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Why kids say mean things and act so rude and disrespectful?(part-1)

Updated: Aug 25, 2020

It's so hard for us to process a child's anger. This is because our brains are conditioned to view children's show of emotions as "bad behavior". This is how all of us were raised so it makes perfect sense why its a huge trigger for us!

The first thing we think and utter is, "Stop being so rude! How dare you be so disrespectful to me!"

I remember many years ago when I reacted exactly like that to my son and he suddenly lost his anger and looked at me with a confused expression and said, "What is 'disrespectful'?" That's when it hit me! Kids aren't even trying to be disrespectful because they have no clue what it even means.

Since then I've come to understand better why children seem to totally lose it and say things that make us feel attacked and "disrespected".

The good news is that if this is how your child reacts when you try to set boundaries, it actually means you are a wonderful and kind parent who's children' brains are not jumping into the "freeze" reaction of the brain when they feel stressed. Why did none of us ever speak like that to our elders? Because we were terrified. It had been made clear to us and our parents before us, that children simply do not have an opinion about anything.

When children are shut down like this from a young age, they learn to stay quiet and bottle up their emotions.

It's no surprise that depression and anxiety are SO common in our generation- they're the result of decades worth of a brain's effort to tell itself that feelings don't exist and if they do then we are flawed. We expend TREMENDOUS amounts of energy trying to BURY our emotions and no wonder they ALL come out at our children, the only place we KNOW we won't get judged or rejected for them.

Our children accept ALL of us- with OUR anger and our loss of control and our unkind words.

Can we not do the same for them?

Can't we look past their moment of pain in which they mostly just repeat what WE have taught them?

Can't we forgive them their lack of emotional control since THEY are the ones with an immature brain and not us?

But you know what, I understand your concern. You're not so worried about yourself. You're worried about your children. You don't want them to have "anger issues". You want them to not be us.

Good news: it’s not a habit. It’s not a personality change. It's simple neuroscience- biology of the brain and I'll explain that in part two of this post. BUT here's the not so good news; WE have to model emotional regulation for them to truly learn it. We can't LECTURE our way to better emotional regulation in our children. Tough truth, huh?!

Another good news: I'm here to help you do just that. Go on to part 2.

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