Why do children laugh when you scold them?

Why do children laugh when you scold them?
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It often happens in the midst of a scolding that your son or daughter looks at you with those sweet big eyes, stares at you, and then laughs as if the lecture was actually a funny joke.

Not all children react to reprimand in the same way and this does not only concern the parents, but is also an attitude shared by teachers. There are children who with a scolding change their way of acting and follow the rules, others react with screams and tantrums and still others having a good laugh.

The latter way of reacting is certainly the least pleasant for the adult. But why do they laugh at the reproach? It could be a defense mechanism to lighten the moment and hope that the situation returns to normal or because they do not realize the seriousness of the reprimand and therefore consider it a small thing. It all depends on how you manage it.

What must not be forgotten and what must be clear to the child is that the reproach does not undermine and damage the deep bond that exists between him and the adult of reference. The scolding is accompanied by anger and, in turn, anger is an emotion that lasts as long as the event lasts, it is not necessary to extend the time for an excessively long period. This applies to all age groups, but especially small children.

READ ALSO: How to scold children and make them feel loved

In this article

  • How to react
  • How not to feel guilty
  • Make a child understand a no

Why do children laugh when you scold them? The podcast

Answered by Dr. Patrizia Mattioli, Psychologist and Cognitive Behavioral Psychotherapist. Collaborator of the Committee of GuidaPsicologi.com

How to react if your child laughs while you are scolding him?

There are parents who get even more nervous when faced with laughter because they consider it a great lack of respect, while others are softened and it all ends up "in tarallucci and wine". Here, let's say that a middle ground should be found. It is certainly important to maintain a degree of firmness in the moment in which the reproach starts, in short, never let your guard down and never exaggerate. Here are some suggestions:

  1.  Saying "no" without motivating it makes no sense: children, but even teenagers need rules and explanations to grow in the best possible way. The "no" must always be justified and if, while you are scolding, your child laughs in your face, you need to keep your gaze fixed on him or her and speak firmly and firmly. Sometimes children and young people use this strategy a little to test your patience and challenge yourself, to see how far you are capable of going.
  2.  Another good thing to do when dealing with children is to put oneself at their physical height, both when you speak softly to him and when there is a reprimand in progress.
  3. Furthermore, it is important that there are no disturbing elements such as the television on or that the child is not busy playing and therefore not paying attention to what you are saying. Physical contact in these cases may not even exist, let's say that it depends on how high your anger level is: taking his hand could hurt him and therefore it is better to avoid.
  4. Always listen to the motives of those you are berating, do not simply listen to your reasons by moving forward with the knowledge that your say is more important than that of others, especially when we are in front of children and adolescents. Trying to understand why they acted in that way is necessary to find a meeting point and not to let the call be limited to simply raising one's voice and banning games or cell phones.
  5. It should always be emphasized that raising your hands, spanking or slapping is of no use at all: they are just your physical outlet, as if the anger you harbor inside comes out and hits the target. It is often said that a spanking has never hurt anyone, but in reality precisely because the gesture of the hand that strikes is internalized by the child generates fear and fright in him.
  6. With adolescents, the path of dialogue should be the right one, but this is not always the case. Adolescence is an extremely delicate age, children are no longer small, but neither are they adults who can manage their lives independently. For this reason, establishing rules is very important. Teens sometimes laugh at scolding because they don't recognize parental or teacher authority or they do it as a sign of arrogance to show the peer group how mature they are: a sort of test of courage.

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How not to feel guilty when you scold yourself

Guilt is often part of the post-reprimand. The task of the adult is to accompany the child and the boy in their personal and social growth, to make them understand that that "no" was necessary to train them and to help them grow. If at the moment of the recall I am the first to be hesitant, then it is certain that that reproach has no value, is not received by the child and therefore is not taken into consideration.

It is important that the trust that the child places in the parents is not lost and that the parents in turn do not show signs of weakness due to the sense of guilt. Since every reproach has a beginning and an end, it must not last over time and must concern only that moment and that wrong action of the child or boy. In practice, it is necessary to avoid associating other episodes that on that occasion would be out of place and unsuitable.

Read also: 10 ways to set a good example for children

Make children understand no

We have said that "no" alone does not make any sense. Instead, it is necessary to always accompany the motivation that leads the adult to justify the "no". It is good that, even when we are faced with separated parents, the rules are shared and respected by the ex couple. This is important for the serenity of the child so that, despite the upheaval that generated the separation, he still lives his growing up in the most peaceful way possible.

Furthermore, you must know how to use "no", it should not be repeated for everything, but it is a sort of wildcard to be used only when needed, for example in view of some real danger: in the latter case we will show ourselves with a steady voice, fixed gaze to the interlocutor and a nice "no" (not shouted!), as long as he is always motivated.

Chiara Mancarella is a Clinical Pedagogist enrolled in ANPEC (National Association of Clinical Pedagogues) and primary school teacher. She is an expert in DSA and management of school and training conflicts, she has followed several courses on bullying and cyberbullying. She will soon be publishing her book "Dear parents, wake up! Notes of a clinical educator" on education, relationship, quiet family life, school.



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