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Psych 101

The Words That Wound

January 04, 1998|LYNN SMITH

Doubt the lingering power of words? Listen to a partial list of "22 of the Worst Things an Adult Ever Said to a Child"--phrases compiled from an informal survey of adults in the recently published "The Parent's Little Book of Lists" (Health Communications Inc.), by Jane Bluestein.

* "You'll never amount to anything."

* "I wish I'd never had you."

* "You'll never be college material."

* "Why can't you be more like your (brother or sister)?"

* "Your mother and I wouldn't be getting divorced if it weren't for you."

* "I'm sorry you didn't play, but we needed to win the game."

* "I love you, but . . ."

Thankfully, the adults also remembered the best things adults said to them:

* "You can do anything you choose to do."

* "You're very smart."

* "I'm so glad we've got you."

* "Congratulations! You deserve this!"

* "You're beautiful."

* "You're more responsible than a lot of adults I know."

* "I believe in you."

* "I love you."

Have trouble saying the "L-word" to a child? Try some of the "8 Things to Remember About Saying I Love You":

* Say it often.

* Don't expect kids to say "I love you, too."

* Keep it unconditional.

* Write it down and leave the message under your kid's pillow.

* Look in the mirror and say it to yourself. Mean it.

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