"Dummy" … "You're a bad boy" … "What a klutz" -- all of these are harmful! Since negative labels assault a child's personality rather than a specific behavior, his self-esteem will be diminished. Labels tend to become self-fulfilling prophecies.
"I wish you were never born". To a child, being unloved by the person who brought you into the world means you really must be unlovable. What children need more than anything else from their parents is to feel that they are loved unconditionally.
"You'll never amount to anything" Children tend to live up--or down--to what we believe about them. Parents need to believe in their children and predict a good future for them.
"You made me lose my temper" … "You're the reason your mother and I are getting a divorce" . Children are a convenient and easy target to fault for the troubles of other family members. If our children are to learn to take responsibility for their actions, we must set an example of being personally accountable for our mistakes and weaknesses.
"How come you only came in second?" … "You only got a 97 on your exam? Perfectionist parents push or pressure their kids to be the best soccer player and/or get straight A's in school. The message behind the demand is, "You're not good enough the way you are." To hold children to unrealistic expectations only leads to their loss of self-confidence.
"Why can't you be more like your sister?" … "When I was your age, I used to walk three miles to school." When you inform your child that he isn't as well behaved or high achieving as his sibling, you sow the seeds to resentment and bitter rivalry between your children. Children should not feel in competition with other family members because one will inevitably feel devalued and inferior to the others.
"You should be ashamed of yourself-- you're acting like a baby!" … "I can't believe you're afraid of a little kitten.". In shaming, a child is made to feel defective and inadequate about a mistake or misdeed. Shaming demoralizes a child rather than empowering her to change.
There are few things more devastating to a child than to be verbally attacked by a parent in an obscene or profane manner. Children depend almost entirely on their parents' reactions to know whether they are good or bad, smart or dumb, loved or unlovable. They are very vulnerable emotionally.
"If you don't get over here right now, I'll drive off and leave you here.". A threat of abandonment is particularly traumatic to children, since they are so vulnerable and dependent on their parents for basic survival needs.
"How could you do that after all I've done for you?" "You'll be the death of me yet!" Children who are made to feel guilty for normal mistakes or problems that are beyond their control will come to believe that they are responsible for every negative thing that happens in a family, leading to an overwhelming sense of guilt.
(exerts from articles from Love Our Children, USA)