” This gives the child respect and responsibility for their actions.

I can’t tell you the number of times I hear that phrase when around other parents, even though it is highly ineffective.

First, you are threatening a child, which makes them fearful of you.

When I think about all of the phrases, anecdotes, and sayings about the power of the spoken word I am reminded of how I changed my way of communicating with children upon learning Play Therapy principles.

I realize that using Play Therapy based language is a learned and practiced skill that requires time and effort, so I thought it would be helpful to share ten commonly used phrases parents say to their kids.

It is wasted words to try to express a rule when a child is upset, as they focus on one thing at a time.

Instead, train yourself to say, “You realized that you jumped off the chair and got hurt when you landed on the ground”, rather than, “See, that is what happens when you jump off the chair”.

Of course, there will be times when a task must be completed in a certain fashion (homework, etc.).

However, many times we force kids to do something the “right way”, when it could have been done in several ways.

“If you choose to (continue that behavior), you choose to (receive whatever consequence has already been established as a punishment)”.

You might say, “Erin, if you choose to poke your sister again, you choose to not watch TV for the rest of the day”.

Telling a child that they can’t do something makes them prove that they can, by telling you or showing you that it is in fact possible.

Telling a kid to not do something makes them want to argue or rebel.

By the time a child has gotten in trouble for something, they already feel guilty, sorry and embarrassed about it.