Words are powerful. How we speak to our children influences the way they view the world and themselves. So it makes sense that we should talk to them in a manner that makes them feel loved, even when we’re upset.

We often speak about the things that we should say to our children — I love you, you’re beautiful, you’re smart, I’m proud of you, we all make mistakes, it’s okay to be sad. But we rarely talk about the things that we shouldn’t say to our kids. I asked a few moms to share what they would never say to their kids. Here’s a list of 10 things you should never say to your kids.

“If you don’t stop crying, I’ll give you something to cry about” 

I find this insensitive and a missed opportunity to connect with the child and find out what’s genuinely going on so that the child and parent can learn and grow.

– Buhle Mabanga

“It was the cheapest option for you.” 

I hate that. Like a child is worthy of only the least.

– Ms Dibu

“You’re stupid” 

Would never say this to my son this if he can’t get something right the first time.

– Keamo Jafta

“Why aren’t you like other kids?”

That irked me to the core and made me feel like I’m weird or not good enough.

– Anele Mthembu

“Stop crying, you’re being a baby.”

I’ll never tell my son he’s being a baby if he is crying or expressing his emotions.

– Maduduzo


Loosely translated, this means, “I don’t have money.” “Too expensive,” would’ve been better for me as a child. This made me feel guilty for asking for things.

– Nozipho Mngomezulu

“You’re useless”

I wouldn’t belittle my child if he made a mistake.

– Anele Shabalala

“Sit like a girl”

I think dictating to women who they should be is the reason why we have suffered for so long.

– Portia Zulu

“You’re ugly”

I don’t have kids but these words affected me as a child.

– Love Zanokuhle

“Girls don’t laugh so loud”

This was said to me at the very tender age of 6 and I’ve been awkward about my laugh since.

– Zethu Dlulane

The 10 things you should never say to your kids mentioned here made me realise how we have to be better for our children. I can’t imagine causing my children a lifetime of trauma. I’m very proud that our generation is learning to unlearn horrible things. Before you open your mouth, remember that the invisible scars are often the ones that can take longer to heal. Always speak from a place of love, not just to your children but to everyone else.

Is there anything you feel should never be said to kids? Let me know in the comments below.

Love B