Calm down! Why you shouldn’t yell at a child - Komarovsky

Increasingly, psychologists are diagnosing low self-esteem in children. First of all, its formation is influenced by the atmosphere in the family and the style of communication between parents and children. Is it possible to somehow avoid the irritation that is heard every now and then in a parent’s voice? A Norwegian psychologist tells how parents can learn to do without swearing.

What is swearing?

I asked fourteen-year-olds what makes swearing swearing, that is, why someone's words are perceived as swearing. All respondents were unanimous: “Voice, intonation. If they speak with normal intonation, then it means they are simply reporting something.” Thus, it is the form of expression that is important, not the choice of words, that turns words into swearing.

Consider, for example, this appeal to a twelve-year-old child (initially neutral): “Are you lying here on the sofa and reading?” If this is said in a friendly manner, then the statement will be perceived as a simple statement of fact or, perhaps, a veiled invitation to communicate (“Hello, there you are!”). If the same phrase is pronounced in an angry or irritated tone, with a raised voice, then it will be perceived as a reproach or scolding.

The form expresses dissatisfaction with the state of things (“You should do something else, tidy up your room, for example!”). The form of swearing always contains accusation or criticism: “I’m dissatisfied with you, you’re doing everything wrong,” or even worse, “You’re not the way you should be.” Swearing is criticism expressed through body language, intonation, voice, or choice of offensive words.

Children get upset when they are scolded, which is understandable. Here are the statements of two five-year-old children about how they feel:

“It hurts me inside.”

“It’s like being hit with a voice.”

Reasons why it is better not to scold

  • Misunderstanding

If this is a child under the age of 4, he simply does not understand the parents' feelings that they are upset by such behavior. Children at this age can only admit their mistake if it is pointed out to them correctly. Only after 4 years does the child begin to understand the way adults think, but this is a very slow process, and until the child has achieved at least half an understanding, selfish demands appear. And this cannot be corrected by swearing.

  • To avoid being scolded, he uses deception.

Thus, Michigan scientists confirm that it is easier for a child to admit to what he has done and that it is bad if he knows that an adult will not swear and will praise him for his confession. Children fear scandal more than punishment. If an adult praises the child for being honest, this will help build mutual trust.

  • Swearing hurts grades.

The more and more strongly parents scold a child for grades, the less desire he has to correct them. If parents scold and lecture a child for grades from the first grade, then as a result, as the child reaches adolescence, the child may turn out to be a rebel. And this can lead to bad company and an unhealthy lifestyle.

  • Children get tired of emotions too

With the help of food, especially sweets, people cope with stress, both adults and children. If you scold a child, perhaps he will reach for something tasty once, twice. And the more depressed he is, the more he will eat. This way the child can gain excess body weight very quickly. Emotional overeating has a very bad effect on a child’s health; during adolescence, he may develop acne, wrinkles, and this will be especially difficult for girls to bear. So one problem leads to another. Also, sweets should not be given as a way of encouragement or taken away as punishment.

  • Children can be smarter at some things

The thing is that children more often notice factors that adults do not see. But age does not always affect the mind. Therefore, the idea that adults, due to experience and more mature age, know more is not always confirmed. A child may think immaturely. But they are more actively studying the environment. And they see the picture as a whole better than an adult.

Psychologists say that swearing is an almost desperate attempt to point out a mistake to a child. But more often than not, it is precisely because of such a breakdown by the parents that the effect turns out to be the opposite, and the child still does the wrong thing. The task of parents at the moment of such emotions is to find a point of support, calm down and then talk to the baby calmly.

Swearing for education?

If we were to ask upset parents who had just scolded their child what they wanted to achieve by doing so, we might have heard the following: “There must be some limits! You can’t let him do whatever he wants!” On the surface, we see the usual desire when using swearing to force a child to do what is necessary (or, conversely, to forbid him to do something that should not be done). Adults scold children for educational purposes.

Then a logical question arises: does swearing contribute to education? No. Swearing has not an educational, but a detrimental effect. Especially if you think about self-esteem, and that’s what we’re thinking about now.

Swearing causes negative emotions; children feel sad and ill under the influence of an adult’s harsh tone. The child lowers his head, his shoulders droop, he looks to the side or down. Perhaps he even starts to cry. Swearing makes a child feel guilty (“I did something bad”) or shame (“I’m not what I should be”). Older children sometimes become defensive or angry in response, and as a result, a row breaks out. Many children shut down when they are scolded, and if this is done often, children can shut down completely. We don’t want this at all - all of us most of all want our children to be open and cheerful. Frequent and strong swearing is detrimental to self-esteem, as children become fearful, unsure of themselves, their own importance and value.

We adults rarely scold each other, because we care what others think of us, we are afraid of making a bad impression. We look at ourselves through the eyes of others and correct our behavior, restraining impulsive impulses of anger and irritation. We strive to find acceptable forms of communication that do not offend other people.

True, there is an exception: couples whose relationships have been going on for quite a long time often allow themselves to swear. It seems we only fight with those we are confident in. We allow ourselves to scold when another is dependent on us (like, for example, a child) or if we believe that the other will not get away from us. However, this does not mean that swearing helps strengthen relationships. Relationships survive despite the abuse rather than because of it. Swearing does not create, but destroys mutual understanding and intimacy.

“But everyone is allowed to be angry sometimes!” - you may object. Anger is a part of our lives, but it is different from constant swearing. Anger is a natural emotional reaction in situations when something has greatly frightened us, when our personal boundaries have been violated. Children tolerate anger normally; they should see their parents’ natural reactions (at least if they are helped to understand the reasons for their occurrence). But they do not tolerate the irritation of adults, which spills out on them in the form of daily abuse.

Storm! A storm is coming soon!

In many families, quarrels between parents and children develop in a predetermined sequence. When a child does or says something wrong, the father and mother inevitably utter words that are offensive to him. Of course, children respond to them even more harshly. Parents start shouting and threatening - not far from spanking. And a thunderstorm breaks out in the house.

Nine-year-old Tolik was playing with a tea cup.

  • Mother: You'll break it! This has already happened, and more than once!
  • Tolik: No, I won’t break it.

Then the cup fell on the floor and broke.

  • Mother: Those are hook hands! Soon you will break all the dishes in the house!
  • Tolik: You also have hook hands! You dropped your dad's electric razor and it broke.
  • Mother: How do you talk to your mother! Rude!
  • Tolik: You are a rude person yourself, you started it first!
  • Mother: Shut up now! And go to your room!
  • Tolik: I won’t go!

Driven to white heat, the mother grabbed her son and spanked him severely. Trying to free himself, Tolik pushed his mother away. She could not stay on her feet and, falling, broke the glass door, injuring her hand with fragments. At the sight of blood, Tolik got terribly scared and ran out of the house. They could not find him until late evening. It’s easy to imagine how worried the adults were.

It doesn’t matter whether Tolik has learned to handle dishes carefully. But he received a negative lesson - how not to behave with his mother. The problem is this: could it have been avoided by turning the situation differently?

Seeing her son playing with a cup, the mother could take it and put it in its place, and give the boy something else, for example a ball. Or when the cup has already broken, the mother could help her son clean up the shards by saying something like: “Cups break easily. Who would have thought that there would be so many fragments from this cup!” Surprised and delighted, Tolik would most likely immediately ask his mother for forgiveness for his action. And mentally he would have concluded: “Cups are not for playing.”

Parents need to help their children understand the difference between a simple nuisance and a tragedy or disaster. It often happens that parents themselves react to events inappropriately. But a broken watch is not a broken leg, a broken window is not a broken heart! And you need to talk to children something like this:

-I see you've lost your glove again. It's a shame, because it costs money. It’s sad, to be sure, even though it’s not a tragedy.

If your son has lost his glove, you shouldn’t lose your good mood because of it. If he tore his shirt, you should not tear your clothes in despair, like the heroes of ancient Greek tragedies.

How to avoid swearing?

This may sound a little strange, but one of the best ways to avoid swearing is to play with your child every day. Set aside a little time, half an hour or more (at least twenty minutes), so that the child gets a sense of the duration of this process. Invite your child to do something with you (something he likes). This could be role-playing, playing by the rules, playing a board game, spending time together on the playground, drawing together, reading a book, or doing something else.

Let the child decide for himself what you will do, and you will agree with him, even if you think that it is not such an interesting activity. Tell yourself that you will follow the child. If he asks you to be someone - accept the role, invites you to play a board game - do it. The point is to be with your child on his terms.

Playing together pays off. The child feels seen and valued, and their self-esteem is reinforced daily. He becomes calmer when he knows that he does not have to fight for your attention, and he listens better when you tell him what needs to be done. A daily dose of harmonious communication prevents situations from arising that provoke the desire to resort to abuse. If you have not practiced daily play with your child before, you will notice the effect within a few days.

How not to swear at your child

Children play pranks, disobey, do all sorts of dirty tricks... Even babies can “show character.” You try to resolve everything quietly, but it doesn’t always work out. And then the question arises: How not to swear at your child? Is it possible? What harm does swearing cause?

The content of the article

  1. Reasons that lead to disturbances in a child’s behavior
  2. Do not swear at your child under any circumstances when...

Child psychology is a whole science. Children are very sensitive and vulnerable. One harsh word can cause mental trauma to a child, which will subsequently be very difficult to heal. A site for mothers will figure out why you shouldn’t scold your child and how to find an alternative to scolding.

A child, no matter how small he is, is already a person . He has his own rights, needs and desires. But on the other hand, he is significantly different from an adult . A child’s bad behavior is not necessarily a desire to do something to spite you. Try not to scold your child, otherwise he may become withdrawn, move away from you, or receive psychological trauma.

Before scolding, it is worth finding out the reason why the child’s behavior has become unbearable.

Reasons that lead to disturbances in a child’s behavior

Wrong approach to education

Analyze whether you are doing everything correctly, whether you always respond adequately to the child’s behavior, question and request. Are you punishing correctly or, conversely, rewarding?

Study load is too heavy

Find out from your child how busy he is with lessons, electives, and extracurricular activities. Perhaps if you unload him a little, he will be less tired. And this, accordingly, can reduce his nervousness , which leads to bad behavior.

General fatigue, malaise

When a child is still small, he cannot always explain that he feels bad, wants to sleep, is tired, etc. That's why he's capricious. You shouldn't punish him right away. Find out the reason.

My three-year-old son, if you don’t put him to sleep during the day, becomes simply unbearable by the evening. Then I try not to scold him, but try to put him to rest or interest him in quiet games. This helps a lot more than swearing.

Excessive level of requirements

Don't demand too much from your child. This affects his psyche. When he can't meet all your demands, he compensates with bad behavior. Each child is interesting in his own way. Don’t try to make him a new Mozart or Mendeleev!

The desire for self-affirmation

Often children (especially in adolescence) try to assert themselves through bad behavior, swearing, smoking, radical changes in appearance, etc. This is a common occurrence.

Try not to scold the child, but to help him assert himself in some other way. For example, in sports, in drawing, in studying, etc. Help him find himself!

Conflicts in the family

What kind of normal behavior can a child have if the family constantly speaks in a raised voice, mom and dad quarrel.

Start with yourself! Try to ensure that the child does not at least witness your conflicts with your husband. Children feel the atmosphere in the family very subtly, so their protest may be bad behavior.


He can inherit his character from his parents . Therefore, if your child constantly screams, is mischievous and capricious, and this behavior vaguely reminds you of someone, try to remember who exactly

Mental disorders, psychological trauma

In this case, if none of the above reasons fit your child’s behavior, contact a specialist . Unbearable behavior in children can be caused by various mental disorders (for example, depression) or trauma to the soul. If you have a close relationship with a child, try to find out from him what led to this behavior.

Do not swear at your child under any circumstances when...

If it’s hard for you to restrain yourself, and you really want to scold a naughty child, remember that you should not scold a child under any circumstances when :

He is sick while eating, while playing, while doing homework, before bed and after sleep

The psyche is especially vulnerable at such moments. The reaction to punishment or scolding can be unpredictable. So be patient. Wait for the right moment, only then start a conversation.

He suffered mental or physical injury

This could be a conflict with a friend, a bad grade, failure, a fight or a fall. Even if the child himself is to blame for this, wait until the pain subsides. The child is already punished, he is in pain, ashamed, etc. Don't punish him further. It will be better, when some time has passed, to explain to him what he did wrong and how to fix .

If a child fails at something

Sometimes it is difficult for your child to cope with some task, activity, assignment, etc. He may show fear, stupidity, inexperience and awkwardness. At such moments you shouldn’t scold him! This can lead to the formation of complexes in him. The child may become withdrawn, irritable, and uncommunicative.

In such situations, it would be better if you didn’t say, “How stupid you are,” but rather help him cope with the problem . It would be better to tell him: “Nothing. What didn’t work out for you this time will definitely work out next time.” Show him how to act correctly in this situation.

When you do not understand the motives for a bad act committed by a child

First of all, it is worth understanding the reason that prompted him to do this (see above). After all, the child may not be guilty. Don't rush to conclusions. Analyze, figure it out.

When you are out of sorts, irritated or tired

Remember, no matter how angry you are with your child, do not scold him in this state . In an irritated state, you can talk and do unnecessary things. In this state it is almost impossible to control yourself. You will regret it later, but it will be too late. Before talking to your child, try to calm down and distract yourself. Only then start a serious conversation.

Counting to ten in my head helps me in this situation. This may sound trivial, but it really helps. In these ten seconds, I remember how much I love my baby. And I calm down

You won't achieve anything significant by cursing. It is best not to scold the child, but to explain to him in an accessible way why his behavior is not correct. Sit down next to him, take his hand, look into his eyes. Tell him that you love him very much, but his behavior brings you pain. In this way, you show that the child is important to you, that you respect his opinion and want only the best for him. And then it will be easier for you to understand how not to swear at your child .

We wish you to always find mutual understanding with your child, although sometimes it is not so easy. But probably!

—— Author – Irina Goyanyuk (Jadira), website

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How to replace swearing?

The fourteen-year-olds I spoke with gave simple and helpful advice: “Say it in a normal tone!” In other words, be courteous and have good manners. Try to speak in a normal voice, even if you are nervous or upset. Use everyday intonations, try to reduce tension in the body. “Have a kind voice,” as my youngest daughter once put it.

This advice is easy to remember, but very difficult to follow at first. However, we can exercise. Practice speaking in a normal voice even in stressful situations. Most of us usually speak in a calm tone, and we have a clear understanding of what we should strive for when stress overwhelms us and we are ready to lash out.

If swearing has become a daily problem, then it is up to us as adults to change our behavior. But both children and adults always have something to improve in. So why not make it a collaborative project, like the example below?

Throwing it away means losing it

Dr. Komarovsky also talked about how to react correctly if a child drops something.

“The cookie disappears again: again the cookie. Do you understand? That is, the child does not see a cause-and-effect relationship to his actions. A child must be taught at 7 months that if you throw something away, you won’t have it. That is, if a child throws away a cookie, that’s it, guys, he will receive the next cookie the next day, not earlier. It is fundamentally important that we always do this. If a child refuses to eat, what should happen to the food? She must disappear! What's going on here? It’s not that our food is disappearing, we have people who can feed the child better,” said the pediatrician.

Crime in the morning - punishment in the evening

Dr. Komarovsky also touched upon the topic of deferred punishment for a child.

“Another thing that is wrong very often: deprivation of evening cartoons. That is, quite often a crime or wrong behavior is committed in the morning, and the punishment will be in the evening. And by the time it comes to the evening cartoons, no one will remember what I did that made me punished like that. That is, these nuances, you also need to pay attention to them,” the doctor noted.

Let us remind you that earlier the famous doctor Evgeniy Komarovsky told us at what age a child needs and is important to be given vitamin D.

Before this, Komarovsky debunked the myth about antibiotics for children and related medications. According to him, there is no need for parents to give their child, along with antibiotics, additional medications that supposedly will protect the immune system, intestines, liver, etc.

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