Sometimes words leave our mouths and we'd like to shove them right back in. Unfortunately, we don't have a rewind button. Once the words leave our lips, we've already made an impression on our kids.
Consider the following popular parent lines:
1. "Because I'm the adult." That's a problem because it explains nothing other than your age.
2. "I support you no matter what." Really? Even if they hurt other kids and destroy your home?
3. "You are too young to understand." Why not try to explain it to them in a way that they can understand?
4. "Because I said so." This is a very dismissive remark and provides no helpful information.
5. "Your sister was able to do that at your age." Way to make your child hate his sister. Use that line only if you want to encourage sibling rivalry.
6. " I don't know where you came from." You don't? Then, who does?
7. "Over my dead body." I guess that you're trying to say that you are not in favor of their plans but do you really need to invoke life and death images?
8. "Wait until your father/mother gets home." Why? Because you can't handle it or you'd rather have your partner be the bad guy?
9. "You are causing me so much stress." You thought having kids would reduce the stress level in your life?
10."It's all because of your friend." Your child is totally blameless? If your child wasn't upset before she will be now. Blaming the friend implies that your child is a total pushover.
If you didn't get the message that I'm trying to convey here then "maybe you'll understand when you get older." (Now, how did that feel?).
Barbara Greenberg and Jennifer Powell-Lunder are authors of the hit book, "Teenage as a Second Language: A Parent's Guide to Becoming Bilingual." They've set up an interactive website for parents and teens to listen, learn and discuss hot topics and daily dilemmas. You can find it at www.talkingteenage.com.