Children’s Resentments and Their Consequences
Resentment is a very strong feeling that is difficult to control and that is toxic for physical and psychological health. Even for adults it's hard to go through a resentment, needless to say that for kids it's no less bitter. That is because children, especially younger kids, see the world as a place of their self-fulfilment and materialization of their dreams. All that a child is unable or not allowed to do may resent him. And adults wrongly believe that there is nothing to worry about. Children's resentments, especially frequent and long, are carried into adulthood, and to overcome them one has to make considerable efforts.
What are the mechanisms of resentment effect? Stress hormones are accumulated in blood – cortisol, epinephrine. It blocks the hormones of joy – endorphins. Digestive system and immune system are affected. If resentment is suppressed, stress levels in the body increases. Anxiety is growing, while the ability to make balanced decisions and to see opportunities decreases. Adults who have accumulated resentments in their childhood, are less socialized, projecting their unspoken feelings on their companions – friends, lovers, colleagues and their families. That is, kids' traumas lead to sufferings of many people.
Resentments of youngest children are usually small and lapse quickly. Even a baby may take offense – because a cat in the book is impossible to be taken, or because getting ready for going-out was too long. And should you distract the child, her mood changes immediately. It is quite different with preschoolers and schoolchildren. Their accusation "you won't play with me!", "you don't like my drawing!" may sound childish, but the kid is likely to really feel offended. If such resentments accumulate, they gradually turn into complexes. Or even one single incident may affect the future life. Some adults, being already quite independent people sometimes remember long-standing children resentments: someone recalls that parents were preparing him as if for a walk, but actually took him to the hospital; someone complains that his grandmother being unable to find out who was guilty told him off and grounded him. In reality such things are quite serious, even iconic, as due to them trust (or mistrust) in the world is created, and a sense of justice is formed. These personality traits laid in childhood will become obvious in adolescence, and whether a teenager can handle them, whether he enters adulthood with dignity depends on many factors.
These are the most common reasons for children's resentments: indifference, betrayal, injustice (unjustified blaming), unwillingness to consider the child, dishonesty, comparing with others, mistrust in the child. Typically, these resentments are stored for long and hurt worst. They cause anger, desire for revenge or apathy and frustration. If these conditions occur regularly, the child may become aggressive, asocial, insincere, indifferent, or shallow. In short, offended children drow into unhappy adults, and farther – they bring up unhappy children... How to rectify the wrong and stop going round in circles?
First, we must listen to children. If a kid says he feels offended, he really is – even if the reason may seem ridiculous. Finally, your problems at work are not worth a pin – from the kid's point of view. Then, if you know that somewhere you behaved wrong, correct the situation. Communicate with your child, being in good or at least neutral mood. Watch your words, as what you speak outraged may stick in the kid's mind. But despite of your carefulness, no resentments at all are not possible – if only because we are all different. Do not hold back the problems, discuss the situations that lead to offences. Teach your child to forgive, turn the resentments to good account. Learn to apologize, do not fear to seem weak – and the kid will appreciate it.