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Stop ‘Gaslighting’ Your Kids

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it must be no wonder He “Gaslighting” Was Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year for 2022, in everything from to do politics toxic personality news to our own relationships, the act of gaslighting abounds. and sometimes-often without meaningTill here parents can be known gaslight them Children. If near you Ever told your crying baby they’re “okay”(when they certainly don’t seem to be), you may be guilty of very.

Psychotherapist and Parenting Coach Jess Beachofsky helps us learn how to detect and most importantly stop this harmful parenting practice.

What is “true” gaslighting?

If you’ve been spared or haven’t seen it yet, when someone is gaslighting you, They are deliberately trying to confuse and manipulate you, to make you doubt yourself. In a fight with a gaslighter, they may say, “I never said that!” When you’re sure they did. They can twist the argument and make it about you and your character, which can be confusing and make you feel bad about yourself. That’s by design. If you tell them they hurt your feelings, they might do the same Say, “I’m sorry you feel that way” or “You’re being too sensitive.”

This tactic usually lasts for a long time, sometimes for years, and the gaslighted are often dependent on the gaslighter. The gaslit person often doubts the reliability of his own memory, feelings, and sometimes conscience. The reason a person gaslights is to take control of a situation for their own benefit. whereas Beachofsky says ,sSome parents want complete control and don’t want to allow their little humans to be individuals.” Most parents are not “true” gaslighters when it comes to their kids. because most of us are not intentionally and selfishly manipulating them, However, even when we do it unconsciously, it can have harmful consequences.

how we gaslight our kids

as parents, We have to exercise a certain amount of control to make sure that everyone survives that day, In this process, we ooccasionally tell little white lie. It’s not the end of the world, nor is it to abuse. however, there Huh Some situations and reactions to keep in mind Beachofsky gives this example,

  • a baby falls out and comes crying and upset; PDon’t say, “Oh, you are fine Don’t be such a kid!
  • A Kid mopping because the neighbors can’t play with them; PDon’t say, “It’s no big deal. You’re too sensitive!”
  • a have a child complaining that they don’t want to eat salad because they don’t like it; Parents They say, “Yes, You do. It’s good for you!”
  • a baby struggling with math; PDon’t say, “You’re just lazy.”

maybe you’re not really call your baby name “lazy,” but We’ve all had bad days, and our kids have often frayed our nerves to the point where we’ve said Things we are not proud of.

“If you think about gaslighting on a continuum, even the best parents will probably show up there, usually when they’re most stressed,” Beachofsky says. ,Feeling tired and overwhelmed can short fuse, Which can lend itself to some less-than-ideal responses to certain situations.

Why Parents Need to Stop Gaslighting Their Kids

Even small mistakes can make a big difference over time. “Yesaslighting is actually negative, And the control that parents exert in this context can cause a lot of psychological harm to the developing brain,” says Bichofsky. ,These responses lead children to question their own sense of reality: their feelings, experiences, abilities, even memories. These statements tell children that their feelings are not valid, that they are not good enough, that what they say, do, feel, think is not true. And it can be confusing.

In the worst case, “kids can grow up to be vulnerable adults with low self-worth,” which is “a perfect setup for developing major mental health issues—Mostly depression or anxiety. It takes away any resilience this child might have had, and now even the smallest of things can make them fall into that vicious cycle of mental illness.

even if gaslighting is not the reason mental health issues, it can have permanent negative consequences. Kid who gaslit in his childhood may struggle Form healthy relationship or successful in their future careers because they have developed Poor view of one’s own worth or skills. When we tell kids how they feel, instead of giving them the space to figure it out on their own, we set them up to fail. beachofsky it is said.

how to stop

Fortunately, gaslighting isn’t hard to notice and modify. “With just a few changes, what can be viewed as gaslighting can be turned into a completely appropriate response,”says Beachofsky. you can start by Observation And valid,

“Kids want to know that you understand where they’re coming from,” Beachofsky says. ,And often, once they feel heard, the behavior or situation improves; IInstead of telling your child not to be a child about their scratching or That they’re okay, just admit: ‘Oh, you fell! It seems to hurt. what do you think do you band-aidentity?’ You don’t need to agree that it was the worst injury ever or exaggerate your reaction. But you don’t want to tell them that they aren’t feeling their feelings. This is not correct, And this is wrong. So, instead of assessing a situation or making decisions for themLook at it from the outside first, then from their point of view.

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