Parenting is a very delicate and is a painstaking process, where any mistake can cost both the parent and the child a great deal. How do you proceed to get the results you need? Lets look at this issue from a psychological perspective.
Who is a Child?
A child is a person who has been born recently and who needs help and control in order for him or her to not get into a bad or dangerous situation. To help a child grow up into a happy and psychologically healthy person is the overriding priority of any parent. But is it true that every person who has reached adulthood has nothing childish left in them? Offense at a child does not bring you any closer to that prime priority of yours.
According to Eric Bern, the famous psychologist and author of the transactional analysis of personality, each person at any moment of his or her life has three psychological states, and they are the following:
It is important! The ego state of a person:
No matter how old you are, they are all present within you to some extent. Depending on a specific situation and personal psychological attitudes, you behave according to one of these states. And, what is most interesting is that the same thing is true about your child.
Who Is an Adult?
The “Adult” ego state is present in every person to a greater or lesser extent. The only difference is that its development and strengthening takes time, life and emotional experience. The “Adult” of a child, for objective reasons, is weak and unable to withstand serious psychological trials. So the child heavily relies on your “Adult” and is very dependent on it. Later we will explore what happens when a child loses his or her “Adult”, and the consequences that can actualy lead to resentment.
Who Is a Parent?
The third ego state of the personality in terms of the transactional analysis is responsible for control and suppression, responsibility and will. It is exactly thanks to the “Parent” we can take care of others and control our children, take and pay loans on time, keep our promises and do the work that customers expect us to do on time. Good parents try to devote more time to their children, to build a business while staying home, maintain comfort and well-being. But resentment, and especially resentment of a child, is not what we expect from a parent.
What Is Resentment?
Resentment is a very strong feeling that only a child can have, whether it is a real child or the “child” inside an adult. Resentment means that the “child” refuses to accept words or actions of another person because they completely contradict the child’s expectations.
A resentful “child” wants his or her wish fulfilled immediately. Otherwise, they refuse to communicate, and exchange energy in general. This is a perfectly normal tool in the hands of a child, but it can become a formidable weapon in the hands of a parent. The difference is that the life of a parent does not depend on the attention of the child, while the life of a child without the attention of a parent is psychologically very much in danger.
What Does a Child Get from Resentment?
We have already established that feelings of resentment are characteristic of a child, whether it is an actual child or the “child” inside a parent. When the latter goes into resentment, he or she says the following:
You hurt me. You’re bad.
This message, sent from a parent to the child, has the strongest impact on the child and makes him or her psychologically mobilized.
It is important! A parent is the most important person, and a child cannot critically assess that person. A parent is associated with security and protection, and when a child is deprived of them, he or she feels a great danger coming from the world outside. When a parent begins to take offense at a child, the parent psychologically puts the child in danger because the child does not know how far this resentment can go.
When you feel resentment toward your child, your child goes one of two ways on his or her own:
- He or she does what the parent wants from them and obeys completely in order to regain parental affection and good attitude.
- He or she protests, acts up, and rebels against the parent.
But the child produces either of those two reactions toward a resentful parent only in order to finally regain that sense of security and peace. He or she may eventually do what is required, but his or her own conclusions will only relate to the parental resentment and fighting against it. In addition to that, the child will go through a lot of stress, the consequences of which will affect his or her behavior for a period of time.
What Does an Adult Get Out of Resentment?
Now let’s think about what we might actually be offended at when we’re talking to a child?
- The child doesn’t listen.
- The child is fooling around.
- The child doesn’t do what I ask him or her to do.
- The child has forgotten about something.
All of these are perfectly normal actions and behavior for a child, but they can sharply contradict expectations of an adult, which is why resentment appears.
A piece of advice. Think about whether the child’s mistake is worth denying him or her that feeling of safety, security, and parental warmth his or her life quite literally depends on?
While working on the topic of resentment towards the first child or resentment towards the second child, it is important to develop a habit of remembering what exactly you are doing to them on a psychological level. Imagine yourself all alone in a dark forest surrounded by predators. You don’t know how to get out of here on your own and you’re not sure that you’ll get any help. By resenting your child, you put him or her into exactly that sort of situation.
What’s more important is that it is not you who resents the child, but rather your inner “child” that does that. But your inner “child” has something to rely on in a difficult psychological situation, while your physical child doesn’t have anything to fall back upon. The only adult a child can count on is you. Without that support, he or she panics and is under enormous stress.
How Can You Avoid Resentment?
Both in business and in parenting, the power of thought is the most important and determining factor. Just remember who’s in front of you and why he or she has done something wrong.
- The child is not yet fully able to respond to external circumstances and his or her own desires properly.
- The child is not obliged to meet your expectations in any aspect and has the right to make mistakes.
- The child is learning to live in this world and needs to gain experience, including experience of disobedience and protest.
- The child doesn’t have to conform to you. It is your duty to provide your child with conditions for normal development and growing-up.
- The child can have something to be offended by, but you can’t have anything to be offended by him or her.
All of this must be remembered for the child to grow into a complete and adequate adult with a sound psyche. He or she should understand and remember what decisions are worth making and what decisions are not worth making – not because you can feel resentment for the decision made, but because it is better for him or her.
A piece of advice. In order to avoid resentment:
- Pause and remember who’s in front of you.
- Make a sober estimate of the importance of this particular transgression – is it so important to cause such a huge stress in the child’s mind?
- Remember, the child doesn’t owe you anything.
- Repeat to yourself that the child needs you as that very “adult” and “parents” he or she cannot survive without.
- Explain to your child why he or she shouldn’t do this – not from the position of a resentful “child”, but from the position of a stable “adult” and a caring “parent”.
This approach will not only keep the child healthy, but will also preserve your nervous system. Don’t overplay the importance of the problem. Remember, everything a child does is necessary for his or her development, growth, and gaining experience.
Become a reliable psychological support for your child. Become the “adult” your child will want to reach out to. Become the “parent” who’s always safe and sound. It is in this kind of harmonious atmosphere that the child will be able to become a complete, calm, confident, and a happy person.