Siblings name calling, negative
self-talk and diffusing shame
In this video Genevieve discusses addresses how to resolve the issue of children taking their frustrations out on their sibling, name calling and otherwise being verbally aggressive. Plus how to help children turn around their inner self-critic, the negative self-talk like "I'm an idiot", "I'm stupid".
Read through example parent child dialogues relating to when the parent is helping kids deal with a tricky situation where the toddler wants to "play" with the 6 year olds car tracks. This script post is a good add on for those of you who can relate to similar scenarios in your day to day life between your kids. Read now.
Protecting our children from shame
Simply becoming more aware of how vulnerable children are to feel shame and the negative impacts greatly motivates us adults to avoid shaming our children, to protect them from shaming from others and to repair any shaming that's happened in the past.
A rough breakdown of what's spoken about at different points in the video.
- Start: We want our kids to not have the negative self-talk. When they do it comes out towards siblings; “you’re stupid”, “you’re an idiot”. The interventions need to be addressing the child’s inner conflict, which always has an element of shame.
- 4 mins Kids get angry when they’re being blamed for being angry because they can feel that they are struggling so much to control it. They’re always saying what CAN I do with all this frustration.
- 6 mins: Hormones, herbs, nutrition.
- 9 mins: At a calm connected time, revisit a time when your child was verbally aggressive towards their sibling. Do it in a way that helps to relieve his shame, work with him to figure out how he can better cope with a similar situation the next time.
- 11 mins: When parent says “I know you didn’t want to hurt your sister” and they get defensive; “I DID want to hurt my sister”. What are they really trying to express?
- 12 mins: When we revisit an incident it’s important for the parent to express regret for anything they did that was hurtful/ crossing the line. This helps them remember that they’re not the only one in the family who hurts others, and gives them a specific modelling for how to soften and have the humility to express regret after a rupture.
- 14 mins: Talking to them about how scary it is when anger fills their whole body and causes
them to do things they later regret. Is this giving them an out and will it lead to them taking less responsibility? Or the opposite?
- 15 mins: Half the battle is to have the belief and faith that you WILL reach your child that you will help them develop better strategies to deal with their anger. When we lose faith we can catastrophize which can lead to them getting the message that they’re too much for us.
- 16 mins: The big objective is to help the child doing the hurting trust that they are still on the inside, still in the circle of connection and belonging. Once they trust this they’ll get much less scared of feeling rejected, judged and pushed out.
- 18 mins: Importance of repairing up negative messages given when we might have used global language like “why are you always so difficult”, “you never let your brother play with you”. Importance of giving them back their dignity and clarifying that we don’t see them in this way.
- 21 mins: I care about you BOTH. That was so hard and stressful for both of you earlier wasn’t it. This language helps them feel that we care about them both equally, that we recognise both of their struggles.
- 22 mins: How best to help the child who was on the receiving end of the verbal aggression? Nicola asks how to stop the aggression when the older one won’t let her scoop him up and the younger one doesn’t want to be separated from the play he’s been engaged with.
- 25 mins: Tabitha talked about introducing “Couch Meetings” when her kids were younger and it helped to create a space they came to associate with resolving conflicts.
- 29 mins: Child doing their bike tricks and keeps saying “I’m stupid, my brother is so much better at everything than me”. Or they compare with friends or other kids at school.
- 30 mins: Responding with reassurances can miss meeting the child’s need to feel really heard and understood with their feelings of defeat or frustration.
- 31 mins: Nicola gives example of her older child being super critical of his drawing, being a perfectionist.
- 35 mins: The more we engage with the details of that which they’re frustrated / unhappy about the more they feel that their feelings are understandable, the more validated they feel,the more at peace with themselves despite their high standards and accompanying frustrations.
- 41 mins: Picking the right time to have a heart to heart with our child to help them expand their thinking and feeling to become more considerate of how they’re impacting their sibling. The challenge is to not shame our child for shaming their sibling.
- 46 mins: Seonaid talks about how she brought in some play to help her boy better cope with frustrations around his younger sister breaking his lego. In enacting lego breaking and bringing fun and play in to it it provided her son with the opportunity to release some of that frustration.
- 47 mins: How to bring more fun and humour into these emotionally charged situations. Allagree how serious being a parent is and how our child needs us to be light.
- 49 mins: Seonaid talks about exercising the funny muscles, watching funny clips etc.
- 51 mins: Genevieve talks about how power reversal games are the most effective approach when one child is overpowering the other. When they feel powerless, they tend to overpower their sibling. When they feel out of control, they tend to be overly controlling.