Words have power. They can uplift and edify. They can be full of praise and admiration. But they can also be critical and demoralizing.
And when it comes to saying important words to your child, it is even more important to make sure they are the right ones at the right times.
It used to be easy. Telling the child he is perfect was great, until experts said he might feel the compulsion to always strive for the never-attainable illusion of perfection.
Saying to your daughter, "You're so smart," seemed like a no-brainer until research came out linking that phrase with lack of motivation.
So what should a parent say to empower and encourage a child? Read on.
The people at Yahoo! Parenting polled experts on the subject and put together a list of key phrases parents should say to their children during the different stages of childhood.
Toddler Age: Say "Please do ..."
Toddlers are all about exploring this brave new world they have found themselves in. And along with that exploration comes the word "No," in a myriad of ways.
"No hands in the garbage!" " No, don't bite the cat!" "No, you can't have another lollipop."
Experts, especially those focused on positive parenting, say that parents should focus more on what they do want the child to do rather than on the negative.
"Please eat from the table." "Please have gentle hands." "Please eat some fruit." This approach is better tailored for a toddler's development, which means the child is more apt to execute the command.
Preschool Age: Say "Yes!"
By the time a child reaches preschool, they have heard the word "No" thousands of times. This has most likely taught them the fine art of begging, badgering and whining to get the things mom or dad said "No" to.
But what would happen if mom or dad were to say "Yes" to everything? That doesn't mean we should give them whatever they want.
If a 4-year-old wants to play his new drum set from Grandma and Grandpa but it's during his little brother's nap time, his mom could say, "Yes. I'd love to hear you play the drums. Let's do it as soon as nap time is over. "