Why kids act mean
29 Apr


Children’s Behavior: It turns out our little Saumya is a “mean girl.” Her teacher reports that she is very bossy at school, dictating what they can and cannot do to her peers. She uses threats to get her way, telling kids they won`t be invited to her house for a playdate or she will tell the teacher about them if they don`t do what she wants. She excludes kids from her play, especially when she is 1:1 with another child. She tells the intruder to go away, repeating that perennial, preschool mantra: “No thank you!” She also criticizes her classmates` work and teases them when they make a mistake. She constantly puts her brother down at home and won’t let him play with her unless he follows all her commands. He doesn’t say anything. We are stunned by this behavior and do not know where it comes from. We always talk about kindness at home, but we also focus on kindness at school. I don’t know how to make her the kind person we want. As a parent, it feels terrible not to like your child. They are embarrassed and worried about the negative effects of this behavior on their children now and in the future. The more you try to change your behavior and teach your child kindness, the worse it seems to be. When they try to talk about it, your child becomes defensive and shuts down. You feel helpless in making positive changes.

Why do children act mean?

When children boss other kids around, say hurtful things, exclude peers, and act in other unkind ways, they are not acting mean on purpose. By and large, these kids are struggling with difficult feelings of insecurity/self-doubt and anxiety. These complex emotions are uncomfortable and hard to make sense of and cope with, even for adults, no fewer young children don`t have the self-awareness or skills to deal with these emotions effectively; so, they act them out via projection, attributing uncomfortable emotions to others.

For example, Anjali makes fun of peers when they get an answer wrong during circle time or miss getting the ball into the basket. She has a very low threshold for not being in control and perfect. When she sees other kids stumbling, it triggers her feelings of vulnerability and shame. She projects difficult emotions that she finds intolerable to others. It’s unhealthy, but it’s a coping mechanism. The exclusion of peers is also a coping mechanism for children who are uncomfortable with the complexity of group dynamics. When playing with only one child, they may find it safest and avoid other children trying to participate. Or, the child excludes others because they are afraid to be excluded. Dictating who can and can`t participate is a way to maintain control and ensure he won`t be excluded.

For example, Micky had a hard time maintaining positive social relationships. He insists they create teams in his pod so that he is guaranteed to have at least one child in his corner, indemnifying himself from being left out.

Children might also exclude gaining some sense of power, to feel like they are the boss of who does what. I have seen this behavior emerge when there is a new baby in the family: the older child senses a loss of power and starts to become bossy to regain his stature.

Children who are very sensitive to nature are more likely to act in this unfriendly way. Children are wired to register their feelings and experiences in the world deeper than other children. You are a processor. It’s like their brain never shuts down. You focus on everything and analyze. They take in more than their system can handle, making them feel out of control and more easily anxious. When they feel out of control on the inside, they can become very controlling on the outside acting like a fascist dictator a moniker many a parent has ascribed to their HS child. Dictating what others can and can`t do is a way to ensure that things will go the way they feel most comfortable. Children with HS also tend to be confident-they are keen on how others see them. When they can’t do exactly what they want or expect, or when they aren’t winners, they experience it as a loss of control and their perceived failure. Watching other children fight causes a sense of their vulnerabilities. These emotions are intolerable, so they project them onto these children and lay them down, as we saw with Sumi. To make up for anxiety, these children need to be better than anyone else. When a colleague shares something special during a circle. For example, when traveling to Disney World, he is the one who says “I’ve been to Disney World 100 times!”. From this insight and perspective, we can see why we rarely “teach” or give kindness. Tell the children they have to be kind. I can’t deal with the underlying problem that causes unfriendly behavior. A 3-year-old child “knows” what is right and what is wrong. They will tell you that it is rude and it is not okay to exclude children or say sneaky things. But the moment they are triggered, their less reactive brain takes over. Your emotions and urges win.

What you can do?

  • Control your emotions/reactions.

Seeing and hearing a child’s unkindness is very annoying to most parents. Worried about what this behavior means for the child, it puts the child into reaction mode. They educate their children in the hope that they can persuade them to change their behavior. The problem is that this kind of reaction is shameful, making children defensive and much less likely to think or change their behavior. Only your child has control over its ultimate goal and something. You can’t be kind to your child. Your job is to show your child that you are on their side. You are a reliable helper and guide you to think of his experience in a non-judgmental way so that he can learn to make the best decisions for himself.

  • Tell us what happened, without criticism or judgment.

“You like playing alone with Jasmine. When other kids try to join you, you don’t like it, so you tell them to go. Sometimes Jasmine is another friend. Decide to play with, but you choose not to participate even if they invite you. Then you are sad to be alone. ” ” They like to take responsibility They have a very specific idea of ​​what the game should be. If your friends have different ideas about how to play, you don’t like it and say something harmful to them to try to get them to do what you want to do. “When Simran gave the wrong answer to the question, you laughed at the teacher. The teacher told you to leave the circle because you weren’t good. It made you angry.” When you put it very factually, you show your child that you are not judging them. If you want them to rethink their reaction, you have to start where your child is.

  • Guide your child to evaluate the outcome of the encounter.

First, understand that your child is a kind person who sometimes struggles to act. It’s part of being human and it makes you behave unfriendlily. Not only does it harm others, but it’s also not good for you. It makes people feel awkward and negative towards you instead of seeing how wonderful and interesting you are. Consider these situations. That way, you can decide how to deal with your friends so that they have good positive thoughts about you. Did you tell them to go? “How did you feel when Jasper went out to play with the other kids?” “Did it work as you wanted?” Again? “When you tell them what to do, how do you think it feels to your friends?” What do they think of you? “If they don’t want to play with you, what do you think? What will happen in the end? Will you like it?” “What other options do you have?” “You are a very sensitive person. Put yourself in Edward’s position and imagine how he would feel if he laughed when he made a mistake. Now he has a good feeling for you. Do you think or do you feel bad? The idea is not to teach your child what to do but to help them think about their experience as objectively as possible. please think about it. This is the kind of response most of us want when going to a friend or family member with a problem. You don’t want them to tell you what to do. You ask someone who can help you without judgment to look at the situation from a 360-degree angle, clarify how you feel, and think about what course modifications you want to make. I think I want to do it. For these conversations with your child, allow them to ask questions rather than “correct” them to link their actions with their consequences. This makes her more likely to eventually change her behavior. At the end of the day, your child needs to learn to solve their problems. You can’t solve them for them.

  • Share your point of view.

When your child sees that you don’t try to tell them what to do, or that you are ashamed of them for their actions, they hear what you have to say. It is more likely to be more open. You haven’t told him what to do yet, you’re just giving him your point of view so he can think about it. “I know you like to have special friends for yourself, but some kids want more than one friend. Just because Jasper wants to involve other kids doesn’t mean you’re not special to him. It seems that you need to decide if you can comfortably play with Jasper at the party. it is up to you. “If you want your friends to play with you, you need to think flexibly about incorporating your ideas into your play. They take turns playing different roles and sometimes pushing others forward. What do you want to do?” What do you think? ” ” Do you remember working hard to ride a motorcycle and getting angry every time you fell? You didn’t like the feeling that it wasn’t perfect right away-it made me It’s difficult for many people, including! You want to think about what your friends should say to you in such situations, and how you want to react to your friends when they are having a hard time. You might think that. Recently, I’ve found it very effective to have these conversations on FaceTime and Zoom. You and your child go to separate rooms and have remote discussions. This can reduce the discomfort felt by some children during these face-to-face conversations. It removes some pressure and opens them further.

  • It provides tools to help children stop unfriendly behavior.

See your child on an unfriendly path and think of loud clues to see if you can fix the course before things get out of hand. Brian does this to his son Rahul, who has a habit of making fun of children in the playground. Brian shouts “Banana Brain”. It’s an interesting word they came up with when the bullying began. In most cases, the derrick will stop provoking and move forward more positively. Providing this kind of support shows your child that you are on their side and that you are helping them make better decisions.

When to ask for help!

If your average behavior persists and regularly interferes with your child’s ability to grow with school, home, or peers, it is advisable to seek the support of a child development professional. These are complex issues that children are struggling with and may require more professional attention.

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