Dealing With Passive Aggression

Teenager sulking

‘Passive aggression’ was an interesting phrase that has become part of our lives ever since our kids venture into their teens and pre-teens and now-a-days it seems like the pre-teens are starting very early on. Stony silences, sulking, slamming books and doors………phew…………cut down our confidence levels and make us feel as miniscule as that ‘phew’ in the previous line!!

I will be the first to admit that I blow my fuse at least once in 24 hours only to become equally confused and guilty and perplexed the very next minute.

So, why do our children give us such a tough time?

Why do they ‘act’ as if they hate us? Why then do they come running to us when they face ‘mini’ crises every hour!

Here are some plausible reasons that we could consider:

  • Honesty hurts:

The simple plain truth served without any sugar coated sweet words are not only an earful to listen to, but also extremely painful to accept. As parents, our intentions are bound to be noble at all times. We wish only the very best for our children at all times. Yet, when they err or make gross mistakes related to behaviour or responsibility, it becomes our duty to bring it to their notice.

  • Ignorance is not always bliss!

Our smart kiddies and kiddos are not mature enough to listen to us when we tell them nicely and politely with a thin fake smile on our faces! L ! Yeah – I’m a mom too! They will ignore us, turn a deaf ear and a blind eye or pretend they never heard us. I used three different terms there to emphasize how irritating it becomes to handle such things when it is repeated several times in various degrees.

  • Drawing the line!

Till one fine day, we stop what we are doing midway, increase the volume of our voice and add a good dose of sarcasm or hurt in our tone to reinforce the fact –that we will not brook this kind of nonsense any longer. Learning to say NO is very important when dealing with kids.

  • Forcing them to confront their weaknesses:

When we finally do this, they may not immediately realize the long term benefits that they are gaining. All they know is that mom and/or dad is all hyped up and so we need to do what we are told. They don’t like it one bit. The passive aggression continues for a long while – often for days on end.

  • Hold on – dear parents!

That is when we need to stand on firm ground stoically ourselves. We may hear the sobbing behind the closed doors. They may skip a meal or two. They may even go into a rebellious mood and mode and do things that irk us.

Keep calm through all of this. If we succumb to the temptation of supporting them emotionally through this phase, we would have defeated the very purpose of the whole point. Let them cry. Steel your hearts and continue with your work normally. Yes, the pain is intense. As parents we do not like such ugly scenarios ourselves. But it works.

  • Look back!

We too did not like it one bit when our parents rebuked us or yelled at us. But, today, as mature adults and parents, we unfailingly attribute every good habit of ours and every virtue that we imbibed to our strict parents. Teaching them the difference between fair and unfair, acceptable and unacceptable, right and wrong, thinking of things from the other person’s point of view etc is something we all have to infuse in our children at some point of time in their lives.

They may hate our guts when we try to reform them. But we are like that bitter medicine, we may not like it but it is good for our health. Our kids may act like they don’t like us, but they also inherently know that what we are saying and doing is going to help them in the long run.

So just keep cool and keep at ‘it’ – whatever ‘it’ or the ‘issue’ is! It will all work out fine at the end! And we all know so!

Image: Bob Knight on Freeimages



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