...can break bones and words CAN also harm your child. When life gets stressful, resist the urge to release your emotions on your child. A torn sleeve is easily mended, but a broken heart lasts forever. Here are 10 things to especially avoid saying to your kids:

Why can't you be more like…? - Every child is unique and an individual.

Why don't you act your age? - Many times when we insist a child act their age, they are acting their age.

Must you always be such a slob? - Criticism only lays the groundwork for an unproductive power struggle. The key is to strike a balance.

You're the funny one /athletic one /pretty one… - Labels we give children can be problematic. And if you use a negative label, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

How could you be so stupid? – ‘Stupid' is a loaded word that can be especially damaging to a child's self-esteem and confidence, compounding a belief they are not unconditionally loved.

Sometimes I wish I'd never had kids – A child hears “You're worthless; I wish you weren't my kid. I don't want you”. A child can carry such hurtful messages around, even unconsciously into adulthood.

Leave me alone! – An angry dismissal of a child can make them feel unloved and unwanted.

Shut up! – Apart from being impolite, degrading, controlling and demeaning, children learn by example.

Just do it – or else! – A child may not be motivated by something so unspecific.

If you don't come with me now, I'll leave without you. – The threat of abandonment as a discipline tool is a destructive approach to take, and pretty scary for a child. It reinforces a fear that young children already have – that a parent might disappear and never come back.