I'm a parenting expert & here's why phrases like 'calm down' and 'stop crying' are useless | The Sun

HANDS up if you've ever told your child 'no' or urged them to 'calm down' when they're mid-tantrum.

Well, according to parenting guru Amanda Jenner, these are just two of the phrases that may be doing more harm than good.

Speaking exclusively to Fabulous, she explains: "As a parenting expert, I come across so many of these useless phrases that we're all guilty of using.

"But what I have realised over the years is that our children do not understand any of these phrases, and we must come down to their level and understand their feelings and read their emotions.

"It's important throughout their lives that we explain things to them in very simple terms so they understand, rather than just shutting them down."

Here, Amanda reveals five common parenting phrases and what you should say instead…


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Why it’s useless: Amanda points out there's a time and a place where the word 'no' is the only acceptable answer.

"My issue is when just saying 'no' – especially for those where the word 'no' is a guaranteed trigger for tantrums or meltdowns – children feel they're being punished and don't understand what for," she explains.

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What to say instead: According to Amanda, it's important to always try to answer and explain things in a positive way as this will help them to understand why the answer is 'no.'

Offering an example, she explains: "If you've asked them to tidy up their toys and they've refused, and they then ask whether they can watch TV or have a lollipop, don't use the word 'no.'

"Instead, explain to them: ‘You can definitely watch the TV or have the lollipop once you've tidied your toys away.'"

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Amanda points out: "You must remember that you need to come down to a child’s level with a simple explanation as to why you've said 'no' so they fully understand and feel more positive about it."


Why it’s useless: If you've ever been told by your partner to calm down, then you'll know it makes you way worse.

Amanda explains: "When you say this to a child, they don’t even understand what it means. So basically, it's a useless phrase that we say too often."

What to say instead: Amanda highlights the importance of sitting them down calmly and saying, 'let's count to 10 and take deep breaths.'

She continues: "Distract them by asking questions about something else or say 'what’s that I can hear – did you hear that?' so they forget what they're doing.

"If they like a cuddle just put your arms around them and comfort them.

"Take them outside for fresh air and a walk around the garden."


Why it’s useless: Amanda questions whether kids actually understand this phrase and says it confuses them because there's no further explanation instructing them what to do next.

What to say instead: Amanda comments: "For example, say things like ‘make sure you use two hands to hold the plate and walk slowly to the table’ or ‘we must walk holding mummy’s hand to school because the cars are very fast, and they might not see you.’

The parenting guru explains: "It's important we don’t overreact as parents and say 'be careful' before they even start their task.

"This could give them fear of trying something new.

"So turn any negative situation you're feeling as a parent into a positive."


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Why it’s useless: According to Amanda, this is basically Mum and Dad saying, ‘I can do that better than you.’

"By doing this you're not helping your child learn the skills they need to then do it themselves," she explains.

"You need them to build up their confidence when growing up and they'll then be able to do this independently."

What to say instead: Amanda says that if your child is having difficulties putting their shoes on, instead of getting impatient and saying 'let me tie your laces' because you know you can do it quicker, try asking, ‘would you like mummy or daddy to show you how to do it?’ and guide them.

She continues: "If they're finding something particularly difficult and getting frustrated, tell them, ‘you can always ask mummy or daddy for help.’

"This teaches them to give things a go and not be afraid to ask."

Amanda adds: "Again keep things positive as it's really important to let children try different situations because this will help them grow into their own person."


Why it’s useless: Amanda notes how this is almost the same as the phrase ‘calm down’.

"Sometimes children don't know why they're crying and get into such a state they find it hard to stop.

"They have not learned to control their emotions."

What to say instead: Amanda says the first step is to try and find out why they're crying by sitting them down and asking them.

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"This is all about communicating and teaching your children to understand their feelings," she explains.

"Offer them a hug and say, 'it’s OK to feel sad sometimes, everybody can feel sad and it's really important to let our children express their emotions.'"

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