17 Common Phrases Grandparents Should Stop Saying to Their Grandkids

During the holiday season, children visit their grandparents and celebrate various occasions together. Grandparents adore their grandchildren and feel connected with them. Sometimes, their unintentional comments could create an environment where the children feel unsafe. In this blog, we will talk about some common phrases that grandparents should stop saying to their grandchildren that would help them strengthen communication and relationships with the kids.

Men don’t cry

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This phrase suggests that displaying emotions is a sign of weakness and perpetuates harmful gender stereotypes. It makes the kid feel that their feelings are invalid.

Studies show that suppressing emotions can lead to an increase in mental health issues and stress among them. It hinders the kid’s emotional intelligence as he cannot express himself adequately. Encouraging emotional expression in boys fosters healthier relationships and open communication.

You are so smart

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This phrase might sound positive, but it focuses on the innate abilities and efforts of the child that promote a fixed mindset. The child stops taking risks because they are afraid to fail.

Studies show that children praised for intelligence are less likely to embrace challenges and view failures as hindrances to their growth. Praising effort over intelligence can foster perseverance, resilience, and a growth mindset.

That’s just the way things are

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This phrase discourages children from questioning the status quo. It diminishes the critical thinking ability and curiosity that a child always has. The children start accepting the situations as they come and do not challenge injustice, think creatively, and try to find innovative solutions to their problems.

Research indicates encouraging children to ask questions and explore different perspectives can lead to extraordinary academic achievement and lifelong learning.

Because I said so

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This phrase seems authoritative, and the kids might listen to their grandparents for once, but it shuts down their communication in the long term. It discourages children from understanding the reasoning behind these rules or decisions, which harms brain growth. Children who do not understand the reasons are likely to disobey the rules voluntarily. Explaining the rationale of the rules helps children develop empathy and respect for authority.

You have gained weight

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This phrase might hurt the sentiment of the grandchild and make them feel about how they look. It also creates an impression in their mind that gaining weight is perceived negatively in society and reinforces harmful beauty standards.

Body shaming in childhood is associated with an increased risk of eating disorders, depression, and low self-esteem. Promoting self-acceptance fosters healthy body image and boosts the self-esteem of the children.

You are too young to be in love

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This phrase does not acknowledge the child’s romantic experiences and undermines their relationship’s validity. The child feels alone since he does not have anyone to talk to about his feelings and experiences.

Grandparents lose touch with their children, and their loss of guidance could hinder their communication skills. Early romantic relationships can provide emotional growth, empathy, and self-discovery opportunities.

You are too old for that

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This phrase limits the child’s interests and undermines freedom based on age. It discourages them from lifelong learning, exploring different things, creativity, and adaptability to various situations in life.

Limited perspectives could also hinder their thirst for more information and logic behind different situations. Engaging in diverse activities throughout life can contribute to cognitive flexibility, emotional resilience, and overall well-being.

Don’t make faces; it will get stuck that way

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This phrase can perpetuate superstitions and control child behavior. It instills fear in the children’s minds and indicates that they should not express their emotions.

Research suggests suppressing facial expressions can inhibit emotional regulation and social interaction skills. Encouraging self-expression can foster creativity, boost confidence, and raise self-awareness.

You are not my favorite anymore

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This phrase is a tactic to make the grandchildren listen to the grandparents immediately. If the child does not act as per the wishes, they would be loved less by their grandparents. It makes the child think that love is conditional and will only be there for a while if some criteria are met adequately. It could lead to anxiety, and even the child would do things they don’t like to get love from their grandparents. Allowing the kids to share their thoughts and feelings creates trust and a path to unconditional love.

You Love your Grandfather/Grandmother the most.

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While everyone wants to be a child’s favorite grandparent, asking them to choose between two continuously would make the child feel guilty. It creates unnecessary tension in the child’s mind and forbids them from expressing their feelings towards the grandparents. Appreciating their bond with the child and creating a calm environment can help them avoid unnecessary drama in the house.

Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you

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This phrase ignores the lasting impact of emotional scars that are inflicted through verbal abuse. It also normalizes the usage of harsh words and their power. The child exposed to verbal abuse can have health issues like depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. Teaching children about the power of words helps promote emotional intelligence and builds good communication skills.

When I was your age

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Sharing personal life stories with grandchildren can help them learn and get to know their grandparents better. Comparing their children’s childhood creates misunderstandings and communication problems between them. It makes the children feel they can deal with their issues without help as it is insignificant. Instead of comparing, they could relate to similar incidents faced in their childhood and provide support in coming up with solutions.

Don’t talk to strangers

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This phrase ensures the safety and security of the child in an oversimplified way. Teaching children about stranger danger without context and logic can instill fear and paranoia. It could hinder their ability to act, navigate social situations, and seek help when required. Teaching children to recognize unsafe situations, trust their instincts, and ask for help when needed can help boost self-esteem and confidence.

Stop crying, or I will give you something to cry about

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This phrase instills fear and shows the power their grandparents hold. They like to control the behavior of the children through intimidation. Punitive discipline techniques like threats and punishments can lead to increased aggression and behavioral problems. Validating children’s emotions and teaching healthy coping mechanisms promotes emotional intelligence, empathy, and resilience.

You are spoiling the name of this family

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This phrase focuses on the family image and values rather than the person’s individuality. It shows the child’s limited autonomy and self-identity, forcing them to follow the family’s decisions. The child stops exploring new possibilities, and a fear of damaging the family name stops them from communicating their wishes. Children who feel valued for their individuality exhibit greater resilience, self-expression, and psychological well-being.

Money does not grow on trees

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This phrase limits the child from asking their family members for items they desire. It perpetuates a scarcity mindset and a feeling of guilt every time they ask for something that demands money. They do not learn the value of money and fear that money is limited. Teaching children about financial responsibility and the value of funds promotes financial literacy and independence.

Did you get good grades?

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While this phrase is to get information about the children’s academic performance, emphasis on getting good grades can put pressure on the children. The children feel that exam failure would mean failing in life, and their grandparents would start hating them. It limits their performance and shifts focus on just marks instead of learning. Talking about the kids’ challenges and not focusing on good grades could promote a more supportive environment.

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