How to Help Your Child Not Feel Like a Victim

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27 May How to Help Your Child Not Feel Like a Victim

Conflicts within families is very normal—especially as your child is learning and growing. When you and your child argue, do they tend to get frustrated with you and say things like “it’s not fair,” “it’s not my fault” or “you’re always mean to me?” This perspective is known as “victim mentality”, which involves them refusing to take responsibility for their own actions and developing feelings of disempowerment.

Here are six ways that you can help your child avoid feeling like a victim.

How to Help Your Child Not Feel Like a Victim

By Alyse Kotyk

  • 1. Wait for a Calm Moment

    By Alyse Kotyk

    When emotions and tensions are running high, it's not uncommon for thoughts, logic and clear decisions to become murky. Even though it might be tempting to deal with the conflict in the heat of the moment, take a few deep breaths and wait until you're both calm to address the situation in a constructive way. This will allow both of you to consider the other person's perspective more clearly.

  • 2. Avoid Feelings of Shame

    By Alyse Kotyk

    Pointing fingers and stating that "life isn't fair" might seem dramatic, but at the root of the problem, it could be that your child is attempting to divert their [feelings of shame](http://www.teenrehab.org/the-burden-of-shame-how-to-accept-its-not-your-fault/). Avoid cultivating these feelings by being [clear about your expectations](http://www.teenrehab.org/6-tips-for-resolving-conflict-with-your-teen/) and the consequences for not meeting them, but tell them that you know they're capable of living up to your expectations. Help your child understand that mistakes aren't something to necessarily feel ashamed about—they simply need to be dealt with in a healthy way.

  • 3. Show Your Child How to Take Responsibility

    By Alyse Kotyk

    Help them understand their own responsibility for their actions by encouraging them to develop their [emotional intelligence](http://www.teenrehab.org/why-emotional-intelligence-is-important-for-your-teen/). Let your child know how their decisions can lead to different outcomes—both positive and negative ones. You can show them that they have the power to choose how they feel about the situation and what they will do next. Some things in life _may_ be unfair, but they also have the opportunity to make many of their own choices.

  • 4. Help Your Child Develop Problem Solving Skills

    By Alyse Kotyk

    Developing [problem solving skills](http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/full/10.1146/annurev.psych.031809.130730) is crucial for childhood development, and even more, it can help your child feel like less of a victim. When your child is having a fight with friends and feels as though the situation is unfair, you can teach them how to handle this conflict and make healthy positive decisions. Or, when there are situations that they're unable to solve, explain how they can choose to manage their own feelings in the moment.

  • 5. Don't Give in to Bad Behaviors

    By Alyse Kotyk

    When conflicts arise with your child, it can be tempting to end the dispute as swiftly as possible. It can also be easy to feel some guilt when they show signs of acting like a victim. However, it's important to stick to the consequences you have already outlined with your child. Avoid "rewarding" tantrums and encourage them to deal with their actions and decisions. It may take time, but this will help your child to develop healthy and responsible thinking habits.

  • 6. Use Positive Reinforcement

    By Alyse Kotyk

    When your child makes a positive choice or handles a situation well, reward their good actions by using [positive language](http://www.education.com/reference/article/positive-guidance-techniques/). Compliment them on the way they demonstrated respectful behavior or express appreciation for their mature response. This way, your child will know that they're capable of making rational, beneficial decisions. They'll also see that they aren't always the victim.  

Feature Photo: Ryan Tauss



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