When someone treats you like a child, you may notice that feelings of self-doubt and a lack of confidence may surface. This is especially true if the person treating you like a child is your husband. You may feel as though you deserve to be addressed this way, or you may be outraged at his treatment. In fact, you may wonder how to get him to stop. Before moving forward, it is important to understand your feelings.
Address Your Feelings
Your husband may not realize he is talking to you as if you were a child, and you may not be able to verbalize to him how it makes you feel. Before you attempt to tell him that you are upset, take some time to write down the feelings you may have. It is important to reflect calmly after he has finished speaking with you. If you become upset during a conversation, he could take your behavior as being irrational and he may continue to talk to you as a child. Once you identify your feelings, sit him down to discuss them.
Check Your Behavior
Your husband may or may not be receptive to your admission, but it is important to tell him how you feel. If he immediately recognizes his behavior and vows to stop, realize that it may take time. This is also a good time to examine your behavior. It could be that he reacts to your treatment of him by talking to you as a child. If he is defensive when you approach him, do not get discouraged. Instead, examine your own behavior. Determine what ways you can change your tone when addressing him. Make sure you are speaking to him respectfully.
Improve Nonverbal Communication
While you may speak to your partner respectfully, look at the nonverbal signals you send while you are speaking and listening. Closing your arms, not making eye contact and completing other tasks are all things that you may do while communicating with your spouse. These behaviors could cause him to think you are being rude, explains D. Wayne Matthews, a human development specialist at North Carolina State University. Similarly, if your husband displays these behaviors, this may be why you feel as though he treats you as a child. As important as it is to tell him how you feel, it is also important to tell him how his behavior affects your feelings. By focusing on the nonverbal communication skills, you both have, you and he can work together toward more effective communication.
Seek Outside Help
Although you may be quick to send your husband alone for outside help, it is important that you both approach it together. You and he can learn how to communicate well together -- because good communication can be learned. In the process, you may discover more as to why he speaks to you as though you are a child. A good counselor will delve into how you learned to communicate and what communications styles were common in your family of origin. Visiting a counselor on a regular basis will help you build your marriage and improve communication.
Ashlea Campbell writes about families, relationships and health-related issues. In addition to writing professionally, she teaches writing courses at Collin College in Plano, Texas. She holds a Masters degree in English education from the University of Kansas.