Study: The Top Negative Words Parents Use With Kids

It’s easy for parents to question their every move with their kids, second-guessing themselves about everything from what to make for dinner to signing their child up for soccer or piano lessons. While a lot of these decisions don’t matter much in the long run, it turns out one of the most important parts of parenting is using the right language when we talk with our kids. We might not be aware of it, but the words we use matter and can have lasting effects on both kids and parents.

A new study from Preply talks to more than 14-hundred parents across the U.S. to find out about the language they use with their children. The research reveals:

  • Some parents feel bad for the way they talk to their kids, 20% say they regret negative language they’ve used with them.
  • Three in 10 parents regret what they’ve said when trying to discourage certain behaviors.
  • Nearly half (43%) are conscious of using gender-stereotyped language with their children.
  • For parents of daughters, 48% are careful with words like “pretty” and “beautiful,” while 38% of parents with sons are mindful of using words like “strong” and “brave.”
  • The majority (87%) of parents admit they’ve made threats to their child when they were in trouble.
  • About a quarter of moms and dads say they’ve made their child feel selfish or bad, while one in five feel they’ve caused their child to think of themselves as a liar.
  • While 43% say they change the language they use when talking to other people’s kids.
  • Thinking of their own childhood, 61% wish their own parents used language differently with them.
  • The most common negative words used by parents are “naughty,” “spoiled,” “lazy,” “selfish,” “bad,” “liar,” and “stupid.”

Language expert Sylvia Johnson points out that the words we use regularly can influence the way we see ourselves, others and the world around us. She explains, “When directed towards others, negative language can harm relationships, lower self-esteem, and lead to a dispirited perspective toward life.”

Source: Scary Mommy

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