It’s like a bolt of lightning. Those hurtful words that fall out of your child’s mouth towards you. You are left gaping, angry, hurt that your child could say something that would make the pit of your stomach drop.
You feel like you have just been slapped. There’s heat in the moment, sure! But more than that you are aghast at what have you done wrong that your child does not understand the ocean of love that resides within you towards them.
I used to react. Get embarrassed, hurt and get offended. Timeouts and appropriate admonishments followed. But a few months ago, when I wasn’t exhausted beyond comprehension and fresh from a bath, I didn’t admonish or counter his hurtful words in retaliation to being asked to go to bed.
I gave a long, drawn good five minute pause.
His words hung in the air, and fell on the floor like bricks. I could see him processing what he had just said. I asked him if he was proud of himself. He looked down.
I went over all the day’s events where I gave my time, energy and love to keep him happy and healthy. And asked if he still meant what he said.
Needless to say, he reconsidered. After I put him to bed, he came back to me to apologize and say he would’t do it again.
He did. Because of course he’s a child. The only difference is, I didn’t react.
This is something every mother in the history of time faces from her child. This anger of resistance.
What We Do Naturally Do As Adults
It’s something we all do. Say hurtful things when we are angry. The most hurtful things are said to those we love the most, because we know instantly what will cut them to the core. Those are things caused by misunderstanding, miscommunication, and not being heard.
Things said in the heat of the moment. Things we wouldn’t say in happier moments. And never to hurt someone.
If only we took the time to think before we spoke, even in the those dark moments. The below tips will not stop your kids from saying hurtful things instantly. But they will surely teach them to be more mindful of what they say. And you WILL see a change.
Stop Kids Saying Hurtful Things to You
Listen to Them
Yes. They are kids. They do not know what they are doing or saying or that what they are doing is derailing your day. But often giving the some extra notice or five more minutes can stop them from revolting. We look at the clock and talk over them to hurry up and they are unable to process. Remember, just like you, your kids have a plan in their head too. And when their plan gets sidetracked in favor of your day, they as kids don’t really know why. So listen to their plans.
Don’t React Instantly
Take three breathes. And pause.
Don’t react to derogatory, disrespectful talk. Think back to what all led up to this point in the past 5,10,15 mins. Pay attention to what has happened uptill now.
Give them time to process what they have just said. Taking the time to think about how they have behaved badly gives them a a chance to be pro active in their remorse and honestly, they do take the time to think about why is it they have said this.
Go Over The Day and Ask Them to Rephrase
Yes, showing them the many simple ways you have given parts of yourself for their smile teaches them to look over the day with gratitude and fills their heart with the recognition of unconditional love.
Let Forgiveness Fill Your Heart
Yes, forgive them and yourself. You are not a bad parent. This is human, this desire to hurt someone who seems to be putting you in an uncomfortable positive, specially one you don’t want to be in.
Let your kids be forgiven and let those words go. It is not as easy as it may sound. You will wonder often about those words for the next few days. But you can do it.
Be Mindful of Your Own Words
This is paramount. Your kids look towards you for conflict resolution. When you react badly about a colleague or talk badly when in an argument with any relationship, that is the path your child follows when looking to process bad feelings. Be a good example to them. Specially when talking to them, when helping them resolve something. Or getting them to see that conflict resolution can be done calmly and resolutely is a wonderful way to help them grow strong and respectful in their arguments.
When in any situation, be the bigger person by putting yourself in the other person’s shoes yourself. Go through the many ways in which your relationship with that person has brought to your life. When you do this time and again, your life prospers.
Come to think of it, these would be great tips to apply to every relationship. What else would you add to this list? What are your tips to resolve conflicts with your child?