Swearing, Spitting, and Shouting

It’s fortunate that not every child goes through a phase of behaviour that involves swearing, spitting, and shouting. But it certainly does happen more often and in more families than you might realise, and for that reason, if you happen to be a parent who is struggling to manage this kind of behaviour then know that this doesn’t mean that you have done a bad job. It does mean that something has gone out of alignment and needs to be corrected because if you have a very young child behaving this way, you can guarantee that that behaviour will become more aggressive and problematic as they get older if it is not tackled.

In addition, if you have an older young person behaving in this way, you can expect that once their teenage hormones kick in there may even be signs of physical aggression that start to grow from this behaviour. So this is definitely something that we want to address sooner rather than later. Very often parents who are struggling with this want to know why this behaviour is occurring, and of course, every child and every family is very unique and different, so there is no ’one size fits all’ answer. But what I will tell you is that something has occurred that has either made your child feel so insecure that they want to feel like they’re able to take control of their current situations, and they are choosing this behaviour as the route to getting that sense of control back. Or they are angry. Whilst the anger may be directed at you, you are not necessarily the cause of it. Very often this behaviour occurs as an overriding feeling of a young person not feeling quite safe enough. Now that doesn’t mean ‘physically’ safe. It may mean that they’re feeling as if their emotional needs are not being taken care of satisfactorily and this has caused them to be left with a sense of distrust, or of being ill at ease.

So to correct this, we need to first consider what needs our young person is having met by displaying these behaviours and then find alternative ways of meeting those needs that are positive and do not require those behaviours to continue.

Part of the process of changing this behaviour is on you as a parent. Very often where these behaviours have taken place over a significant period of time, they have been able to continue because your response and reaction allows them to gone on unchanged and unchallenged. When we talk about challenging this negative behaviour it does not necessarily mean that you will be shouting back, snapping back, or reacting in any kind of way that demonstrates that you are attempting to overpower or supersede them. There are other ways in which we can regain the right balance in the family hierarchy, and that may come from you reacting very differently from how you have reacted before.

In some instances, it may require you to ignore them, particularly if you have previously tried calming them down or shouting back at them. It may require you to stop or begin punishing them and as I said before, there is no ‘one size fits all’.If you have developed a particular way of behaving and reacting that currently isn’t working, there is no point in continuing with that thread. What we know straight away is that you need to do something differently, and depending upon your child and their own unique psychology, this will help me to carve out a plan that is going to have the most impact upon them.

I will teach you how to deal with these unwanted behaviours when they occur in public places, or in front of friends and family members. Very often this is when we will react at our worst because our need to conceal the embarrassment may encourage us to overreact in order to fully shut down the behaviour as quickly as possible. Learning how to deal with this behaviour in the most stressful of situations will ensure that you are always in a situation where you make the right choices about what to do and how to respond. If you have a child or teenager who is currently going through the phase of swearing, spitting, or shouting then I urge you to book in with a free consultation session with me. To find out more about the work that I do in and around Crays Hill, Billericay, Basildon, Wickford, Southend-on-sea, Chelmsford, Colchester and Brentwood, then please give me a call on 07958 203 274. Alternatively, you can drop me an email to my office by filling out the blue box on the right-hand side of this page.

By Gemma Bailey

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