Telling troubled children not to cry, that they are fine and have nothing to be afraid of, may sound like words of reassurance to parents.
But now, a psychologist has revealed that such statements may do the little ones more harm than good.
In addition to leaving children feeling invalidated, the above comments can cause them to suppress their emotions and not open up in the future.
This is according to Dr Amanda Gummer, who told MailOnline the five phrases parents should never say.
The way a parent manages and responds to a child’s emotions can greatly influence how they manage it in the future (stock image)
“Stop crying” or ‘do not Cry’
It may be tempting to ask the baby to stop crying.
However, it can lead young people to suppress their feelings, according to Dr. Gummer, founder of FUNdamentally Children’s industry consulting firm.
‘It’s important for children to express their feelings,’ she said, ‘and crying can be a natural and healthy way to do that.
“Telling a baby to stop or not to cry may make him feel ashamed or that his emotions are not right.”
Parents should tell upset children that they understand how they are feeling, according to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.
She also recommends using a book or getting their attention on something else if the child is crying as part of a tantrum.
How parents should deal with their children’s stress, according to a psychologist
Dr Amanda Gummer, a psychologist from Hertfordshire, revealed to MailOnline how parents can deal with their children’s stress.
Creating a safe and supportive environment: Children need to feel safe and supported to deal with stress.
Scientific relaxation techniques: Learning relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or meditation, can help children calm their minds and bodies when they are feeling stressed.
Encouraging physical activity: Regular physical activity can help reduce stress and improve mood – and it can set an example! Finding fun activities to do together as a family can really help.
Develop good sleep habits: Kids need enough sleep to function well and manage stress. Parents can encourage healthy sleep habits by establishing a consistent bedtime routine and creating a calm, restful sleep environment.
Promote positive self-talk: Encouraging children to use positive self-talk can help build resilience and cope with stress.
“No big deal” or “You’re fine”
Parents may think that they are calming their children by telling them that they are okay, or that they are upset about nothing.
But Dr. Gummer, who also founded The Good Play Guide, which provides expert opinions on toys and advice on how to play with children, said it’s vital not to underestimate their feelings.
Rather than making them feel better, she said, these statements actually risk making a child think their feelings aren’t important.
She added, “Even if a situation seems minor to an adult, it can be a major problem for a child.
“Belittling their feelings can make them feel rejected or invalidated.”
Instead, parents should reassure their children with comments like “I’m here for you” or “I can see you’re upset, do you want to talk about it?” Dr. Gummer said.
“I told you so” or “You should have known better”
Phrases criticizing children for doing something wrong, Dr. Gummer said, are not helpful.
Young people are curious and blaming a problem on them may avoid turning to their parents for help in the future.
She said, “Blaming or shaming a child for their distress can make them feel bad and may discourage them from seeking help or opening up in the future.”
Experts also warn that even if parents think these phrases help teach their children a lesson, they actually increase their defenses.
As a result, youngsters are less likely to learn from experience.
“Don’t be afraid” or “tThere is nothing to be afraid of.”
Monsters in the closet, barking dogs and loud thunder are all common fears among children.
Telling them not to be afraid or afraid may seem like comforting advice.
But in fact, it hides the roots of the child’s feelings.
Dismissing a child’s fears can make them feel lonely and unsupported, Dr. Gummer said. Instead, validate their feelings and offer reassurance and support.
The US-based charity Child Mind Institute recommends taking a child’s fears seriously, asking why they seem scary and setting goals to overcome them.
Psychologist Dr Amanda Gummer revealed to MailOnline the phrases you should avoid saying to your children
“just cheer up” or “be happy”
Telling a child to “cheer up” or “be happy” when they’re upset may sound like practical advice.
It may cause them to feel that it is not okay to be sad, Dr. Junner warned.
Whether a pet or loved one dies, or a friend moves away, kids should be told that it’s OK to grieve, experts say.
It’s not always easy to ‘cheer up’ when you’re feeling down or upset.
“This can make the child feel that their feelings are not valid or that they are not allowed to feel sad or upset.”