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The holiday season is typically a time when families gather together to celebrate, but sometimes interactions with grandparents can make grandchildren feel uncomfortable or insecure. It is important to be mindful of the words we use with our grandkids, as they can have a big impact on their self-esteem and relationship with us. Experts suggest avoiding certain phrases, such as encouraging children to keep secrets from their parents, making comments about their body or weight, or commenting on their food intake, as these can be harmful to their development.

Instead of encouraging children to keep secrets, it is better to reinforce the importance of honesty with their parents. Comments about a child’s body or weight should be avoided, as they can lead to body image and self-esteem issues. Similarly, remarks about physical appearance or comparisons to others should be discouraged, as they place too much focus on external features. Open-ended questions about the child’s interests and activities are a better way to show interest in who they are as individuals.

Comments about a child’s food intake can influence their eating behavior and lead to feelings of shame or confusion. It is best to avoid making comments about their plate or eating habits and instead focus on the importance of listening to one’s body. Similarly, labeling a child as “spoiled” can be harmful, as it may not be the child’s fault but rather a result of their upbringing. It is important to consider the parents’ role in shaping the child’s behavior before making such judgments.

While it is natural for grandparents to want to show affection to their grandchildren, it is important to respect their boundaries. Encouraging physical affection should be done in a way that allows the child to choose whether or not to participate. Suggesting alternative ways to connect, such as waving or giving a high five, can help reinforce the importance of personal choice and consent. Additionally, comments that criticize a child’s parents or parenting style should be avoided, as they can be shaming and harmful to the child’s relationship with their parents.

Overall, it is important for grandparents to be mindful of how they communicate with their grandchildren, as words have a powerful impact on a child’s self-esteem and development. By avoiding certain phrases and focusing on positive and respectful interactions, grandparents can create a loving and supportive environment for their grandchildren. It is never too late to start being more intentional with words and actions when interacting with grandchildren, as these small changes can have a big impact on their well-being and happiness.

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