7 Emotionally Damaging Things I've Accidentally Said to My Children

LOL 37

I try not to say things to my children that have the potential to emotionally scar them for life. I say "try" because, really, one person can't necessarily completely control what will lodge in another person's brain and eventually require years of therapy and a purification ceremony in a sweat lodge to fully comprehend, right? (RIGHT?) Anyway, my point here is that I do my best to not say terrifying and/or intensely damaging things to my children, but even though this seems like a fairly low bar in terms of First, Do No Harm parental oaths, I have screwed this one up in a big way on more than one occasion.

These things tend to happen in two stages: the unbelievable thing you blurt out in front of your child -- then the slow-motion car-wreck moment when you notice their utterly traumatized reaction. Here are some incredibly embarrassing examples:

1) In a fumbling attempt to assuage my son's fear of bones and skulls, I say, "But honey, you've got an entire skeleton inside your body right now!"

2) Child: "Has anyone ever died from a splinter?" My husband: "No, of course not." Me: "Well, maybe if they got, like, a really bad infection."

3) My oldest comes home from the dentist, still weeping from the trauma of having a tooth extracted. I tell him I understand exactly how he feels, having had every tortuous orthodontic procedure known to mankind. "In fact," I say sadly, "if you inherited my teeth, you're probably in for a lot more."

4) We're all driving on a road trip when my youngest expresses an interest in going on a horse trail ride. I enthusiastically agree we should do that someday as a family. Absentmindedly, a few minutes later, I tell my husband about how when I was a kid, I went on a morning trail ride at Glacier National Park and it turned out that the very next trail outing had encountered a grizzly bear and one of the horses reared and a lady shattered her skull on pavement, since all the riders were in the midst of crossing a road. After I complete my Final Destination tale, I glance in the backseat. Oops.

5) "There aren't any sharks in this water, right?" my kids ask anxiously. "Yes, but not this close," I say. "They're way way out in the deep section and they eat fish." And then it's like my brain just rips free of its moorings and I can't stop talking: "Well, okay, sometimes they come in close, but they're not the huge kind that, ha ha, eat people. Actually, I did hear about a surfer a while who -- but that was a long time ago. Huh, was that in California? No, I think it was here in Oregon. I wonder if that guy lived? Anyway, just don't swim like a fish."

6) Child: "What's that movie about?" Me: "It's this guy who goes rock climbing and a rock falls on him and smashes his hand so he's trapped for days and eventually he has to cut off his own arm with a crappy little multi-tool that isn't even sharp, can you believe -- uhhhhhh. Rock climbing. It's about rock climbing."

7) Me, tucking a child in at night: "Night night, sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite." Child: "What even are bedbugs? Are they real?" Me: "Oh man, let me get my computer -- you've GOTTA see this."

Have you ever said anything to your kids you wish you could INSTANTLY take back?

Image via 20th Century Fox



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nonmember avatar tj

Oh, I can relate to these. I am an "honesty is the best policy" type, and have been accused of being blunt most of my life. I try to reign it in with the kids, but it seems to be ingrained in me. Most recently, while I had my hand in my kids mouth to help him remove a loose tooth, I calmly told him to "expect a bit of blood" when I'm done. He ran off with the tooth dangling by a thread of skin of course. My husband gave me the "what the fuck is wrong with you?" look that he graces me with in those situations.

Heather Covert McCarthy

LOL! I make my kids keep a therapy book. You know, to save the poor bastard time when he tries to put my kids heads back together.

nonmember avatar Susan

I'm laughing so loud the dog hid under the coffee table!

Marolyn Starnes Hunt

Sam is 23 now. It seems to me that none of the damaging stuff I thought I said had any effect. ( I cursed myself for taking Child Psych courses in college because then I KNEW everything has potential to do damage!!) It's all the crap I DON'T remember that he tells me scarred him for life!! Case in point ~ I left him with my oldest sister ALL SUMMER one year and it was horrible and he hated it. He went to visit for 15 days and Loved every minute of it because of he and his 10 month old cousin really bonded ( and still have an awesome relationship) and didn't want to leave when I came to pick him up!!!! Selective & Revisionist History Rules in my family!!!

Fay Macanufo Aubuchon

I am laughing so hard Linda!  Thank you!  Mine is 23 now and I know we were not the cause of her f'**d up life...Aieei

Choco... Chocodoxies

Number five made me laugh so hard! This is all the kind of stuff I would say without thinking. My husband would just look at me like I was a complete idiot. 

jalaz77 jalaz77

LOL!!!! I knew from the title this was my Linda! I did the shark thing when my daughter asked too. Oops.

hexxuss hexxuss

I don't feel nearly as bad as I did before reading these lol - thank you for the chuckle =)  and yes, I've done many things like this over the years...

Shlamoof Shlamoof

You sound just like me, especially the shark thing :)

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