‘Why do I have you as my child?’ tops most harmful things to say
“Why do I have you as my child?” and “why are you so stupid?” have each topped a list of the most damaging things parents can say to their children, according to a survey released Sunday by a civic group.
“Why do I have you as a child?” was voted the most damaging thing to say to block the communication of love between parents and children, according to an online survey by the Humanistic Education Foundation, which is dedicated to promoting humancentered education.
It was followed by “you let me down,” “shut up,” “then stay here, all by yourself,” “behave, and dad and mom will like you,” “don’t ever think I will help you,” “what’s all the crying about?” “why do you have to be different from the others?” “can’t you just be more careful?” and “hurry up, I am going to count to three.”
Another list ranks the most damaging things to say to impede children from learning to think for themselves.
“Why are you so stupid?” topped the list, followed by “you are so useless,” “you are hopeless with this poor grade,” “this is easy, why don’t you get it?” “why can’t you learn more from your brother (or any sibling or classmate)?” “you don’t have the talent,” “didn’t I teach you this before?” “judging from the poor grade you received, all the lessons I sent you to went to waste,” “you deserve to be punished by the teacher because you don’t do your homework well,” and “if your handwriting is bad-looking, it means you also look ugly.” The survey received 2,436 responses.
“Many fathers and mothers who responded to the survey said they have said these damaging things to their children without meaning to hurt them,” said Chen Sheng-ching ( ), a director at the foundation's education center.
This kind of language, even if said unintentionally, will hurt children and affect their development, Chen said.
He advised parents to replace this kind of damaging language with "do you need help?" because the child might just need some help, and acknowledging this would be the first step toward building a loving relationship.