The effect of unintentional words

APPARENTLY COMMENTS ARE STILL SCREWED UP. Are any other Typepad users having this problem, or is it just me?

(Please read the post below this one, too!)

Several of the commenters from Wednesday thought that Sarika was using the word "naughty" either as a joke or because English is not her native language. If she was using the word naughty not knowing fully what it means, then I apologize for using her question to make my point about not ascribing negative motives to your child. (Although I don't apologize for making the point in general, because this is one of the things that causes the most damage to the parent-child relationship IMO.)

But let me ask you this, and see what you think: Does it matter what your motives are if you say something negative about a child?

I'd argue that it doesn't matter, because the child still hears those words and internalizes them. The point of being mindful of not saying negative things about your child isn't to make you feel like a bad parent for saying them. The point is to make you aware that you do it so you can stop saying them, because whether or not you intend them seriously, the child still hears them.

FWIW, I also think parents should monitor what they say about themselves when they're around their children. Even joking about "Oh, stupid Mommy forgot her car keys" is harmful to your child. You are your child's whole world, and if you're stupid, then your child has nothing to trust to be powerful and keep them safe.

What do you guys think? Am I overthinking this? Or is this something we should all be trying to work on?