My son always answers me badly

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My son always answers me badly

Sometimes it happens without warning, in other periods of life it seems to be the only way to communicate; in any case it is difficult to meet parents who have never happened to hear from answer badly from their own child. But how to behave in the face of these episodes? The advice of Giovanna Ambrosone, pedagogist and specialist of the Touchpoint Approach.

In this article

  • Because your children respond badly to you
  • Why do children aged 4-12 respond poorly
  • How to handle a 4-12 year old child who responds poorly
  • Why do teenagers respond badly
  • 3 ways to deal with an unresponsive teenager
  • Tips for not arguing in distance learning

Because your children respond badly to you

«Before going into the specifics, it seems important to me to share a fundamental aspect of the growth of children and young people - Ambrosone said - They need, in order to become autonomous, to differentiate themselves and progressively distance themselves from parental figures. We will encounter this aspect several times in our path as parents: let's think for example of the "terrible two" (the terrible 2 years of life), the Lies improbable in kindergarten, to use an adolescent idiom that is often incomprehensible to us ".

They are all expressions, proportionate to age, of a desire for affirmation and opposition. They are ways to experiment paths towards independence and to express, with actions and words, their ideas and their will to make small and big personal decisions. Each age with its specifics.

Read also: How to recognize the stages of children's growth

Why do children aged 4-12 respond poorly

In childhood, phrases like "Dad you're bad", "Mom you're a witch" can leave us incredulous and yet they belong to the strategies that children use in the strenuous phase oriented towards self-affirmation and therefore to claim their own individuality separate from that. parental. "In addition to "no" and oppositional behaviors, it is not so infrequent that the child criticizes and attacks parents with phrases which, if taken literally, risk sounding strong and inadmissible. The child, saying "mom, dad, you are bad", communicates at that moment his anger or his sorrow for something. In fact, if we stop to observe, we see how certain phrases, as well as certain behaviors, are never random: it is very likely that the child criticizes the parents or pushes them away, if perhaps he has been reproached for something, if he has been contradicted or is something denied. THE children respond poorly to limits which place parents on the growing capacity to understand that their magical thinking cannot change things ».

How to handle a 4-12 year old child who responds poorly

Faced with these moments, stop for a moment and put these 3 tips into practice:

  1. Don't take them literally ... If we stop for a moment, it will become clear to us that the child does not really think of parents as evil monsters that he does not want closer to him, as indeed when we are also angry with loved ones, we do not really want them to disappear from our life. (even if at that moment maybe we would gladly take a break).

  2. ... but take them seriously. Behind such a sentence, the anger that the child may feel at that moment and that he tries to express with great difficulty must be understood. "Therefore we avoid criticizing or scolding him, or starting to collide with him by closing or taking an offended attitude, because in both cases the risk is that our child perceives his anger as too dangerous and that he may therefore feel guilty".

  3. Welcoming attitude. On the contrary, it is advisable to take a welcoming attitude and to accept the fact that the child may also be angry. "A calm and reassuring reaction, as well as tolerant, helps the child to feel understood and accepted even when he is angry, and this will help him in being able to freely express his emotions and learn to translate them into acceptable actions and words".

Read also: How to be a present parent in 3 words

Why do teenagers respond badly

When does the transition toadolescence the need for self-affirmation and distancing, to enter the world in their own way becomes even more evident. “In this situation, many times the parent becomes an easy target for children who are in a phase of growth and multiple changes, they are more irascible and become more angry if the adult does not respond to their requests. The children use offensive language and strong expressions to experience a distance from the adults of reference, to try to undermine their supremacy and earn their place in the world ». Many times these oppositional behaviors also represent a search for attention and above all for acceptance on the part of the child: "When the mother or father are burdened by the continuous ways of doing children and often repeat to him not to behave in a certain way, a mechanism by which they feel rejected and pull the rope even more ".

Read also: Teenage children: we give them rules and not commands

3 ways to deal with an unresponsive teenager

3 ways to deal with an unresponsive teenager

Here, too, the advice is not to take it personally and too literally: "Try to remain calm, because if the child comes to say" I hate you "," I can't stand you anymore! " she often says it but does not think it: certain behaviors, which seem an attack on the adults of reference, actually communicate a need for affirmation and differentiation ". Therefore you can implement these 3 strategies:

  1. Embrace their emotions. "We adults have the task of accompanying adolescents on the path towards the discovery of their individuality: therefore, take their emotions seriously, always acting with respect towards them".

  2. Don't put yourself on the same level as them. You are parents, not friends or peers: behave as such, therefore, remaining lucid and "putting in place a clear, concrete and age-appropriate system of rules". Then we are losing our temper, we are human. But that is not the rule and that you do not justify yourself by blaming him and saying "he's grown up now": he has grown up compared to childhood, but he is a person who is still developing his own personality.

  3. Active silence. When, despite the right distance from the emotional vortex of our children, the situation becomes unbearable, the strategy devised by Daniele Novara: active silence. «It is a communication pause that parents put in place in a moment of tension. It is not version 2.0 of "I don't talk to you anymore", but the decision taken at significant moments (it doesn't work if we do it three times an hour !!!) to declare that, as we have told him several times, the parents do not they insult and respect is the basis of all communication. At the end you communicate firmly, without excess of words, without shouting, without threatening punishments, that you suspend the communication for a definite time, but not infinite (this technique by adapting the times of silence can also be used in the other phases of growth) ".

Tips for not arguing in distance learning

Now that many kids are not in school, but school comes home through DAD (distance learning), the moments of tension and replies could increase. How to deal with this situation semi-lockdown with teenagers? To the previous ideas we can add:

  1. Don't get involved in the lessons. School activities are part of their life and therefore, if particular contingent problems are not occurring, they must remain so even if carried out at home. "Do not enter the room where they are doing DAD, let them experience the school as their own space as when they were in the presence."

  2. Pay even more attention. Now more than ever pay attention to their words, their emotions: «They are living an excessive time with you parents: right now when they need to be" outside ", build their relationships and break away from the nest, they find themselves trapped in the house. This could increase the desire to differentiate and language sometimes becomes the only means. Now you know that behind those words that hurt you there is a request for help, because they want to become large and autonomous ».

  3. Watch your words too. Emotional understanding, firmness and educational authoritativeness, clear rules: to these strategies we must add one perhaps to be taken for granted, but to be emphasized now that you parents spend much more time in contact with children and maybe less able to modulate the registers according to the various environments: “Use appropriate language. If you also use offensive language in moments of anger, this can be borrowed by your children in their moments of opposition. "

The interviewee

Giovanna Ambrosone is a pedagogist and specialist trained in the Touchpoint Approach, a neuro-evolutionary model conceived by the American pediatrician TB Brazelton to help parents read the various stages of a child's growth.

  • children education
  • educated children
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