Warning Bad Parent 9 Things You Shouldn't Say to Your Child Pragmatic Mom PragmaticMom best parenting advice

9 Things You Shouldn’t Say to Your Child

Things You Should Never Say to a Child

I found this great article on CNN.com and I’m afraid that while I don’t say all of these 9 things, the two I do say (#1 and #8), I say frequently.

So, as penance, I am posting on this to remind myself to stop it! If you need to know the rationale of why these 9 Things are no-nos, the full article is here and there is extensive explanation for each one. Actually, I say #9 too. 

1. ‘Leave me alone!’

2. ‘You’re so…’

3. ‘Don’t cry’

4. ‘Why can’t you be more like your sister?’

5. ‘You know better than that!’

6. ‘Stop or I’ll give you something to cry about!’

7. ‘Wait till daddy gets home!’

8. ‘Hurry up!’

9. ‘Great job!” or “Good girl!’


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By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. You aren’t a bad parent because you say some of these things to your children. The fact that you are open to reading, learning, and self reflection, says to me that you are a thinking, caring, growing parent.

    Without even reading the article, I understand why the author is advising parents not to say these things to children. But then, it’s my job to know this stuff. 🙂

    The reality is, in our society, we aren’t taught how to communicate clearly, in positive, respectful, authentic ways with each other… so kudos to you for realizing there might be better ways to communicate with your children, ways which will protect your relationship with them, and not make them feel bad about themselves for being children, having feelings, or making mistakes…

    The first step to making any change is realizing that there is something you might want to change, and you’ve already done that! You can always acknowledge to your children that you feel you’ve fallen into some bad habits when it comes to how you talk with them, and you want to work on changing that- what a great model it is for children to know and understand that their Mom is human, capable of making mistakes, and open to learning and growing.

    • To Lisa,
      Thank you so much for your empathetic comment. You are right that we aren’t a bad parent for saying these things (and they do slip out no matter now hard we try). I love the way you are so positive! Thank you!! It’s easy to beat ourselves up as parents!

  2. Nancy

    Why is great job bad? I don’t get it.

  3. So true! I would dare to say that there is not one parent who is not guilty of one of the listed no-nos.
    I published a similar article on my blog:
    We parents just have to strive to be better, I guess.

  4. Dee

    I’ve seen this list, too, and what I get from it is this: it’s another way to make parents feel guilty. I mean, really, NEVER say those things? Come on. I fully believe in a lot of soft-tempered parenting, but I think this list and the decree to never use these terms is a bit over the top. We all have bad days, we all have kids who can’t seem to get out the door, we are all HUMAN! Yes, don’t harm your child with words, but don’t beat yourself up over every single word that comes out of your mouth, either.

    • Hi Dee,
      You bring up a good point and I think it’s just good to read these kind of admonishing articles now and again just to remind ourselves of the reasons behind those 9 comments. I totally agree that you shouldn’t beat yourself up, but on the other hand, I really need to stop saying “Shut UUUPPPP!” when I’m over-the-top frustrated with my kids! (and that is not even on the list because I think it’s just an obvious one!). Ah parenting! The days are long but the years are short!

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