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Why You Should Not Tell Your Kids “You are fine”

It comes so naturally to us, and especially to parents to use the phrases “You are fine,” or “You are okay,” when comforting children.

Mom hugging her daughter

It often seems like the best thing to say in a moment of peril, but that is far from the truth. From a psychological standpoint, telling your kid "You're fine" can have negative effects on their emotional well-being. Here's why:

  1. Invalidating Feelings When you dismiss your child's emotions by saying "you're fine," it can make them feel unheard and invalidated. It sends a message that their feelings are not important or valid, which can lead to bottling up emotions and difficulty in expressing themselves in the future.

  2. Suppression of Emotions By telling your child to be fine, you may unintentionally teach them to suppress their emotions rather than acknowledging and addressing them. This can hinder their emotional development and lead to difficulties in managing and understanding their feelings later in life.

  3. Missed Opportunity for Connection When you brush off your child's concerns with "you're fine," you miss an opportunity to connect with them on an emotional level. By acknowledging their feelings and providing support, you can strengthen your bond and help them develop healthy coping mechanisms.


Instead of saying "you're fine," try the following alternatives:

  1. Validate Their Emotions Let your child know that it's okay to feel the way they do. Use phrases like "I understand you're upset," or "It's okay to be sad."

  2. Listen Actively Give your child an opportunity to express themselves fully. Encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings without judgment or interruption.

  3. Offer Comfort and Reassurance Provide comfort by hugging or holding their hand. Reassure them that you are there for them and that you will help them navigate their emotions.

  4. Problem-Solving If appropriate, help your child find solutions or strategies to manage their emotions or address the situation that caused their distress.

Remember, every child is different, and it's important to adapt your response to their individual needs and age. Creating an open and supportive environment for your child to express their emotions can contribute to their psychological well-being and overall development.


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