Saying you upset me when your child misbehaved creates a feeling of guilt!
Using sentences such as “What you did made me feel very sad” or “But I am very upset” to your child in case of problems with your child creates a feeling of guilt in your child. It would not be the right approach to say “you’re very upset” in order to calm your child or teach him/her that his/her behavior is wrong.
When your child does something that you do not approve of, for example, saying “He threw an item and broke it” “You made me very sad” causes a great sense of guilt in the child. In fact, this behavior of the child does not make you sad, cry, or cause pain or distress, it just makes you angry and you do not like this situation. Therefore, refrain from saying words that are too burdensome to your child, such as “you made me sad”. Instead, you can say “I don’t like this behavior”, “This behavior is not right”, “This behavior pisses me off”. If you are aware, the emphasis in these sentences is the behavior of the child, not his personality. Saying “You made me upset” after a behavior actually targets the whole child’s personality, so you are saying that you upset me, not your behavior, when in fact his behavior only pisses you off. Saying “I’m angry” seems more difficult than saying “you upset me”. In fact, these feelings are natural.
If your child is making you angry, you can say “you piss me off”. When you say “you made me so upset” it’s like reacting to an adult and not a child. An adult person does not feel excessively guilty in this sentence, does not internalize it. But children feel very guilty and worthless. Especially for young children, such words are very worrying.
Inform your child that this behavior is not correct in his/her wrong behavior, and tell what you really feel, that is, that you are angry, instead of saying “you made me very sad”.
Wishing you a healthy communication with your child,
Specialist Pedagogue Sevil Yavuz
Child, Adolescent and Family Psychologist,
Beykent University Lecturer
Parenting Skills & Counseling Center