Feeling criticized and judged is often a big trigger that causes kids’ emotional outbursts. When talking with parents about their children’s outbursts, reluctance to cooperate, and outright negativity, I find that parents are unaware of how they have contributed to their child’s reactions.
An important Independent Living Skill in the emotional maturity category is knows several ways to deal with negative comments and criticism. This skill takes quite a while to develop and may not happen until a person is in their 30s. Children have a hard time hearing comments that hurt their self-esteem. It’s helpful to learn how to give directions and listen in a way that takes their inability to manage their emotions into consideration.
Your intention is not to hurt them however the traditional parenting approach is based on punishment. Punishment strategies try to control children through threats and domination with little regard for the child’s feelings. I imagine when you hear this, you may feel shocked! You love your children and you care about their feelings. The problem is that strategies such as yelling, name-calling, shaming, labeling, threats, and hurting by taking things away, to name a few, are forms of punishment.
The struggle parents have now is understanding the negative consequences of their current approach that is hurting their children’s feelings. You are probably trying to use a more positive discipline approach which includes listening to feelings, discussing solutions, and respectfully giving directions. I applaud you for these efforts.
However, as long as you continue to also use punishment, the hurt remains deep in your children and they react according to their hurt self-esteem.
I know you are trying your best. And I’m here to help you do even better by teaching you parenting skills that take your kids’ emotions in mind. Remember that their prefrontal cortex may have many more years of development depending on their age. So, be gentle with your tone of voice when you are stating expectations clearly and decisively so your children are less likely to have emotional upheavals that they can’t yet handle.
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Copyright 2022 – Cynthia Klein, Family Happiness Expert – Coach, speaker, and author of Ally Parenting: A Non-Adversarial Approach to Transform Conflict Into Cooperation. Learn more about Cynthia’s services and contact her at her website, https://bridges2understanding.com. Contact Cynthia for permission to reproduce any information from this article.