We’ve all had that unfortunate experience when, in a moment of distraction or desperation, we promise or tell our children something we later regret. Unfortunately for us, while a child’s perspective may be short sighted and juvenile, their stubbornness rivals that of any adult. Your best excuses and reasoning will not work on them, and if, by some chance, you are not able to deliver on what you said to them, they will NOT let it go.
So if you want to save yourself a lot of crying, tantrum throwing, repetitive questioning, and other unpleasant, angry child behaviors, watch what you say to your kids.
Here are 5 Things You Will Wish You Never Said to Your Child:
- Never, EVER, promise your child anything. Don’t promise them a toy, an ice cream cone, or even a walk to the park after lunch. Once you promise a child something, they consider it sealed in stone, carved on the walls, published in the New York Times, permenant, never to be forgotten or broken. If you DARE to break this holy covenant, they will cry, call you out for the liar that you are, and never trust your word again. It doesn’t matter that your excuse was the exploding baby diaper just as you went to pour the promised cup of milk. The jury of childhood emotions will find you guilty every, single time. Play it safe. Make no promises!
- Don’t ask your child to keep a secret, unless of course your goal was for everyone in the world to know about it. Even if the secret bearer is old enough to not run straight to dad or grandma and expose the sensitive information through a load of giggles, they’ll probably tell a friend, who tells a friend, who tells a friend, and next thing you know, you’ll be reading posts about it on facebook. Many a pregnancy has been outed this way, people. Take heed, and use caution.
- Under no circumstances should you ever ask your child if they would like to do something by themselves. They will either burst into tears at the abandonment you just served them, or possibly, even worse, refuse to ever let you help them with this task again. This is why little girls leave the house wearing 4 clashing shades of pink. One misplaced DIY suggestion, and just like that, mom lost all outfit picking power.
- Never give your children advance notice of an exciting event. Within 5 minutes of letting the announcement slip, the relentless Is it time yet? inquisition will begin. They will hound you first thing in the morning, throughout the long, long day, and the last words from their sleepy lips before bed will be, But you said we were going to go!! The fact that you informed them it would be next month is hardly relevant. You should have known better than to get their fun radar up like that. Surprise is your ally. Use it generously.
- Avoid saying the phrase Just a second. This never ends well. First of all, admit it. It’s a BIG, FAT LIE. You know it. Your kids know it. Everyone knows it, so unless you want your kids to have massive trust issues and trouble mastering the true concept of time, just be honest. You have no idea when you’re going to get to their latest, petty demand. Inform your child that you’ll get to it when you get to it, you make no promises, but, if the circumstances are just right, you would be happy to inform them when the task is complete.
You can’t be too careful when navigating conversation traps with your kids. There are just so many places you can go wrong. My advice, when in doubt, stick to safe topics like the weather, Legos, and, I love you.