Why children are so determined to have the last word!

When they are in the middle of a discussion with their child, many parents don’t like their child having the last word. ‘You always want to have the last word!’ they yell at their child.

(By the way: who wants to have the last word by yelling this?) But the question is of course: What is the matter here? Why do many children want to have the last word?

When children are being approached in a way that makes them feel powerless, invisible, helpless or defenseless, they are very vulnerable, to say the least.

This happens most often when parents use their power by:

-punishing (‘you give me back that Play Station now!’)

-rewarding (‘if you do your homework now, you will get extra pocket money’)

-blackmailing (‘if you don’t clean up your clutter, I will throw everything out!’)

When you decide to use your power, please realize that your approach is based on two feelings: fear (what will happen if they don’t obey) and dependency (they need or want the reward and have no other way of getting it). Power will not work if these feelings are absent. When your child is not afraid you will throw away his stuff or is able to make his own money and buy candy with it, your power will have no effect at all.

Please remember that your power will vanish either way, because children get more dependent by the day!

As long as your child fears you and is dependent on you, this system ‘works’. That means you are able to control your child’s behavior. Whatever you want, happens.

This all leads to your child feeling powerless, invisible, frustrated and unhappy. And then your child wants to show you he still has SOME power left to make things happen, instead of being your puppet on a string!

You may have seen how your child shows you his power: he does something that you will definitely not approve of, like:

-breaking something

-hitting you (or others)

-staining your new sweater

-having the last word, the least destructive option of taking revenge.

In short; next time, be happy when your child has the last word, as the way your child chooses to rebel is fairly innocent. He simply wants to let you know he feels unhappy, powerless and frustrated. So, take the time to reflect on your communication style!


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One Comment

  1. I love this post. We teach listening in every Kindermusik leossn. A skill we do have to repeatedly teach everyday. I get caught myself not listening enough. My daughter will stop me and say, Mom, listen I hear an airplaine, or whatever is different that we don’t hear very often. I’m so glad she catches me too!