6 things to do when your child is unkind to other children - Hindustan Times

6 things to do when your child is unkind to other children

Nov 24, 2022 02:39 PM IST

Unkind behaviour in children can affect their development as well as their ability to make and keep friends. Here are six things you can do if your child is being unkind to other kids.

When your child is unkind towards other children, it can awaken strong emotions and feelings. If not stopped, unkind behaviour whether physical or verbal can lead to more aggressive antisocial behaviour that will impede your child's academic development as well as their ability to make and keep friends. Children do not intentionally act unkind when they order other children about, say unpleasant things, exclude classmates, or act in other unkind ways. Most of these kids are dealing with challenging anxiety and feelings of insecurity and self-doubt. Even adults find it difficult to understand and cope with these complicated emotions, much less young children who lack the maturity or self-awareness to do so. As a result, they act them out by projecting their uncomfortable feelings onto others. (Also read: Common childhood behaviours and what they mean: Psychologist explains )

6 things to do when your child is unkind to other children(Unsplash)
6 things to do when your child is unkind to other children(Unsplash)

" When your child shows unkind behaviour, it is easy to react with shame and punishment. Then you punish and shame yourself for resorting to these tactics and the pattern continues. But it doesn't have to. Your child doesn't have to be perfect. They will not always act according to the values you're modelling. It doesn't mean you're a bad parent. And you can coach them through their challenging behaviour," says Sidu Arroyo, Family Psychotherapist, in her recent Instagram post. She further advised six things to do when your child behaves in an unkind manner toward others.

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1. Regulate yourself

If there is no immediate danger try to stop for at least a few seconds. Breathe, shake, and move yourself. Remind yourself of the things you know about your child and yourself.

2. Approach with the kindest assumptions

Tell yourself: My child does not need to be perfect. Their behaviour is not a reflection of my worth. I am a good parent. My child is a good kid. I can help them work through this difficult behaviour.

3. Avoid punishment and shameful tactics

Avoid: "You should know better. If you keep acting mean you'll go to timeout." Because children have difficulty separating their behaviour from who they are, punishment reinforces your child's belief that they are bad.

4. Observe, narrate, and reflect

Take a few seconds to observe what is happening. Sometimes your child is able to change their behaviour based on another child's response. If they do not self-correct narrate what you see and help them reflect on what they are feeling and what the other child may be feeling.

5. Encourage cooperative play

"It looks like you're unsure if you want an extra player. I get that. I wonder if an extra player may mean there are more people to chase and freeze. It's your choice. If you decide you don't want an extra player you can say, "not right now."

6. Set a boundary for your child

"You sound frustrated, and we cannot push our new friends. You can tell our friend, "I need space." We're having a hard time using gentle hands right now so we are going to go play in a different part of the park.

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