Ever had a hard time saying NO to someone you like because you don’t want to upset them or hurt their feelings? It’s easy to say no when you’re mad, but what about when everything is going great? What if you don’t want to “create a problem?”
Children and Anger
How about with your toddler? How often do you avoid meltdowns by changing the subject or “distracting” them from their objective? It’s easier in the moment, sure. And there are times you just want to keep the peace, of course. But, make no mistake. When you do it to avoid confrontation and disagreement, you’re keeping your kids from learning that it’s okay to feel disappointed or angry that you can’t always have what you want. And you’re avoiding their anger toward you for “civilizing” them.
Children need to be allowed to be angry and to be angry at you. They need a mirror that reflects a loving acceptance of all their feelings. Not all their behaviors, but all their feelings. Even the ugly ones.
Anger and Self-Confidence
By telling your kids through verbal or non-verbal communications that you can’t handle their “ugly” feelings and that you’d rather avoid them, you undermine the foundations of their self-confidence.
They learn that they aren’t supposed to have those feelings, which leads them to the experience at an unconscious level that something is fundamentally wrong with them. They will struggle with accepting themselves completely.
They’ll lack the confidence necessary to tell people no. They’ll worry about acceptance outside of themselves and “being good” because they do not accept themselves fully on the inside.
When that family friend or uncle so-and-so’s affections toward your kid take a wrong turn, don’t you want them to feel confident in refusing instead of worrying about disappointing that person or making them angry?
Your children need your help to love the “ugly” parts of themselves. Do them that favor.
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