I’m so fed up with my son’s back talking! He is constantly criticising his younger sisters and then trying it on me. I’ve tried to tell him, but he just rolls his eyes and it’s really affecting the house. Can you help? When our children, or ourselves, act with aggression and criticize others it’s often to build themselves up a bit, even if it means on the shoulders of others. At the same time, when we are around people who treat us badly, often their treatment can become our focus and the more we push against the problem, unfortunately, the more the problem grows. This can become a vicious circle and the energy of the group can become unbearable. You don’t mention how old your son is, but with younger daughters it’s important that it doesn’t become a situation of “bad kid” “good kids”. That will just compound the situation. There are four people in this situation: your son, your daughters and YOU. You need to find balance and I always say, that balance starts with you. When its night time and you find some quiet space in time, get yourself feeling good. Appreciate things around you, think on things you love and feel your way to seeing your son as the person you know he is, Who he is at his core, and not what he is presenting to you. Deep down your son is feeling things he isn’t expressing, his behaviour is mirroring those emotions, not representing them. In order to allow him the space to express himself better you need to feel your way to a different image of him. We can’t ask other people to change in order to make us feel better, rather we have to be the change first. Imagine him as a baby or before your daughters were born, he’s the same person he was then, just with a different perspective. Remind yourself of connected moments you’ve had, things he has done that have made you feel that awe-inspiring feeling of pride and joy. Lift yourself up with inspiring thoughts. Also, give focus to thoughts and feelings about your daughters so you can create the feeling within you of a happy, caring family.
In the day if you have a moment with your daughters, rather than discussing your son’s horrible behaviour and using it as a time to talk about him badly, seize the chance to let your daughters into the situation. Tell them that something is wrong, that your son seems angry and upset. Remind them it’s not about them and to try not to take it personally. He appears to be hurting inside himself and that is what he’s criticizing.
Then with your son, when he’s not angry about the house, treat him as you did before the behaviour began. Its easy to fall into the habit of seeing the bad behaviour even when its not present. We can walk on eggshells, expecting the bomb to fall, but in fact in expecting it we are laying the path for it. Help him feel normal in the house, not like he has a role of the bad guy to fulfil. Be kind and considerate. If you have any experiences of other people talking rudely or talking back to you, bring them up and talk about how it makes life so complicated. Follow your instincts and your own connection. When we are connected, words flow. However, if you have the instinct to not say anything, than don’t as it will come off as contrived. Often we speak because we feel we “should” speak, and it never works well. If you want a sincere conversation, than hold the truest version of your son in your heart and mind, and trust that the opportunity will come up. It always will and it will truly amaze you. When we make a request from our heart and leave it up for an opportunity to arise, than something always kicks in and the words flow from our mouths without anger. Sometimes, it can even come from the mouths of others and we can stand lovingly aside.
Most importantly, hold the true image of your son in your heart and mind and try to look past any current behaviour. When we make room for people to grow and change, they often seize the opportunity. When we demand they change, we put the focus on the problem, making no room for the solution, and they usually cut themselves off from ever treating us differently.