Have you said this to your kids before? I have.
I analyzed this statement and what I came up with is this: it’s hurtful.
- The tone of voice that usually accompanies this statement is one of disgust. Disgust alienates and separates, it’s a relationship killer.
- The asker of the question has already decided that what was done was wrong. There is no seeking to understand.
- It shames rather than build skills.
- The question is not meant to be answered, it’s meant to condemn.
- The statement conveys the message that the child is not smart, stupid even. This is not a good message to send, especially not repeatedly. Kids grow into your expectations.
There are better ways to help kids learn from mistakes.
- Aim to teach rather than shame.
- Use positive tone of voice.
- Normalize mistakes because everyone makes mistakes.
- Give the child the benefit of the doubt.
- Focus on solutions and empower your child to address his/her own mistakes.