❖ Children can easily misunderstand our anger
If we try to hide our emotions or fail to calm ourselves, children will form their own conclusions about what caused us to feel angry or sad or frightened.
Preschool children are limited by what psychologists call transductive reasoning. This means that children are likely to associate two events that occur near in time. So, if a father arrives home angry and then criticizes his child for some minor misbehavior, the child may conclude that he is responsible for his father's anger.
A child who is sent to his room for misbehaving, for example, might overhear his parents arguing. Even though the argument has nothing to do with him, he may conclude that his behavior was the cause of his parents' anger.
As a result, children are at risk for blaming themselves for their parents' strong negative emotions, even when they had no part in the original problem. As children grow older, they can reason out the causes of parental anger more effectively, yet unreasonable self-blame can continue.
Next Principle 30: Children can be frightened by our anger