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  • Writer's pictureChristina

Navigating Unkindness: How to Cope When Your Child is Unkind to You

Updated: Nov 24, 2023

Parenting is a rewarding yet challenging journey, and it can be particularly disheartening when your child displays unkind behavior towards you. As a trusted therapy private practice in Denver, Colorado, Elevation Behavioral Therapy understands the complexities of parent-child relationships.


In this blog post, we will explore the reasons behind unkindness in children and provide practical strategies to help parents cope with and address this.


Navigating Unkindness: How to Cope When Your Child is Unkind to You

1. Understanding the Root Causes:

Unkindness in children can stem from various underlying factors. It is crucial to approach the situation with empathy and curiosity rather than reacting with anger or frustration. Some common reasons for unkind behavior include:

Emotional struggles: Children may be experiencing their own emotional challenges, such as stress, anxiety, or frustration, which can manifest as unkindness towards others.

Modeling behavior: Children often mimic the behavior they observe in their environment. If they witness unkindness or aggression, they may replicate it in their interactions.

Communication difficulties: Young children may struggle to express their emotions effectively, leading to frustration and unkind behavior as a means of communication.

Developmental stages: As children grow and develop, they go through various stages that can impact their behavior. For example, during adolescence, hormonal changes and identity exploration can contribute to mood swings and unkindness.

2. Cultivating Empathy and Emotional Regulation:


Teaching children empathy and emotional regulation is essential in addressing unkind behavior. Encourage open communication and create a safe space for your child to express their emotions. Help them identify and label their feelings, and teach them healthy ways to cope with and manage their emotions. Modeling empathy and kindness in your own interactions can also have a profound impact on your child's behavior.

3. Setting Clear Boundaries:


Establishing clear boundaries is crucial when addressing unkind behavior. Clearly communicate your expectations and consequences for unkind actions. Consistency is key in enforcing these boundaries, ensuring that your child understands the importance of treating others with respect and kindness. However, it is equally important to balance discipline with understanding and compassion.

4. Encouraging Positive Reinforcement:


Recognize and reinforce positive behavior to encourage kindness and empathy in your child. Praise and reward acts of kindness, empathy, and respectful communication. This positive reinforcement helps reinforce positive behavior patterns and encourages your child to continue displaying kindness towards others.


5. Seeking Professional Support:


If your child's unkind behavior persists or escalates despite your efforts, seeking professional support can be beneficial. At Elevation Behavioral Therapy, we offer child therapy in Denver, Colorado, providing a safe and supportive environment for children to explore their emotions and develop healthy coping strategies. Our experienced therapists can work with you and your child to address underlying issues and promote positive behavior change.

6. Self-Care for Parents:

Coping with unkindness from your child can be emotionally challenging. It is essential for parents to prioritize self-care and seek support for themselves as well. Engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation, and consider seeking therapy or support groups to navigate the complexities of parenting.


Dealing with unkindness from your child can be a difficult and emotionally draining experience. Understanding the root causes, cultivating empathy and emotional regulation, setting clear boundaries, and encouraging positive reinforcement are essential strategies for addressing and coping with unkind behavior.

At Elevation Behavioral Therapy, we offer child therapy in Denver, Colorado to help children and families navigate these challenges.


Please reach out to us at support@elevationbehavioraltherapy.com or call or text us at (720) 295-6566 to schedule a free initial phone consultation or appointment. You may also schedule directly online through our website. Let us support you in fostering a loving and respectful relationship with your child.


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