How to Respond to Mean Words

If your child’s mean words cut deep into your soul, this post is for you.

First, I want you to remember that these mean outbursts are the externalization and incorrect verbalization of your child’s inner experience. It’s like a baby crying when they’re hungry. Babies don’t have the skills to communicate properly, so they resort to crying. A lot of our kids have big feelings and not enough brain development or skills to understand their emotions, let alone communicate them properly. It just so happens that bigger kids “crying” has words attached to it that have meaning to us.

Mean outbursts are the externalization and incorrect verbalization of your child's inner experience. Click To Tweet

I want you to ignore the actual words coming out of your child’s mouth and notice other cues. If we focus on the actual words, then we get triggered with our own big feelings. Then our thinking brain is useless too. Instead, stay curious. Could they be hungry? Sad? Mad? Scared?

Then, as Bryan Post encourages, “Ignore the behavior, but not the child.”

If your child is melting down over a school assignment at 4 PM, it’s probably not the assignment. Maybe it’s been a while since they’ve had a snack and a drink. You could try saying, “Wow! You seem pretty grumpy! I wonder if you’d like a __________. ”

There are actually only five reasons your child might be spewing nasty words at you. I give more details in the second video of my free masterclass on Parenting with the Brain in Mind.

If you’d like more help navigation this topic, join us for an upcoming live Behavior Management Q&A. Click here to RSVP.

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