Understanding and Overcoming Your Pre-Wedding Jitters and On-the-day...
Here's where I recommend when parents should zip it!
What parents say to their children can profoundly effect their emotional well-being. In our stressful lives, juggling career and family, it's easy to unleash a torrent of hurtful words. And we forget when snapping at a child how big and tall we look - frightening when looking up at an angry parent. The result can be damaging.
Many adults remember unkind remarks from childhood. Recently I coached a client who couldn't forget her mother saying she “wished she'd never been born”. Undoubtedly her mother didn't mean this but had reached the end of her tether. Thirty years later, though, those words retained their sting.
Here are the seven worst things to avoid saying to your child.
1/ What’s Said: "Your sister/brother always does X, Y or Z better than you!" Or "Why can’t you be more like your so-and-so?"
The Damage Done: Any negative comparison initiates a sense of failure and also establishes sibling rivalry. If you tell your child that, e.g., their sister always does as she's told, then that child starts to hate their sister.
Alternative To Try: If you want your child to do something better, differently, etc., then suggest it without a negative comparison. Say, "Just think, if you get your school work done quicker you can go out to the park sooner." Keep repeating such "logical" messages.
2/ What’s Said: "You’re stupid," or, "you’re bad," or, "a waste of space!"
The Damage Done: All children can be annoying at times. But this is a sure-fire way to get your child believing they are stupid or bad. Children don't have the psychological mechanisms in place to realise their parent is referring to their behaviour at that time. They believe 100% their parent means they’re, e.g., bad across the board leading to poor self-esteem - and bad behaviour!
Alternative To Try: Tell your child that this particular behaviour is annoying, unacceptable, etc., without reflecting it on them as a whole person. Explain that that this behaviour will not be tolerated without making them feel they're bad through and through.
3/ What’s Said: "I wish I'd never had you!"
The Damage Done: As with my client, a child who hears this never forgets it. It’s terribly cruel and leaves a child thinking their whole existence is a problem for their parents.
Alternative To Try: When at your wit’s end it's better to say, "Mummy’s very stressed and has to go sit quietly for a moment." By saying that you're stressed it reflects on you rather then your child. Calm down and then tackle the misbehaviour in a rational way. This provides a good role model showing parents can get upset but take control, calm down and then sort it out.
4/ What’s Said: "I told you so!" Very tempting to say when you could’ve predicted something your child was doing would go wrong.
The Damage Done: Children need to learn from their mistakes rather than to be embarrassed by them - saying this adds humiliation. It makes a child wary of learning how to do things for themselves, thinking they'll always do it wrong.
Alternative To Try: Say something like, "I wonder what you could’ve done differently?" Or, "Did you learn something from this?" This develops trust with your child that you’re not always going to ridicule them.
5/ What’s Said: "Big boys don't cry!"
The Damage Done: Having your son always bury his hurt feelings means he doesn't learn to discuss them, leading to anxiety over difficult emotions. You might establish long-term communication problems.
Alternative To Try: When your son’s hurt or worried give him a hug, ask what's up, and tell him you understand. With this approach tears dry up quickly.
6/ What’s Said: "Hurry up or I'm going to leave you behind!"
The Damage Done: You know you're not going to abandon your child, but they don't. Fear of abandonment is a big issue for children. They think in literal terms rather than thinking you're simply threatening them. Particularly if you’re divorced this issue may already be lurking in your child's mind.
Alternative To Try: When your child’s being slow, stop what you’re doing, focus on what's holding them up, and learn for next time how to instigate a more efficient routine. For example, maybe your child needs 10 extra minutes to get dressed before school - set the alarm 10 minutes earlier.
7/ What’s Said: "Do you know what happens to children that X, Y or Z…" followed by some horrible, imaginary punishment like a monster swallowing them up.
The Damage Done: Particularly with young children they don't realise that the "bad witch that eats naughty children" doesn't exist. You can set off nightmares and childhood fears with such threats.
Alternative To Try: If your child won't eat their dinner, tidy up, etc., make it into a game. Tell them you'll time them doing the activity and excitedly say, "let's see if you can beat my time!" Children love harmless competition. If they’re still not doing as asked, you can, e.g., switch off the TV telling them that once things are done they can have it on.
Do tell them you love them, praise them, and ask what they're thinking!
Published in The Express Newspaper
My new book The Emotional Eater's Diet is published in the UK on May 15 - I’m very excited as I hope emotional eaters - women or men will find it helpful. Each year 2/3s of people start a diet and 20% start a new diet each month. Yet 95% of diets aren’t successful.
I firmly believe that emotional eating to soothe difficult feelings is the culprit behind most of this failure. My book has a huge range of practical tips/strategies to help understand your emotions and manage your appetite. There are mini-quizes and real case studies.
It’s available to preorder on Amazon. Please remember that food can fuel your energy needs but not your emotional needs. Take care!
I'm delighted that my latest book Sex Academy was endorsed by my fellow self-help author Siski Green who said: "Sex Academy really is THE Bible of sex books. The lessons and lectures cover the A-Z of everything you want to know - from Anal sex to getting Zero sex." I hope you enjoy it!
I was so excited and HAPPY to write this book on happiness covering my 10 unique Happiness Principles. I hope it helps increase your well-being, contentment, and happiness. I've packed it with dozens and dozens of easy-to-use strategies, plus life-changing insights. Based on about five years of collecting case studies and research I hope you'll find it helpful.
My latest sex guide's out - I've gone through thousands of questions people ask me about sex - from why they don't feel desire to how to handle a partner's kinky fetish. Here are the answers plus loads of tricks and techniques. Enjoy!
Discover the relationship between your dreams and your sex- and love-life! Go on a journey of self-discovery in this unique dream book. Case studies, a dream directory, and ‘dreamersises’ help you interpret your dreams.
My research found if a couple's been together more than one year it's unlikely you've tried any new sex tip, trick or technique for at least four months! Rescue's at hand with my 250 hottest sex tips for every aspect of your sex life.
No couple or single can be without this unique, best-selling book containing a vast range of techniques, tricks and tips to turn your lover on. From attracting someone new to recharging your old relationship, Fabulous, explores each of the sexual senses in turn!
No. 1 selling book offering you tons of fantastic sex tips PLUS a new and revolutionary ways of looking at sexual pleasure and ‘problems‘ and how they fit into a person's whole life and relationships.
No. 1 selling sex book covering everything from how your body works to infinite sex tips. The Daily Star said: 'Sinful Sex has something for everyone'
A unique parenting book giving you creative techniques to understand your child better through their dreams and nightmares. These reveal so much about a child that most parents miss out on. Strengthen your parent-child relationship, their confidence and well-being!