Is your biggest bully your child? Sometimes it feels that way for sure! If you can relate, remind yourself of this simple parenting fact of life.
I felt like I road an emotional time machine back to a time that no one in their right mind would chose to return to: Middle School.
I was constantly self-conscious, easily brought to tears, and desperately in need of approval.
The mean girl in my life – my biggest bully – was my own kid.
To others, my little “Regina George” (Mean Girl reference) was a sweetheart. Everyone would constantly tell me how polite she was and how lovely she was to be around.
However, around me her emotions were rough, raw, and screaming to be heard.
Not only was every single unfiltered thought and feeling worn on her sleeve in my presence, but it felt like she took out all of her problems on me – hence why I felt targeted by her.
We are out of waffles? She “hates” me.
She wants to go outside but it is raining? I suddenly disgust her.
The relentless bullying was making me feel like a 7th grade girl – sitting alone at a lunch table while the cheerleaders giggled at my outfit.
Then, a friend told me something that instantly made it all make perfect sense.
You Are Your Kid’s Safe Place
Your child is mean to you because they feel comfortable feeling and expressing ALL of their emotions with you.
You are safety. You are home.
Karen Dudley, a child-development specialist, explained to Parents.com that children feel more comfortable expressing how they feel around the primary caregiver – typically mom. With moms, children feel like they can let their guard down and express their feelings because mom will listen and help them.
Ironically, when your child is bullying you, it is a huge compliment for a mother. It means that they truly believe that your love for them is unconditional.
How to Respond When Your Kid is Your Biggest Bully
There are three important things to remember when your kid is treating you like the gum stuck to the bottom of their shoe.
1) Remain Calm
Remind yourself that your child is acting out towards you because they trust you.
You must do your best to stay calm so that your child will continue to feel comfortable expressing their emotions to you.
I know – it’s hard.
Do your best to have a calm tone of voice and welcoming body language. Or, if all else fails, step out of the room for a moment.
Lost your cool? Don’t fret, do these 5 things to hit the reset button with your child after you yell.
2) Don’t Take it Personally
I have been on the receiving end of some pretty nasty comments from my angry children.
It is crucial to never take these things personally, hold a grunge, or lose sleep thinking about these comments.
Your child doesn’t mean these things. They are trying to work through emotions and, as their parent, you are often just caught in the crossfire.
If your kid is your biggest bully, also read: 3 powerful steps for when your kid says “I hate you”.
3) Stick by Clear Boundaries
I have spoken a lot about staying calm and understanding your child’s attitude towards you; however, this doesn’t mean to let them rule the roost.
Your child needs clear boundaries to rely on. When they are upset, acknowledge their feelings BUT refer to your boundaries. For example, “I can see that you are upset, but it is not okay to say those things to me.”
Also read: 5 Signs You are Too Strict of a Parent
Also read: Anger Management Coping Skills for Kids
Final Thoughts on Your Child Acting as Your Biggest Bully
While on the outside my daughter treated me like she was the popular kid at school who just found out I secretly play with dolls and sleep with my “blankie”, she still always wanted to be around me.
She wanted to share all her joys with me and all her sorrows.
All her triumphs and all her failures.
She is sharing her true self with me. And, I am confident that when the bullying ends a deep bond will remain.
You may also enjoy: How to help your kid reset after a bad day
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