Why Some Parents Let Their Kids Bully and Disrespect Them


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Recently, a mother, devastated by the fate of her daughter intimidation behavior, contacted me.

“My daughter is out of control. She verbally abuses me, belittles me, and insults me; I do not know what to do. Help me please !”

We met for a consultation in my psychotherapy office and witnessed her daughter’s verbal abuse and her mother’s contempt.

“You are such an idiot! »

“I hate you.”

“Shut up you idiot. Don’t interrupt me!

The mother could not say a word. Finally, she burst into tears and sobbed to her daughter:

“I’m sorry I let you down. I will try harder.

I wish such a session were rare. Unfortunately, children who bully their parents seem to be everywhere.

Children who bully their parents

seven years ago, I wrote a book about kids who bully their parents. At the time, I thought I was dealing with a unique situation in my hometown of Manhattan. Since then, the book has been translated into four different languages ​​and has been the subject of hundreds of news articles, radio shows and podcasts, as well as the subject of this blog page.

This problem is much bigger than I thought.

Why do some parents let children bully them?

A generation ago, few children could have gotten away with such behavior. When did parent bullying become acceptable? Let’s do a quick review: Previously here, I identified 3 Possibly Relevant Parenting Stories:

  1. The parents had been harassed by their own parents.
  2. The parents had had absent or neglectful parents.
  3. The parents had narcissistic Parents.

In another article, I explored the most common problems personality types of children who bullied their parents:

  1. The defiant bully.
  2. The anxious bully.
  3. The manipulative bully.

In yet another post here, I explored 3 common mistakes parents make what can aggravate harassment:

  1. Surrender.
  2. To punish.
  3. To negotiate.

Generally speaking, there are 3 types of parents most likely to be bullied by their children:

  1. The guilty parent.
  2. The anxious parent.
  3. Parents who fix everything.

Now let’s look at the most likely reason why parents allow their children to bully them..

The power of low self-esteem

Very often, a parent’s relationship with their child mirrors their relationship with others. Parents who let their children bully them also tend to allow others to bully them, such as their spouse, friends, coworkers, or boss. Even strangers can target them. One of the main reasons for this unfortunate dynamic is a deep struggle with self esteem.

When a person suffers from low self-esteem, their relationships are bound to suffer as well. Some of the most common characteristics of people with low self-esteem are:

  • They have trouble setting boundaries with others.
  • They avoid conflict.
  • They have a flight- or to fear-based trauma response during confrontations.
  • They are quick to give in to the demands of a tyrant.
  • They are likely to apologize for situations they did not cause.

Time and time again, I have found that when self-esteem increases, all relationships improve. For parents, self-esteem issues probably predate becoming a mother or father. This means that the struggle was self-esteem may have been present in their childhood.

Increase self-esteem to overcome bullying

The fast track to repairing your relationship with your child begins with repairing your relationship with yourself. When you stop criticizing yourself, you stop accepting criticism from others. When you stop apologizing, you stop fearing conflict and start taking control.

Get your own therapist is the most important step in helping break free from the dynamics of bullying. By understanding and rooting out the sources of your low self-esteem, you should be able to free yourself from its toxicity and begin to take charge of your relationships.

To get the ball rolling, consider taking the following steps today:

  1. Break your silence. stop letting shame control you. Tell your family and friends about your struggle with your child.
  2. Gather support. Hire a therapist or parenting coach, join a support group, or get referrals from your school guidance counselor. Discuss with your partner or spouse the changes you want to make in the home.
  3. Start setting boundaries. Once you’ve broken your silence and gained support, it’s time to end bullying behavior at home by standing firm, setting boundaries, and not giving in to abuse. Of course, it will take time and practice, but your efforts will eventually pay off in all of your relationships.

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