No Go Parenting Words, , woman with finger on lipsI came across this article this week about words that are considered ‘dirty’ words to use in parenting. Please take a look at Parenting Styles: Should you delete these ‘Dirty Words’ from your Parenting Vocab? I think there is great truth in the article in some parts. When I was a child parents did call their children badly behaved and it was okay to use that terminology. Not anymore – well not for most parents. We seem to be a lot more choosy about the words we use as we are more conscious of labelling a child. I personally don’t think ‘bad’ and ‘disappointed’ are nice words to use in relation to a child’s behaviour, especially to their face.

In terms of the words ‘punishment’ and ‘discipline’ we seem to have taken the former out of our dictionary more than the latter. Punishment has such strong negative connotations. A child thinks that if they are going to be punished something really awful is going to happen and that can be scary for a child to hear. A consequence is a much softer word. We don’t get punished in the workplace for example – there are consequences to our actions so why not use that with children.  As for discipline I think we still use it. The children I coach still use it and so I don’t object to it so much.

The dirty word I don’t agree with is the word ‘no’. I am a firm believer in using the word ‘no’. Children need to hear a harsh ‘no’. It builds resilience and understanding that they cannot have everything they want. Why do we need to soften the word so that we are protecting the child? Correct me if I am wrong but that is how I have interpreted it in the article. I also think we should keep the word ‘lost’ in our parenting dictionary. I totally agree that put into context and not just ‘you lost’ works for children. It builds determination and resilience too. Let’s face it losing is a fact of life. We cannot all be winners all the time.

What No Go Parenting Words Would You Add To The List?

So what words would I add to the no go list? I think ‘naughty’. Knowing there is always a feeling behind the behaviour we should be using ‘not behaving as we would like’ Again it is another label. What word would you like to take out of the dictionary when it comes to raising children?

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Image courtesy of Michal Marcol /