“You are the worst mother in the world.” “I don’t want to see you again in my life.” These and other similar ones are somewhat hurtful phrases that we have sometimes heard from our adolescent children and that it is normal that they do not leave us indifferent.
We cannot tell you how you “should” react to these types of phrases, because each one reacts as they can or knows how, but we can encourage you to give them a spin and take into account some ideas that we propose so as not to take them personally.
Keep in mind that these phrases your children do not feel , and surely after saying them they will regret it and feel bad. So how do you react or respond to them?
Does my son really think what he says?
“You are the worst mother in the world”, “I can’t stand you”, “I wish I didn’t live here”, “I don’t want to see you anymore”… Have you ever heard this phrase from your teenage son? They are phrases that are not pleasant to hear, but in this article we invite you to change the approach with which you listen to them, give them a spin and learn to react to them.
And it is that, keep in mind that these types of phrases are usually said by adolescents in moments of high tension , anger, irritability, impulsiveness, rage or any other intense emotion that is dominating them at that moment. Other times they seek to make us angry, but they are not born from a state of prior reflection.
Therefore, they are phrases that your child surely does not think or feel, but says at that specific moment as a result of anger or the intensity of the moment. That is why you should not take them too seriously, although neither should you act as if nothing happened. So how do you react to them? We give you some keys.
How to react to those phrases from your teenager
1. Do not stay alone with the phrase: go one step further
When our children say these phrases to us, they accompany their verbal language with a non-verbal language, that is, with a series of gestures, with a loud and angry tone, even with shouts… thus, the emotion they transmit can be rage, anger, exhaustion…
Therefore, instead of staying on that specific phrase (although we know that what hurts is the tone and how it is said), try to go a little further. This means contextualizing the message in the moment you are in (for example, a heated argument) and understanding your child in its entirety; in his emotion and not only in his words.
This first step will help you: 1. empathize with him, 2. relativize, 3. not take what he tells you literally and 4. have the opportunity to accompany his emotion.
2. What does the sentence say exactly?
Although we insist that what matters is the emotion behind this type of sentence, it can also be useful to analyze the content of the sentence in question, since saying “you are the worst mother in the world” is not the same as saying “you I want to see you more” or “I can’t stand you”.
So try to grade the intensity of those words and find out what might be behind that message. If, for example, he tells you “you are the worst mother in the world”, perhaps he is in a state of great anger; On the other hand, if he tells you “you’re overwhelming me, leave me alone”, perhaps what’s happening is that he’s tired of hearing certain things , of having to face certain limits…
With this we want to tell you that you should not react the same to all the phrases, since they are all different. Also grade your answer based on these phrases.
3. Phrases that speak of their emotion, not of you
Although these types of phrases often begin with “are you…”, in reality, these phrases say more about the emotion that predominates in your children at that moment (how they feel, what stage they are in, etc.), that of you.
Logically, you are not a worse mother for hearing these types of phrases, and neither is your son a worse son for saying them. Making this consideration can help you focus on these phrases in a more serene and assertive way.
4. Put limits
Although it is true that these types of phrases are almost never truly felt by children, and for this reason we have to give them the “weight” or fair importance, it is also true that it is still important to work on respect and limits with children. . They cannot assume the misconception that “since they feel bad, they can talk to us in any way”.
That is not the idea; The idea is to accompany these emotions or give them their space, if they need it, but never tolerate disrespect , and setting limits when necessary. Also, we insist, we must graduate the words and assess whether we can “let them pass” or if we have to make a comment about it.
5. Seek help if needed
On the other hand, although we are understanding, we must also assess the frequency and intensity of these moments. If the situation becomes untenable and these phrases become “big words” , something frequent or aggressive or inadmissible behavior, we also recommend taking action and asking for help from a specialist professional.
6. There are other ways to express yourself and act
Linking it with the above, another idea that can help you know how to deal with these types of phrases is to teach your child that even if we are super angry and “fed up”, there are other ways to express ourselves (and act) more respectfully.
For example, we can convey to them the idea that they can express their anger in the same way but by changing the words they use; instead of “you are the worst mother in the world”, they can resort to “right now I feel too angry to continue talking to you” . This exercise is not easy, because it requires a lot of self-control, but you can start practicing. The idea is not to veto their emotions but to teach them to channel them.
7. Help him find the point of “no return”
When we talk about the point of no return, we refer to that key moment, when our children are very angry, when they identify that they are about to explode and that “there is no going back”. Learning to identify this point is not an easy task either, and requires training, but it is key when it comes to avoiding saying things that our children will surely regret later.
At that point they can stop, breathe for 5 seconds and then yes, speak (surely the phrase is different from the one they were going to say). An idea to teach them to find that point is to encourage them to identify when they are feeling more accelerated (for example, through the pounding in the heart), when they feel the emotion inside them intensify (as if it were a ball of tension), and, ultimately, when they feel they are going to lose control.
8. The grudge, far away
Finally, let’s get away from the grudge and put a little cold mind to the situation. Resentment is useless, it makes no sense to have it (and less with our children). Therefore, if these phrases hurt or bother you, pass it on to your child if you feel it, but do not stay anchored in them . And above all, if your son feels guilty after saying them and asks for your forgiveness, don’t be too harsh with him and accept that forgiveness that he surely says from the heart.
Surely as your son matures, finds his own emotional regulation strategies and passes the complex stage of adolescence, your relationship between mother and son improves and these phrases are finally forgotten.
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