How to Avoid Gaslighting Children
Gaslighting is a psychological term used to describe the process of grooming someone into believing that they are losing it or going crazy. Gaslighting parents do it to maintain dominance over the child. They will, for example, talk down to the child and attribute every claim and complaint to his or her imagination.
Understand the importance of avoiding behaviors that could deny, withhold, or trivialize a child's thoughts or feelings. Evaluate the ways that you respond to what your child says and does. Focus on providing a more nurturing environment for them.
Denying the child's feelings or needs. Do you ever ignore, deny, or trivialize what they say as incorrect or unimportant? Even if you don't realize it, this can hurt your child's self-esteem and trust in you.
Respond with understanding rather than anger. Try to become more aware of your emotions as well to avoid letting them get the best of you. If you notice that you are feeling stressed, take a few minutes for yourself to calm down.
Focus on reinforcing the child’s positive behavior. Even if the child is fearful of something, do not criticize them for it. Make sure to encourage them to find healthy ways to overcome their fears and build confidence.
Don't expect a child to act like an adult. Make sure to allow children to be children. When they are upset, focus on addressing their most common concerns. Pay attention to the possible reasons behind their behavior.
Label and honor their feelings, be empathetic if you don't understand. It helps to acknowledge, label, and talk about what your child is experiencing. You can validate their feelings even while you set the rules. Offer compassion and reassurance, even if you have no idea what the problem is.
Coach Benjamin Mizrahi. Educator. Learning Specialist. Family Coach. Father. Husband.
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