with kids are actually quite destructive. Despite our good intentions， their internal guidance system， deceptive， to do as little as possible， and to give up when things get hard. Here’s a list of the top five things to eliminate from your vocabulary NOW if you want your child to grow up to be kind，-minded， I’ve also included alternatives so that you can replace these habitual statements with phrases that will actually encourage intrinsic motivation and emotional connection.
1 “Good Job!”
The biggest problem with this statement is that it’s often said repeatedly and for things a child hasn’t really put any effort into. This teaches children that anything is a “good job” when mom and dad say so .
Instead try， “You really tried hard on that!” on a child’s effort， we’re teaching her that the effort is more important than the results. This teaches children to be more persistent when they’
2 “Good boy !”
This statement， while said with good intentions， actually has the opposite effect you’re hoping for. Most parents say this as a way to boost a child’s self-esteem. Unfortunately， it has quite a different effect. When children hear “good girl!” after performing a task you’ve asked them for， they assume that they’re only “good” they’ve done what you’ as a “good kid” all about receiving the positive feedback they’re hoping for.
Instead， try “I appreciate it so much when you cooperate!” about what you’re wanting and how their behavior impacts your experience. You can even take your feelings out of it entirely and say something like， “I saw you share your toy with your friend.” This allows your child to decide for himself whether sharing is “good” and lets him choose to repeat the action from his internal motivation， to please you.
3 “What a beautiful picture!”
When we put our evaluations and judgments onto a child’s artwork， it actually robs them of the opportunity to judge and evaluate their own work.
Instead try， “I see red， blue and yellow! Can you tell me about your picture?” By making an observation， rather than offering an evaluation， you’re allowing your child to decide if the picture is beautiful or not， maybe she intended it to be a scary picture. And by asking her to tell you about it， you’re inviting her to begin to evaluate her own work and share her intent， skills that will serve her creativity as she matures and grows into the artist she is.
4 “Stop it right now， or else!”
Threatening a child is almost never a good idea. First of all， you’re teaching them a skill you don’ brute force or superior cunning to get what they want， even when the other person isn’t willing to cooperate. Secondly， you’re putting yourself in an awkward position in which you either have to follow through on your threats—exacting a punishment you threatened in the heat of your anger—or you can back down， teaching your child that your threats are meaningless. Either way， you’re not getting the result you want and you’re damaging your connection with your child.
While it can be difficult to resist the urge to threaten， try sharing vulnerably and redirecting to something more appropriate instead. “It’s NOT OK to hit your brother. I’m worried that he will get hurt， or he’ll retaliate and hurt you. If you’d like something to hit， you may hit a pillow， the couch or the bed.” By offering an alternative that is safer yet still allows the child to express her feelings you’re validating her emotions even as you set a clear boundary for her behavior. This will ultimately lead to better self-control and emotional wellbeing for your child.
5 “If you _____ then I’ll give you _____”
Bribing kids is equally destructive as it discourages them from frequently， you’ back and bite you. “No! I won’t clean my room unless you buy me Legos!”
Instead try， “Thank you so much for helping me clean up!” When we offer our genuine gratitude， children are intrinsically motivated to continue to help. And if your child hasn’t been very helpful lately， remind him of a time when he was. “Remember a few months ago when you helped me take out the trash? That was such a big help. Thanks!” that helping out is fun and intrinsically rewarding.
6 You’re so smart–
When we tell kids they’re smart， we think we’re helping to boost their self confidence and self-esteem. Unfortunately， giving this kind of character praise actually does the opposite. By telling kids they’re smart， we unintentionally send the message that they’re only smart when they get the grade， the goal， or produce the ideal result — and that’s a lot of pressure for a young person to live up to. Studies have shown that when we tell kids they’re smart after they’ a puzzle， they’re less likely to attempt a more difficult puzzle after. That’s kids are worried that if they don’t do well， we’ll no longer think they’re “smart.”
Instead， try telling kids that you appreciate their effort. on the effort， rather than the result， you’re letting a child know what really counts. Sure， solving the puzzle is fun， but so is attempting a puzzle that’ on the effort — “Wow you really tried hard on that!” — kids are far more likely to attempt a more challenging puzzle the next time.
7 Don’t cry–
Being with your child’s tears isn’t always easy. But when we say things like， “Don’t cry，” we’ kids to learn to stuff their emotions， which can ultimately lead to more explosive emotional outbursts.
Try holding space for your child as he cries. Say things like， “It’s OK to cry. Everyone needs to cry sometimes. I’ll be right here to listen to you.” You might even try verbalizing the feelings your child might be having， “You’re really disappointed that we can’t go to the park right now， huh?” This can help your child understand his feelings and learn to verbalize them sooner than he might otherwise. And by encouraging his emotional expression， you’re helping him learn to regulate his emotions， which is a crucial skill that will serve him throughout life.
8 I promise–
Broken promises hurt. Big time. And since life is clearly unpredictable， I’ removing this phrase from your vocabulary entirely.
Choose instead to be super honest with your child. “I know you really want to have a play date with Sarah this weekend and we’ll d up， so I can’t guarantee that it will happen this weekend.” Be sure you and breaking it deteriorates your connection， so be careful what you say， and then live up to your word as much as humanly possible.
One more note on this， if you do break your word， acknowledge it and apologize to your child. Remember， you’re teaching your kids how to behave when they fail to live up to their word. Breaking our word is something we all do at one time or another. And even if it’s over something that seems trivial to you， it could matter a lot to your child. So do your best to be an example of honesty， and when you’re not， step up and take responsibility for your failure.
9 It’s no big deal–
There are so many ways we minimize and belittle kids feelings， so watch out for this one. Children often value things tha