When the child scolds the parents

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When the child scolds the parents

Rules, scolding and containment are part of daily family life and a healthy relationship between parents and children. But if it is the child scolding dad and mom? It is an eventuality that always amazes and displaces parents, sometimes because it worries and at others because it arouses amused curiosity. What do children want to tell us with their "rages" and how should we behave in front of them? He talks about it there pedagogist Laura Mazzarelli.

In this article

  • Why does a child scold parents 3-6 years old
  • Why does a child scold parents 6-12 years old
  • My son scolds me: is it okay or is it a problem?
  • What to do when the child scolds parents 3-6 years
  • What to do when the child scolds parents 6-12 years

Why does a child scold parents 3-6 years old

"We often see scenes in which a child scolds his parents - begins the expert - and this should not surprise too much". Babies do this for at least 3 intertwined reasons:

  1. Because they learn by imitation. "At the brain level, mirror neurons reproduce the behaviors and attitudes they see." In fact, it happens to see boys and girls turn to their puppets or dolls as their parents or teachers turn to them: they do so in part also with their peers, but it is with adults that they feel more legitimate.

  2. Because they are confronted with the adult world. «With the adult the child is measured and, also through the rules set by him, he experiences himself in the relationship with the authority to build his own identity. If a way of relating to children is inevitably also that of reproach, they propose it to their parents ("you scold me, I scold you") ».

  3. Because they vent their emotions. In addition, at the age of 3 to 6 years, the emotional component that they are not yet able to manage affects so much in the outbursts of children: "The scoldings at this age are above all a discharge of emotions, perhaps of frustration with respect to something that comes to them prevented and not so much to something "personal" with the parent ».

Why does a child scold parents 6-12 years old

If already around the age of 4-5 some children scold their parents also because they are already developing a sense of ethics and justice, it is from 6 years of age that, with the progressive development of the neocortex, the awareness of one's emotions. «The reasons for the reproaches therefore move more on the cognitive level, to externalize differences of views or to question some rules. From the age of 8 they begin to oppose more and react to what they perceive as injustices ».

This happens for two reasons:

  1. Because they are developing their own identity. As they grow up they will increasingly follow their natural evolutionary need to become autonomous and affirm their individuality by differentiating and distancing themselves progressively from the parental figures.

  2. When they don't feel heard. “Children also have needs and sometimes parents' decisions seem not to take them into account. Faced with some forms of education such as imposing or blackmailing, which transmit little listening to them, the children close themselves off and try to rebel. If they are treated with little respect, they risk repaying with the same currency and in the same ways ".

Read also: My son always answers me badly

My son scolds me: is it okay or is it a problem?

Is a child who scolds mom and dad a symptom of a healthy relationship or a failure to recognize the parental role?

  • Pro. «The positive thing is that he does not suffer everything and is not afraid of our figure, which therefore does not appear to his eyes as authoritarian and despotic. As a parent, you can appreciate if your child is developing a critical sense and feels entitled to express his or her opinion. Do not immediately think that they should not afford, they can and must, but in the right ways ».

  • Against. If it is therefore healthy to express one's disappointments even as "children", the problem is to do so in an acceptable and respectful way: "Many parents, for example, complain that children beat them: this is not good, not even if it is a question of 3-6 year old children who struggle to control negative emotions. The adult's decision certainly generated a frustration that they vent on him, almost unwittingly. But they must learn to channel anger in another way, with due respect for other people. This "physical release" cannot be allowed just because it is understandable and therefore must be stopped ».

Read also: How to educate children who do not listen: the phrases to use

What to do when the child scolds parents 3-6 years

If a kindergarten child yells at their parents, this can be done as follows:

  • Accept the criticism. Accept that the child as a person disagrees with you and may have different needs

  • Listen to it and converse. One can, one must also speak with a child of this age: «Creating a relationship of mutual listening is the basis on which you will limit these episodes. Of course, the space for negotiation with such a small child is minimal, because he needs containment and not options he cannot manage: the compromise, for example, on his refusal to go to his grandparents can mean spending less time there ".

  • Apologize. Children are sometimes right in their reproaches: "Accept his point of view and admit it candidly:" You're right, I was wrong, I shouldn't have been so angry but I lost my patience. It also happens to grown-ups. " By saying a sentence like this, for example, you show your human side: roles are not confused in this way, but rather reaffirmed thanks to this ability that the adult figure has to process emotions. We are mum and dad, and we tell you this with authority and not authoritarianism ».

  • Code the emotions but without permissiveness. At this age children don't know how to do this, only an adult can name their anger or disappointment. «But you don't hit because the other person must be respected, period: you can't always do what you want. There is no compromise on this ».

Read also: How to handle an oppositional child

What to do when the child scolds parents 6-12 years

In elementary school, the good work done previously will benefit: «If the relationship is based on confrontation, the child knows that he does not need to shout to be heard. If, on the other hand, you provide him with an enemy to oppose, he will oppose. '

  • Negotiate. The spaces for compromise widen a little: "At this age, children still do not see all the effects of their actions and do not have a full sense of responsibility, but it certainly does not help them if, for example, they behave as if school responsibilities belonged to mum and dad. At the blackmail "if you don't do your homework you won't go to the party" they will rebel; instead let them choose whether to do them before or after the party. That they have to do them is a fixed point, there is no escape, but you have begun to propose two options for which they are responsible ».

  • Explain the rules. The rules must also be explained to the little ones, but at this age the understanding of the meaning of the requests that are made is fundamental given the reasons why boys and girls can scold their parents: "They begin to recognize emotions, but they still don't know place them well in a social relationship. Building a horizon of meaning on which to support requests and prohibitions or open discussions is what they need. "Because I decided it" is not an explanation, on the contrary it is an attempt to affirm an authority that you feel threatened ».

  • Authority and firmness. The message is "you can choose, but I define the educational container". It means not imposing oneself - because those who experience continuous lack of respect will put them back into action - but remembering that a "no" survives: «We should be able to say" I talk to you like that? No and therefore you don't, period ". Firmness starts with expressing the negative emotion that caused your child's behavior. In front of a solid and aware person the child stops because he understands that he is not joking: without screaming you say: "I'm sorry, I'm resentful and sad. I will not allow you to talk to me like that and when you have calmed down we talk about your behavior and of what happened. Think about it. "The root on which the role of parents rests is precisely the ability to accept one's own humanity, without fear of losing authority or one's role".

The interviewee

Laura Mazzarelli is an educator and co-author of the book "Instead of saying ... Try saying. The words to educate children with loving firmness" (Mondadori, 2022). She takes care of her own blog entitled "The pedagogical path".

  • child psychology
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