Parenting Tips
Our Top Tips For Dealing With A Passive Aggressive Child

Our Top Tips For Dealing With A Passive Aggressive Child

Psychology has helped us gain an amazing awareness of what goes through people’s minds when faced with various situations and settings. These insights include the thought patterns and responses of children. Let’s take a closer look at one common response exhibited children when they are upset: Passive aggressiveness. You might be surprised to discover that you’ve been dealing with this issue in your own children. If you have, we’re going to help you tackle it.

First things first: what is passive aggressive behavior? The following post describes this in detail, so that you can identify it in any child:

What is “passive psychological aggression”?

Passive psychological aggression is a means of protecting an individual’s vulnerable or unconscious emotional lives through non direct emotional, verbal, or mental means.

Passive aggressive behavior can be blatantly obvious at times, although it’s commonly expressed in a more subtle manner. This can include:

Avoiding direct communication


Making excuses


Performing jobs poorly on purpose

Playing the “victim”

Placing the blame on others


Backhanded compliments


Whenever you notice your child refuses to communicate directly with you, especially when you expect him to be angry, it could be a passive aggressive expression of anger.

Have you ever wondered why your child does this instead of just saying that he isn’t happy? Well, as the following post explains, it is a “safe” way of expressing his emotions:

Child’s Play: Why Passive Aggression Works So Well for Children

Lest you think that passive aggressive behavior is only for the experienced antagonizer, it should be noted that younger children are perfectly capable of using compliant defiance. Like their older counterparts who gather that passive aggression can be more satisfying (and often less likely to result in punishment or immediate confrontation) than overt aggression, even preschool-aged children catch on to the fact that a tantrum in the candy aisle will result in being whisked out of a store, but pretending not to hear Mommy say “Look but don’t touch” can easily result in an “accidentally” unwrapped candy bar and subsequent chocolate purchase!

In short, passive aggressive behavior is used to get one’s way through manipulation. If not, it can be used to pay back for what the person wasn’t freely given. This behavior should be dealt with quickly, before it escalates into emotional immaturity.

So, is your child passive aggressive? What do you think you can do about it? Here are some tips on how to handle the issue:

How to Manage Passive-Aggressive Behavior in Children

A passive-aggressive child attempts to gain power over their parents by ignoring demands, questions and responsibilities. According to Empowering Parents, passive aggressive children don’t know how to communicate when they are feeling angry or anxious, and instead of acting out they become resistant and closed off emotionally. If you have a passive-aggressive child you might find yourself chasing them all over the house, constantly reminding them of their chores and homework and inevitably helping them complete their responsibilities.

Step 1

Stay calm and remain in control of your emotions. It can be easy to get into an argument with your child when they are being passive aggressive, giving excuses or becoming upset. Remember that your child’s behavior is their coping mechanism and when you remain firm and in control you will help to deescalate the situation.

It is important to handle your child’s needs appropriately, whatever those needs are. This way, the correction you instill, for instance, will be consistent. This is also why you should enroll your child in a preschool that is aware of his or her needs.

If you are looking for a preschool that understands children’s needs and is willing and ready to walk with you and your child through his or her development, welcome to Spanish For Fun. In addition, your child’s early education will be delivered effectively in a healthy environment. Here is an excerpt of our philosophy:

At Spanish for fun! we utilize a combination of Spanish immersion curriculum, international curriculum and the early education creative curriculum of North Carolina. This has been developed around a play-based philosophy as well as paying close attention to each child’s social emotional state by exposing them to all 5 love languages (based off of the research done by Dr. Gary Chapman). A play based philosophy means we believe that children naturally engage in and enjoy play as a way of learning on their own terms and at their own pace.

Spanish for fun! was recently named the Member of the Month for October by the Wake Forest Chamber of Commerce. Call us at 919-881-1160 or complete the contact form on the website to schedule a tour of our Wake Forest Campus. We look forward to meeting you.