop Crying!

Kids, especially toddlers, have a hard time articulating their feelings. Hell, most adults do too. So they cry. Toddlers do, I mean. But adults do too! Your crying toddler might be sad, they might be scared and they might be pissed you turned off their cartoon. Either way, they're expressing their emotions. As CNN reports, Debbie Glasser, Ph.D., and childhood expert says that telling a child to stop crying or to not be a baby "doesn't make a child feel better, and it also can send the message that his emotions aren't valid -- that it's not okay to be sad or scared." Instead say something like "It must make you sad when your friend won't share" or "I know the waves can be scary, I'll stay right with you the whole time." That way, you're not only naming the emotion for the child and helping him or her express themselves but you're validating the emotion as well. Yay for you! Go Team Mom and Dad!

For more things you shouldn’t say to your child jump on over to

Read more from Monica on Toddler Times:

10 Things I Want My Daughter To Know

What Were They Thinking?! The Most Age-Inappropriate Toddler Gear

20 Everyday Items My Toddler Finds Fascinating

You can also find Monica on her personal blog, The Girl Who.


15 things NOT to do with your toddler
25 things every kid should experience
10 toddler truths every parent should know
12 foods you shouldn’t feed your kids… but probably do
25 cringe-worthy photos of stuff kids have ruined

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About Monica Bielanko


Monica Bielanko

Monica Bielanko was raised on the wild frontier of late 1970's Utah. She is a recovering Mormon who married the guitar player of an unknown band. She's been married to her Babble Voices writing partner, Serge Bielanko, for the past nine years. Her personal blog, The Girl Who was in the top ten of last year's Top 50 list. Read bio and latest posts → Read Monica's latest posts →

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4 thoughts on “7 Things You Should Never Say to Your Toddler

  1. Rose Ruiz says:

    I was I have known the list 35 years ago. I am guilty of all these. But at least it is not late for me as a grandmother of three growing toddlers. I called them my “three little monsters” but I love them very much. Thanks for reminding us..

  2. Carmen Ramos says:

    Thank you for the things you should never say to the toddlers which most mom do. Its great reminders to both parents and teachers of toddlers. Children are so wonderful to be with if we understand their developmental needs. Children grow with what they live. If we treat them with kindness they learn to be kind, if we trust them they learn to be honest, If we praise them they learn to love the world! Have a great time parenting the toddler, we can make of unmake their formative years.

  3. Lisa R. says:

    I swear articles like this are written only to make us all feel like failures as parents. Show me a parent who has never said “hurry up” or “stop crying” or “don’t touch that” to a child, to a toddler! If you find one, that parent is lying. Being a parent is HARD (if you’re doing it right). The idea that every time our kids try our patience (like 10,000 times a day) we are going to be reasonable & rational & talk to them like we’re psychologists is absurd, and articles like this are designed to just make us all feel guilty & bad. No one should ever verbally abuse a child. But if you are mostly doing it right, and sometimes you lose it & yell at your kid to “STOP CRYING!!” it does NOT make you a bad parent. It makes you human. We already live in a world where we feel intimidated into never asking for help. Articles like this only make it worse.

  4. Ginger says:

    Problem is, a lot of these are designed around not making a child feel “guilty.” certainly, in the real world, you cannot always cry, be late, be mean, touch, or smear poop. Parents keep forgetting that while we should certainly be concerned with raising emotionally healthy children, the MAIN job is to raise functioning adults.

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