I have an acquaintance who regularly talks negatively about her kids in front of them. Specifically, she says things like, “That one’s the naughtiest one right there” or “She’s always getting in trouble at school.”
I know that she can show up however she wants to with her kids, but as for my response: I don’t want to agree (e.g. “Oh, yeah, I totally get it”). I want to disagree in some way, but I’m struggling with the how.
What I *think* is something like, “Actually, I’m confident that she’s capable of more than you give her credit for, and I wonder what would happen if you sought more connection with her rather than dismissing her behavior as naughty.” But if I were to say that, I would think that I would come across as condescending and judgmental. The F-line of that model feels terrible.
I want to stand up for her kids when they hear their mom talking negatively about them, because I want them to hear words of affirmation and to have someone second-guess that they’re just naughty and that’s the fact.
I also want to affirm the mom, who I know loves her kids fiercely and is doing her best with the limited resources she has.
Could you please help me clean up my models?