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Go Ask Mom

Lynda Loveland: What not to say to your kids

Posted May 2, 2012

Lynda Loveland

Sometimes I don’t know whether to trust those parenting experts or not.

There’s a huge learning curve when it comes to parenting. Just when you think you have the hang of it, your child enters a new phase. For that reason, I always check out articles on raising offspring, looking for tips. I came across an article that said, “What not to say to your kids.” A couple pieces of advice caught my eye.

One expert said, don’t make your kids say they’re sorry. It could “delay the child’s natural acceptance “ of apologizing. Instead, apologize to the child FOR your kid as a way of modeling the behavior you want to encourage.

Huh? I think that’s ridiculous! If a child does something wrong and they know they’re wrong, they should apologize. It’s that whole cause and effect thing.

And I’m not going to do everything for them. I’m trying to teach them to be more independent, not dependent. Plus, nothing defuses a tense situation between siblings like telling them to kiss and make up. OK, maybe that’s more for my enjoyment … You have to admit, the silliness of it turns things around. And no, I don’t do it … all the time.

The other parenting tip was don’t threaten, “I’m going to leave without you.” The biggest problem with this is it could turn into an empty threat. Would you really leave your child? If you threaten something, you gotta follow through. That’s one of the golden rules.

I do follow through on mine, well, except that one. Would I leave my kid? No. But dang, it sure works well! And I probably won’t stop until they figure it out! There’s some sort of satisfaction with seeing your child come flying out of the house to get in the car when 30 seconds earlier they weren’t moving a defiant muscle.

Lynda is the mom of three and co-host of Mix 101.5 WRAL-FM's Bill & Lynda in the Morning. Find her here on Thursdays. Click here to like her on Facebook.


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  • jenarndtconley May 8, 2012

    I think it comes down to parental instincts. There are too many parents today that don't have any. Rest assured Lynda I have four kids under four and counsel children I am impressed by your skills. Keep it up.

  • jen278302 May 4, 2012

    A friend once did indeed leave her third grader as promised. She has three kids to drop at three schools and the youngest was making the older boys tardy. One morning she told the girl she was tired of her making everyone else tardy and it was not fair to the boys so she left her ( dad was in the yard). The two boys were on time and mom returned to take her tardy 3rd grader to school! It worked!!!

  • grannybam07 May 4, 2012

    In the words of my wise mother, throw the book out and follow your instincts! Only you know your children best :)

  • storchheim May 3, 2012

    clif4, maybe a little turnabout? Next time he's over and wants his snack, fix it, then throw it away in front of him. Turn to him and say, "I'm sorry." Is he old enough for a discussion to the effect that this is how people feel when he does that to them, and how apologizing doesn't change the fact you did something "mean"?

  • luvstoQ May 3, 2012

    I totally agree about the child needing to be the one to say "I'm sorry" for a wrong done, too much going on now where "too many" do not want to take responsibility for their actions. I totally disagree about the threat of "leaving" your child. NEVER threaten any child with something you would not carry through, no matter how well the threat works. "Say what you mean, and mean what you say" That was my mom's motto, and it worked for us growing up, because we KNEW she would follow through, and it also works for us as parents. Counting to 10 is a joke!

  • clif4 May 3, 2012

    My grandson (3yo) uses "I'm sorry" as a "King's X". Meaning, he believes he can do whatever and get away with it as long as he says, "I'm sorry." It's a bad habit that is very hard to break.

    As far as empty threats, I don't use them. They are no more and no less than lying to them. A very poor example to set.

  • mystica131 May 3, 2012

    If you're going to threaten to leave, please don't do like the insensitive woman I witnessed at the mall once. She left her son (who looked to be four or so) crying in the middle of the mall and walked 3 or 4 stores down. I saw adult after adult (including myself) stop and ask the child if he was lost. She said she was teaching him a lesson, but it came at the expense of other sensible and caring adults.

  • sabatinifamily May 3, 2012

    Lynda, I so agree with you! Children should apologize. I do try to demonstrate for them throughout the week/month/day; however, sometimes you have to put your foot down and have them just do it because it's the right thing to do.
    My children have learned that Mommy doesn't make empty threats. I've never left my children, but I have walked out the door and started up the car & gone part way down the drive-way before they come RUNNING out the door yelling "WAIT"! It works every time. They now respect other peoples' time & value it. Have a great day!