Parenting is challenging, and it's inevitable that a harsh word will inevitably slip out now and again. However, sometimes these seemingly offhanded comments can stay with kids well into adulthood. That's why it's wise to know the types of comments from your parents that mess up your self esteem.
In the best case scenario, your well-meaning parent might have misspoken in a moment of stress or anger. It happens. If this was the case, then you might be able to let go of the remark for good. After all, everyone says things they don't mean now and then.
On the other hand, however, sometimes parents do get deliberately harsh with their children. Whether they're pushing you to achieve at any cost or talking down to you in an attempt to bolster their own ego, these parental relationships may need some serious reassessment. If these awful comments have followed you into adulthood, then you may need to find ways to deflect this kind of language, or even minimize contact with toxic parents. (A trusted therapist could be an excellent ally in this endeavor.) At any rate, hopefully you will be able to see these nine comments for what they are, and refrain from passing on such scorn to your own children.
1. "Stop Acting Like Your Mother."
Well, these types of comments are just loaded to the brim, right? Sometimes feuding partners will take out their frustrations by criticizing one another to the children. But as noted on The Huffington Post, bad-mouthing the other parent is almost always hurtful to the child. In most cases, it's best for the parents to keep their problems to themselves.
2. "What's Wrong With You?"
If you need one comment that can make a person second-guess everything for life, then this one will do it. It directly states that something is, in fact, wrong with you in some way. This kind of doubt can wear at your self-esteem in no time.
3. "You're The Pretty One."
Or the smart one. Or the athletic one. As noted in Today's Parent, comparing siblings to one another can have lasting negative effects. Really, all people have talents and defects.
4. "Be More Like Your Brother."
Some parents may encourage you to behave more like a sibling, friend, or even fictional character. (Talk about setting the bar high). As explained in Learning Mind, it basically teaches children to focus on their shortcomings. Not to mention, you probably grew to hate whoever was held up as an ideal.
5. "Winning Is Everything."
OK, so this may not be said in as many words, but plenty of kids still get this message from parents loud and clear. But according to The Huffington Post, this behavior not only hurts a child's self-esteem, but it may also hamper chances at recruitment. After all, coaches don't want to deal with overbearing parents, either.
6. "You Were A Mistake."
In an ideal world, all children would be wanted. And even if you were an accident or a surprise, as many babies are, no parent should call their child a mistake. These are words that can sting a lifetime.
7. "You Should Know Better."
Sure, sometimes you really do know better. But according to Psychology Today, discipline should be about guiding a child toward better behavior, not shaming or belittling mistakes. After all, everybody screws up sometime.
8. "I Don't Have Time For You."
Few things feel worse than realizing you're near the bottom of your parents priorities. Granted, most parents get burned out from time to time, and everybody needs a chance to recharge now and then. But if your parent regularly shut you away for no apparent reason, then it's not at all bizarre if you continue to feel a bit of a sting from this treatment.
9. "You'll Be Pretty Once You Lose The Weight."
Few topics are more touchy than weight. And even the most well-meaning parent may make a backhanded comment about weight that sticks with you forever. However, it goes without saying that you are a worthwhile person at any size.