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These common sayings are hurting your kids

Collett is interviewed by Katie Skelly in Now to Love

Times have changed, and it seems that the things you tell your children offhandedly may actually be sending them destructive messages.

Child psychologist Collett Smart asserts, what we say to our kids has the power to shape their views and expectations – and not always for the better.

From excusing bad behaviour to stunting emotional growth, the below sayings – all of which you’ve definitely heard, if not said before – can have a seriously negative impact on your child’s life.

Here, Smart explains why…

“Man up/Be a man”

There are certainly times in a young man’s life that he needs to begin taking responsibility for his decisions and actions. However, telling a boy to ‘man up’ has often been used when a boy or male teen showed emotion.

The implication was that ‘boys don’t cry’ or men don’t show emotion, so they should ‘suck it up’, suppress the emotion and get on with whatever they were doing.

This is dangerous and destructive when used in this manner, as it assumes that boys or men shouldn’t be emotional, and when this happens, it seems the only ‘acceptable’ form of emotion is often anger or aggression.


“You’re special”

Former Playschool host Noni Hazlehurst put it best when she said to her sons: “You are not special; you’re unique but you’re not special – because if you’re special then someone else isn’t.”

We can certainly tell our children they are special TO US, but implying that your child is most special or more special than others may set them up to fail.


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