Parents play a vital role in shaping the future of their children. However, sometimes even with good intentions, parents may use language that can be counterproductive to their child’s success and well-being. Unhelpful things that parents say to their children can have a significant impact on a child’s self-esteem, motivation, and overall emotional health.

Such patterns of speech may lead to negative relationships between parent and child and hinder the child’s ability to succeed. It is essential for parents to be aware of the way they communicate with their children if they want to improve the quality of the relationship they share with them.

In this article, we will explore some common unhelpful things parents say which can damage children’s well-being. We will also provide alternative communication methods that can help maintain healthy relationships between parent and child.

The Impact of Unhelpful Things Parents Say

Unhelpful comments from parents can negatively affect a child’s self-esteem in several ways. When parents repeatedly criticize or belittle their children for not meeting certain expectations or standards, it leaves a lasting impression on their minds which can limit their confidence later in life.

Children may develop beliefs about themselves as being inadequate or incapable when subjected to such negativity. Moreover, using negative comments aimed at correcting behavior instead of positive reinforcement may lead to demotivation in your children towards future activities involving similar tasks or situations; such as school work or extracurricular activities like sports.

If an environment where failure is perceived as unacceptable is created by harsh parenting statements, then the possibility of attempting new tasks becomes less desirable for fear of failure. To combat these harmful effects caused by unhelpful parenting comments, it is important for parents to recognize when they are using language that could potentially harm and adjust accordingly.

A Guide To Success: Examples Of Unhelpful Comments And Alternatives

In this section, we will explore some of the most common unhelpful comments made by parents in different situations and provide alternative approaches that can help support a child’s success. Criticizing Grades or Performance:

Many parents believe that emphasizing the importance of good grades is crucial for their child’s future success. However, when this emphasis turns into criticism and berating when the child does not meet expectations, it can cause more harm than good.

Instead of criticizing your child’s grades or performance, try to understand why they are struggling and offer guidance and support to help them overcome difficulties. Comparing Children To Others:

Parents often unwittingly compare their children with other children without fully understanding the negative impact this has on a child’s self-esteem. When comparisons occur regularly by a parent or caregiver, it can lead to a feeling of inadequacy in children.

Instead of comparing your child to others, focus on their unique strengths and praise them for their individual achievements. Discouraging Creativity or Passion Projects:

Children need opportunities to explore their interests and passions as it is essential for cultivating creativity in young minds. Many times, parents may discourage these endeavors out of fear that they will detract from academic achievement.

However, this suppression could ultimately lead to an unhappy and unfulfilling life. Parents should instead encourage exploration and offer guidance where necessary.

Becoming aware of how language affects our children can be instrumental in shaping our parenting strategies positively. By recognizing unhelpful things we may say as parents and adjusting how we communicate with our children accordingly, we can contribute positively to our children’s emotional well-being while supporting their overall success at every stage in life.

High-Level Overview of Unhelpful Things Parents Say

It’s no secret that parents play a critical role in shaping their children’s lives. The words they use can have a lasting impact on a child’s self-esteem, motivation, and overall well-being.

Unfortunately, there are many phrases and statements that parents may use that are not helpful for their child’s success. Below is a high-level overview of some common examples.

Criticizing Grades or Performance

One of the most common unhelpful things parents say to their children is criticizing their grades or performance in school. Examples include saying things like “Why can’t you be more like your sister/brother?” or “I’m so disappointed in your grade.” These types of comments can have a serious impact on a child’s self-esteem and motivation.

Children who are constantly criticized for their academic performance may begin to believe that they are not good enough or smart enough. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy and low self-confidence, which can ultimately affect their ability to succeed in the long run.

Instead of criticizing grades or performance, parents should focus on encouraging effort and progress. For example, saying things like “I’m proud of how hard you worked on this project” or “You’re making progress, keep it up!” can go a long way in building a child’s confidence and motivation.

Comparing Children to Others

Another common unhelpful thing parents say is comparing one child to another child (or even comparing them to themselves at that age). For instance, some might say things like “Why can’t you be more outgoing like your cousin?” or “When I was your age I was already accomplished.” Such statements suggest that the child is somehow inferior compared to someone else which could impact negatively on the person.

Comparing children in this way can lead them to believe that they are not good enough as they are. They might develop an inferiority complex and become overly self-conscious about their differences, leading to feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem.

Instead of comparing children, parents should focus on encouraging their unique strengths and abilities. For example, saying things like “I love how creative you are” or “You have a great sense of humor” can help build a child’s confidence in their own abilities.

Discouraging Creativity or Passion Projects

Some parents might discourage their children from pursuing creative endeavors or passion projects. Statements like “Art is not a real job”, or “Why would you waste your time doing that?” can be demotivating to children who have a passion for something outside the norm.

Children who are told to ignore their passions may become disillusioned with life and feel they have no direction. It can lead to them feeling unhappy with themselves and unsure of what they want from life.

Instead of discouraging creativity or passion projects, parents should encourage exploration in all areas of interest. Say things like “I’m proud of you for trying something new”, “It’s important to follow your passions”, “It doesn’t matter whether it leads to success- the most important thing is that it makes you happy.” All these will help cultivate a sense of empowerment in the child as well as foster creativity which will lead them down successful paths.

These unhelpful phrases can have serious negative consequences for children’s self-esteem, motivation, and overall well-being. Parents must be mindful when choosing the words they use around their kids if we want them to grow up into healthy adults who reach for greatness instead of being held back by limiting beliefs instilled in them by unhelpful parental attitudes.

Criticizing Grades or Performance

When Criticism Becomes Harmful

Parents who place a disproportionate focus on grades and performance in school may inadvertently damage their child’s self-esteem and motivation. Common examples of harmful criticism include berating the child for poor grades, calling them lazy or unmotivated, or comparing them unfavorably to other children.

These types of statements can create added pressure for children to perform well, which can be counterproductive and result in added stress. In extreme cases, it can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, and burnout.

Alternative Approaches to Encourage Improvement

Instead of focusing solely on grades or performance as a measure of success, parents can shift their approach by encouraging their child’s accomplishments in other areas. This could include recognizing strengths in extracurricular activities outside of school such as sports or music.

Parents should also focus on the process rather than the outcome by praising effort and perseverance over end results. Furthermore, they should avoid comparing their child’s academic achievements with others and instead celebrate individual progress over time.

Comparing Children to Others

The Danger of Comparison

Comparing children to others is common among parents as they try to motivate their child through competition; however, this can have negative effects on a child’s self-esteem and motivation over time. Such comparisons might lead children to believe that they are not good enough or that they need validation from external sources such as grades or awards for recognition. Even if comparison is intended as a form of encouragement, it can undermine a child’s sense of self-worth.

Fostering a Culture of Personal Growth Instead

To encourage personal growth in children without resorting to comparisons with others, parents may start by helping them set achievable goals based on their unique interests and abilities. This could involve supporting their child’s development in areas such as sports, music, or creative endeavors.

It is also important to recognize and appreciate every child’s strengths and limitations while allowing them to grow at their own pace. Parents should encourage their children to focus on self-improvement rather than competition with others.

Discouraging Creativity or Passion Projects

The Importance of Encouraging Creativity

All too often, parents fail to recognize the value of creativity and passion projects in the development of their children. Instead, they may discourage them from pursuing these interests in favor of academic pursuits that are deemed more “practical.” The problem with this approach is that it can stifle a child’s creativity and limit opportunities for exploration and growth. By discouraging passion projects, parents may miss out on a potential avenue for discovering hidden talents.

Creative Alternatives for Supporting Your Child’s Interests

Parents can support their child’s creativity by providing access to materials such as art supplies, craft items or musical instruments that can help them pursue their interests. They should also actively encourage experimentation within different fields and provide an environment where taking risks is accepted without fear of failure. Moreover, it is essential for parents not only to allow but also foster open communication with children regarding interests they may have outside academics.


Parenting is challenging but rewarding if done correctly. In this article about unhelpful-things-parents-say a guide to success, it has been established that particular phrases or statements used by parents can negatively impact a child’s well-being in the long run.

However, there are alternative approaches that encourage personal growth rather than competition which enables better participation from children without hurting their self-esteem. Parents who understand what motivates their children need not rely on comparisons or criticism alone as effective incentives as they learn to support their passions and creativity.