Jan 18, 2021


Interviewer: What should you do if your child is being verbally abusive to you? Child psychiatrist, Dr. Benjamin Chan, what advice do you have?

Dr. Chan: Sometimes children get really angry and they say things that are horrible, "I want to kill myself"." I want to kill you." "I hate you." "I wish you were never born." "I want you arrested." My daughter told that one to me the other day. That was great. So when a child says that to you, you listen, you nod, and you just let them keep on venting. As long as they don't escalate into physical aggression, go ahead and let the children have a verbal temper tantrum as long as it in the confines of your own home.

After the child's calmed down, talk to them, reason with them, process with them why they said those things. A lot of times children can't express why they said something. They just felt this emotion, anger, disappointment, frustration. And most of the time, especially younger children, they don't understand what hurting others or hurting themselves means. They don't understand the concept of death or violence.

updated: January 18, 2021
originally published: October 5, 2017

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