, author: Ermakova M.

The root of resentment: why does a child say offensive words?

Experts in the field of psychology tell us how to respond to hurtful words from a child and how not to give in to emotions.

Consciously or succumbing to emotions, children, like adults, sometimes express resentment towards loved ones verbally. How to hear what is hidden behind offensive statements? How not to harbor a grudge against your son or daughter, but to build a calm, trusting relationship with him/her?

“Children of different ages and in different situations can use offensive expressions towards their loved ones - parents, siblings and other relatives. Often the reasons for such actions lie in the unmet needs of the child, his unheardness and in moments of resistance to the rules,” says a psychologist for children and teenagers, teacher of child psychology at Psychodemia (part of Ultimate Education) Maria Belikova. “We can imagine a situation in which, for example, a grandmother comes to visit and gives the child a gift, and the child says, “I want you to leave and I don’t like the gift.” This situation causes a lot of feelings in all participants - shame in parents, resentment from the grandmother and anger and fear from the child.

However, if you delve deeper into the situation, you can find, for example, the child’s concern that when the grandmother comes, she criticizes the mother, and after she leaves, the mother is irritated and demonstrates this to the whole family.

So we get a picture in which the child becomes the only member of the family who openly broadcasts his anger: “don’t come, we all feel bad because of this.”

Unfortunately, when we are overwhelmed by feelings, there is often no opportunity to analyze the situation, because our task is to cope with these feelings as quickly as possible,” notes Maria.

How to be an adult

father comforting stressed sad daughter

“The second large layer of offensive expressions lies in the area of direct interaction with parents: when a child says something offensive to his mother, and the mother has no choice but to react reactively - in response to the child’s offensive words.

For example, a child says: “I won’t eat, what you prepared is some kind of disgusting.” And mom succumbs to either resentment or anger. But in both the first and second cases, this means that the mother is vulnerable, the child is perceived as an aggressor, and the mother cannot withstand the wound inflicted by the child.

This happens quite often - parents may be tired, overloaded with anxiety or stress, and there is no way to withstand the child’s hurtful words.

However, at the same time, succumbing to emotions, we cease to be that adult who remembers that a child does not consist only of this offensive word, something happens to him, which is why he uses such a mechanism,” the expert recalls.

How to express emotions?

Family in nature.

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Clinical psychologist, child psychologist, expert at the international online psychology institute Smart Alisa Deptsova adds that a child’s rudeness can be a reaction to various stimuli:

“Faced with refusal, he directs his anger at the parent: “I don’t love you!”, “You’re a fool!”

Then you need to show an example of a constructive response. Suggest: “Are you angry because I didn’t buy the robot?” Share your feelings: “I know how much you liked him. It’s a shame that we can’t pick him up.” Set a boundary: “Unfortunately, I can’t buy a toy right now.” Offer a solution: “Let's add a robot to our shopping list? We’ll buy it when the opportunity arises.” You didn’t dismiss the child’s feelings, you understood and accepted them,” she says.

A bad word can be replaced with something neutral. For example: “You are a radish.” This will help redirect your attention and relieve tension.

It is painful for any parent to hear insults. But be patient, turning the thought in your head: “All children are naughty sometimes.” React calmly and thoughtfully. Impulsive responses reinforce the behavior, making it more likely to happen again. Don't call your child names back, as this will legalize rude words. Use an I message: “I hate to hear that. I understand that you are upset, but you can’t behave like that.”

Don’t block your emotions with a phrase like: “You can’t be angry with your mom.” If the emotion is not recognized, the reaction cannot be controlled. Negative feelings accumulate. Someday the reservoir will overflow, flooding everything around."

You can't hit people or break things, but there are alternative ways to respond. Buy a punching bag or invest in a punching pad. Collect old magazines and newspapers in a box. They can be torn and trampled.

Do art therapy. Sculpt, draw, create more with your child.

The expert advises against using punishment. If it is difficult for you not to give in to anger at your child, then it will be better to postpone any kind of joint communication until your emotions subside.

Let family relationships be harmonious and acceptable to everyone.