What This Situation Is Like for Parents

 

We put a lot of time and energy into our kids. We work very hard to give them everything they need…and often things they want!

So when they tell us how much they hate us when we’re telling them they can’t have something…

Or when they tell us how stupid we’re being when we make a suggestion that they don’t want to hear…

We’re going to be furious. And hurt. We don’t want to be treated that way by anyone, let alone our children.

And we certainly don’t want them to think that it’s OK to treat anyone that way.

 

What This Situation Is Like for Children

 

Children have big feelings. And when they’re having these feelings, they are not thinking straight. 

They know somewhere in the back of their minds that they shouldn’t be mean to us (just like we know in the back of our minds that yelling at our kids isn’t effective)…

But they’re upset, or they’re angry, and they feel helpless and OUT OF CONTROL…and all of that just feeling just comes out… (just as so many things come out of our mouths that we regret later…)

It’s like an energy that they don’t have the ability to hold inside. And that energy can be hurtful when they don’t know how else to handle it. 

 

 

How It Usually Goes

When Your Child Says “I Hate You” (Or Worse)

 

Scenario:

A mom is talking to her son Connor about homework he keeps forgetting to turn in. She reminds him that if he forgets one more time, he is going not going to be able to go to his friend’s party. In response, Connor screams “I hate you!”  at his mother.

Mom: Connor! You cannot talk to me like that!

Connor: This is so stupid! Why can’t I go to the party?

Mom: I TOLD you that’s what would happen if you didn’t turn in your homework. This shouldn’t be a surprise to you.

Connor: But that’s not fair! My brother got to go to his friend’s party.

Mom: That’s because he turned in his homework!

Connor: You’re so stupid! I really hate you!

Mom: That’s it, Connor. You do NOT speak to me like that. No party. And go to your room… NOW!

 

How It Could Go

When Your Child Says “I Hate You” (Or Worse)

 

Scenario:

A mom is talking to her son Connor about homework he keeps forgetting to turn in. She reminds him that if he forgets one more time, he is going not going to be able to go to his friend’s party. In response, Connor screams “I hate you!”  at his mother.

 

Mom: Ouch. You wanted to make me upset, didn’t you?

 

CALM

Of course Connor’s mom is angry that her son told her he hates her. Even though she wants to say WAY more than “Ouch,” she knows that losing her cool will not maker her a good role model to Connor about how to stay calm even when you are frustrated. She also knows that his behavior stems from his Yuck, so she doesn’t take his words personally. 

Connor: Yes!!!

Mom: You’re angry because I said you can’t go to the party…

Connor: Yes, MOM! Are you stupid?

Mom OK, Connor. I don’t like how this is going so I’m going to just sit here for a few minutes. 

 

CONNECT

Instead of telling Connor how wrong his behavior his, Connor’s mom recognizes that he is in Yuck and that nothing she says in that moment will actually change his behavior. 

 

Connor: GOOD! (He sits and sulks for a few minutes. Finally he starts wiggling in his chair and his mom knows his anger has turned to boredom.)

 

CORRECT

Because Connor’s mom recognized that his Yuck was causing his behavior, she took the time to let his Yuck go away. Then she knew she could address the behavior. 

 

Mom: OK, let’s talk about this homework issue. I want you to be able to go to your friend’s party too. Do you have any idea why you keep forgetting your homework?

Connor:  I keep forgetting my folder at home! It’s too hard to remember! 

Mom: OK, can I make a suggestion for what you can do about that?

Connor: I guess.

(The conversation is then focused on solutions to the problem.

In the future — when he is NOT in Yuck — Connor’s mom will teach him ways to get out his Yuck besides being mean to her.)

 

 

How to Make the In-the-Moment Strategy Work

 

The “proactive deposits” discussed in the Parenting by Deposit Roadmap will make all of the difference in how this situation plays out in the moment.

If you want to be able to handle the situation when your is nasty to you, remember:

 

Depositing into CALM

Connor’s mom will not be able to stay calm if

a.) her own biological or emotional “needs accounts” are low or

b.) she has the expectation that Connor is going to handle it easily when he faces a boundary that makes him unhappy

When she makes sure her own needs are met and sets realistic expectations PROACTIVELY, Connor’s mom is more likely to be able to stay calm.

See Step 1 of the Parenting by Deposit Roadmap for help meeting your needs and setting expectations proactively so you can stay calm.

 

Depositing into CONNECT

Connor’s mom will only be able to connect if

a.) she respects that all behavior has a reason and

b.) she understands those reasons (in this case, that Connor’s lack of ability to handle his emotions are causing him to lash out)

See Step 2 of the Parenting by Deposit Roadmap to learn the reasons for children’s behavior so you can connect more effectively.

 

Depositing into CORRECT

Connor will return to his “responsible” self more quickly if

a.) His mom has demonstrated consistently in the past that she will not “give in” to prevent Connor’s big feelings.

b.) She has made enough deposits into the relationship that being with him in his emotions will help him feel more calm.

When she demonstrates that she means what she says and when she makes deposits into Connor’s emotional needs PROACTIVELY, she will be able to correct more effectively.

See Step 3 of the Parenting by Deposit Roadmap  to learn more about improving your influence so you can correct behavior.