In my experience, the words ‘be careful’ tend to go one of two ways – either leading to increased danger or leading to unnecessary caution and anxiety.
In the first instance, the words are heard as the equivalent of “no matter what you do NEVER EVER touch that red button!” What does the kid suddenly want to do more than anything else? Yup, touch the button!
In the latter case, it’s like having someone next to you suddenly start jumping and screaming as if a poisonous bug (or worse) was on them. The panic becomes contagious and you freak out too.
Neither scenario is particularly helpful so what can you say instead?
Information attained from: Growtherapy: Child & Adolescent Mental Health & Wellbeing