There are various things we tell our children, especially when we are trying to influence their behaviour. Most of them sound relatively harmless, but behind some words are messages that really hurt or can lay the foundation for future problems.

It is not just what you say, how you say it also counts to the children. From an early age they pay so much attention to your facial expressions, and they pick up powerful cues from the tone of your voice. Research has it that children as young as 2 years of age understand that a parent‘s tone can change the meaning of words, turning a compliment into a warning, for example. To communicate as effectively as possible, try to make sure that your tone, words and body language are all sending the same message.

Thus, we must note that every word we speak to our kids should have the same meaning with the thoughts of our hearts.

For example, it’s better to give specific praise to your child than tell him he’s perfect when he knows he is not. Using her father as a threat may come back to haunt all of you.

‘’If you loved me, you wouldn’t do that’’, a statement like this tries to control a child’s behaviour by pushing her guilt button. It’s better to give a child a reason to behave in a way that would please both of you than threatening or making guilty.

The act of comparing kids is quite damaging. These kids grow up to see themselves as competitors for a finite amount of parental love. Resist the urge to compare him with his siblings. Bribes won’t win you any parent-of-the-year points either.

Bribes are often given to elicit certain actions in specific situations (ice cream after sitting quietly when adults are discussing. Although ‘’rewards ‘’ such as gold stars are frequently recommended to get kids to cooperate, they don’t promote good behaviour.

Instead, discuss with your child how you’d like him to act, and then ask him what you can do to help him meet those expectations, with the reward being everyone’s happiness. Children are God’s gifts and they should be trained properly.

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