Many times, in the heat of the moment we may use a label for a child that can have long term affects, especially if it is repeated. Consider a child who comes up to her mom and cries: “Mommy, Daddy called me stupid.” This form of humiliation can have lasting effects on a child. Whether it was said in the heat of the moment, or perhaps daddy had a bad day; it’s no excuse. Words hurt; it is an indelible rubber stamp of disapproval. Therefore, it is important to fully understand why labels can be destructive to children and lower your child self-esteem and self-confidence.
Every child needs to feel loved, accepted and respected. Using negative reinforcement to discipline a child will only yield unsatisfactory results. Labels produce negative reactions; and when used often, can become emotionally damaging to the child. Children look up to their parents; thus, there is no justification which motivates any parent in belittling a child. Addressing the child’s behavior in a negative manner can lead to a myriad of problems. The child may develop low self-esteem; increased erratic behavior; and affect their inter-relationship with siblings and peers.
A parent who loses their temper is a common occurrence. However when it is directed towards the child, who may not understand the reasons behind the outburst, it can produce devastating effects. It is vital for the parent to immediately apologize; using words which positively impact on the child’s psyche. As a parent, it is your duty to ensure the child knows he or she is loved, at that very moment, and not put off for another day. The fear and disappointment the child feels must be addressed with an apology, and/or an explanation.
Disciplinary action of a child must never be accompanied by harsh words. When disciplining a chld it is always best for the parent to stay calm and collective. If necessary, take a break and collect your thoughts. Think before you say anything further. Then have the child take a time out, or remove a favorite toy until your child improves their behavior. If you lose your temper your child will learn what those hot spots are and it will be easy for things to escalate into a shouting match which almost never solves anything and just causes resentment. Later, after you calmly disciplined your child, talk about why the behavior was disciplined; then hug the child in a reassuring way. Let the child know you still love him or her. This will have a much more lasting affect. Words can impact a child’s life; positively and negatively. If you, as a parent, cannot control the emotional abuse; seek help. It is the very least you can do to ensure your child’s psychological state is not compromised in any way.