What Not to Say to your Toddler

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As a child expert, I understand the many challenges parents face while raising toddlers. Toddlers are at a crucial stage of development, learning about the world around them and forming their sense of self. Communication plays a vital role in this process. While it’s essential to guide and teach your toddler, it’s equally crucial to be mindful of the words you use. In this article, “What Not to Say to Your Toddler,” we will discover “11 things you should never say to your toddler”:

11 Things You Should Never Say to Your Toddler

1. Because I said so:

This phrase shuts down communication and doesn’t help your child understand the reasoning behind your decisions. Instead, explain the ‘why’ behind your requests, which can foster cooperation.

2. You’re a bad boy or girl:

Labeling your child as ‘bad’ can negatively impact their self-esteem and behavior. Instead, address the specific behavior you want to change and encourage positive actions.

3. You’re not a big kid:

Toddlers often want to be ‘big kids.’ Telling them otherwise can be discouraging. Acknowledge their efforts to be independent and offer appropriate responsibilities.

4. Stop crying:

Crying is a toddler’s way of expressing emotions. Telling them to stop can make them feel unheard. Instead, offer comfort and help them understand and manage their feelings.

5. You’re making a mess:

Toddlers are naturally curious and messy. This is part of their learning process. Encourage exploration while teaching them to clean up after themselves.

6. Hurry up:

Toddlers are still mastering basic skills, so they may take longer to get ready. Rushing them can create anxiety. Allow extra time for tasks and be patient.

7. I’ll do it for you:

While helping is essential, it’s equally important to let toddlers try things on their own. Encourage their independence and self-sufficiency.

8. You’re too young to understand:

Toddlers are more capable of understanding than we often give them credit for. Simplify your explanations, and they’ll surprise you with their comprehension.

9. You’re not as good as your sibling:

Comparing your child to their siblings can breed jealousy and resentment. Each child is unique and excels in their own way. Celebrate their individual strengths.

10. You’re a big boy/girl; act like it:

Expecting too much maturity too soon can overwhelm your toddler. Be mindful of age-appropriate expectations and encourage growth at their pace.

11. You’re giving me a headache:

Using guilt or frustration as a manipulation tactic can be harmful. Instead, communicate openly about your feelings and needs, modeling healthy emotional expression.

What are The Most Damaging Things to Say to a Child

The most damaging things to say to a child are statements that belittle, shame, or emotionally harm them. These include phrases that attack their self-esteem or make them feel unloved, worthless, or incapable. Examples of such damaging statements include:

  1. “I wish you were never born.”
  2. “You’re a mistake.”
  3. “You’re worthless.”
  4. “I don’t love you.”
  5. “You’re such a burden.”
  6. “You’ll never amount to anything.”
  7. “You’re so stupid.”
  8. “I’m ashamed of you.”
  9. “You always mess everything up.”
  10. “You’re such a disappointment.”

Saying such hurtful things can have severe and long-lasting emotional and psychological consequences for a child, impacting their self-esteem, mental health, and overall well-being. It’s essential to maintain a loving, supportive, and nurturing environment for children to thrive.


In conclusion, positive communication is key when interacting with your toddler. Encourage their curiosity, provide understanding, and be patient. Remember, they are learning and growing every day, and your words and actions can shape their self-esteem and emotional well-being. By avoiding these harmful phrases, you can foster a loving and supportive environment for your child’s development.

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