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The value of respect that all parents try to transmit to our children happens because our children are not aggressive, have a correct behavior with others and, above all, do not verbally attack other people. ¿What to do if your child insults or abuses you psychologically? Here you will find the answer!
My first word has always been, although I am not very proud of it, one of those family anecdotes that are told over and over again. Apparently, he was two years old and didn't speak. My mother took me to the pediatrician worried, but the doctor told her that each child has its own rhythm. My translator was my 5-year-old older sister, she always knew exactly what I wanted, so I passed it on to my parents and family, so that I always had what I wanted without having to make a lot of effort.
One day my sister and I were struggling over possession of a toy and I jumped 'asshole!' Yes, no mom, dad, or at least pear or water, my first word was a curse and also composed. My dear mother always tells it laughing, but in her story she is quick to say that, at that moment, although she wanted to laugh out loud, she said to me: ‘Ah, what can you talk about? And on top of it with a bad word! From now on, don't let your sister speak for you again. ' My mother says that my astonished face had no color, they had caught me, and in what way!
The fact is that this funny anecdote serves to introduce the subject of children's insults, because it collects for me two of the most important aspects related to this matter: the age of the child when he encourages the insult and the limits that parents put before it (and a third, where the hell did I get such an insult?).
I can say that, from that moment on, I started talking. It seems he even knew how to say phrases and everything. My theory is that I was very comfortable letting my sister speak for me. In addition, I had double attention, that of my parents and that of my sister, who the poor thing went out of her way to fulfill all my needs (things of the little sisters).
Of course I do not remember that situation, but going back to the case at hand, what seems relevant to me about the case is that when I was two years old I understood that an expletive is something that is said with a specific intention. I didn't insult my sister while we were happily playing ball, but at a tense moment between the two of us. Here we have another important aspect about insults: the intention with which they are said.
As a mom and editor, I have been gathering information on this topic, but the truth is that there are many ways to approach it, some that seem better to me and others worse. However, I am not a specialist in early childhood education, a psychologist, or anything like that, so it did not seem appropriate to make a kind of guide on how to act, but to collect some common points that exist in all the information I have found and some recommendations from my own common sense, with the intention of helping and generating debate on this matter, but not with the idea of giving lessons.
I believe that if any father or mother is in a desperate situation in which they cannot get their son or daughter to stop insulting them, abuse them psychologically and / or physically, regardless of their age, the most sensible thing to do is seek the help of a professional . That said, here are 5 aspects that I find interesting to consider.
- The child's age
No, an insult from a 4-year-old, a 7 or 8-year-old or a pre-adolescent of 14. It seems that the former can do it because he does not know his own emotions and has not yet learned to control his feelings ; The 7-year-old may be testing his own authority, since he had never done it so far, so he challenges his parents (his first reference in his life) to see what happens.
For its part, the 14-year-old may have been due to a hormonal rise (if he has a peaceful behavior in day to day and it is the first time he does it) or it may also be a behavior problem, something that unfortunately is seen every time more in the generations of adolescents of the moment. Age is highly conditioned by the reason for the insult, although it is not the only thing that determines it.
- Put limits
From my point of view, this is the most difficult issue that parents face today (and I include myself). Many and many of us do not want to give our children a traditional, authoritarian and, in our opinion, meaningless education. We want our children to have the ability to express their needs and opinions without fear, and to always feel respected as individuals, even from childhood.
So how do you set limits without restricting them? There, I think, is where we get lost. Perhaps because no one has taught us before how to set those limits from respect, or because we confuse the true meaning of freedom. By the way, the Dictionary of the Royal Academy of the Language says in its first meaning that freedom is the 'natural faculty that man has to act in one way or another, and not to act, so he is responsible for his acts'. There's the quid of the question, responsibility is linked to freedom, and sometimes we forget about it.
The fact is that in all the information I have found, psychologists agree: parents have to set limits. The problem is how to do it. And here I think our own responsibility as fathers and mothers comes in. We have to learn.
As they explain in the book 'Disobedient children, desperate parents', written by psychologists Rocío Ramos-Paul and Luis Torres,' not setting limits, having many or being very rigid with the rules are big mistakes that are made when the style of authority it is too lax or severe. '
If we do not know, then it is time to look for information, go to courses, make a consultation with a psychologist, talks ... and I notice that there are endless theories and ways of acting, but I think that by informing yourself you can gradually find what to It works for you, which agrees with your ideas and your common sense. Something that works for me is to ask myself how I would like them to put them on me (if I were a girl). It is an exercise in empathy that can help you see more clearly how to set limits.
- The reaction
On this issue there also seems to be a consensus. It is important to react as soon as possible to the first insult, no matter how old our son is. Of course, the kind of limit that we will put should be according to age. In addition, the context in which the insult occurs must be taken into account. Some young children may say it because they have learned it, but they don't really understand what it means. In these cases it is important to sit down with them and explain that these types of words can make the person feel bad and should not be said.
But what about the other cases? Those cases where the insult is a form of aggressiveness? How do we react? Again, it will depend on age, but what the experts seem to agree on is that in no case should you react with the same aggressiveness as children, that is, you should not insult, yell, much less hit. Not losing your temper is the best strategy to teach our children that these types of attitudes will not work for them to get their way.
Another reaction that the experts disapprove of is the opposite, giving in to the first change and letting our son or daughter get away with it. That is, on top of insulting us, we give them what they want. That gives the child a feeling of power over us, something very harmful because in the end they will understand that this type of attitude is the right one.
Another action they advise against is not reacting. Many parents, especially those of teenagers, are so overwhelmed by their child's behavior that they lock themselves out and do nothing. And this also teaches their children that they have power over them. Neither does it seem very appropriate to negotiate with your children in this situation: it is not the same as protesting because you do not agree (where it is possible to negotiate) than the fact that they insult and attack you. Your children have to understand that this behavior is not tolerable, neither in their family, nor in any other environment.
It is also not advisable to laugh or pretend it doesn't matter. If your child insults you because he is angry, beyond the insult, his feelings should be respected. That is, it is not about tolerating the insult, because you have to react at the moment, but when things calm down you have to try to find a space with your child to understand what is happening to him, why that fact makes him feel with that anguish, that fury that he expresses towards us. Teaching your children to show their feelings in a different way is the best way to transform their aggressiveness into something positive.
In general, experts agree that if you react to the insult from the outset, it will not be something that will be repeated. However, if you are in a situation where the insults or aggressions of your child have become a problem that you do not feel you can control, no matter how old your child is, seek professional help. The sooner you stop the problem, the sooner it will be solved and it will not get worse.
- The feeling of guilt
Many parents feel guilty about their children's bad behavior. This feeling is very powerful, so much so that some parents end up justifying the insults of their children. It is important not to get carried away by guilt, but that, experts warn, does not mean that we shirk our responsibility as parents. We must leave behind the idea that our children are like that because of school or the friends they have.
The greatest reference in his life until adulthood are parents and, as parents, we have the responsibility to educate our children. That means many things, such as teaching them the difference between what is right and wrong, giving them understanding and support, allowing them their own expressiveness, offering them adequate limits so that they learn to function in life ...
Anyway, we have a job to do, and in which there are never vacations. Therefore, what they say that you have to set an example is not nonsense. If your child insults you, the first thing to check is how the relationships between the family are, if the parents insult when they get angry or swear when referring to someone they are angry with ...
- Security and firmness
I don't think I would have agreed to speak if my mother hadn't said what she said confidently and firmly. If his reaction had been another, perhaps I would have continued to think that I could get away with it. Being firm does not mean being mean or being overly authoritarian, but having confidence in ourselves. Once we become confident people, that is passed on to our children.
When we decide to put limits on our children, we must do it safely, without nerves, with a calm but firm voice, without doubts. That doesn't mean we can't admit mistakes to our children, it really has nothing to do with it. But an insult from your son or daughter is his or her mistake, not yours, and, therefore, you should take it as such. Always remember that security and calm are your best weapons.
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