What Does It Mean When Your Mom Calls You a Brat?

Your mom may need to change her communication tactics.
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You are having another one of those not-so-nice arguments with mom, and after what seems like hours of bickering, she throws her hands in the air and calls you the "b" word. As a teen or young adult, you are far from the spoiled years of your youth -- when you whined for a cookie or stomped your feet if you didn't get a new toy -- but your mom may still see your defiance as bratty.

1 Human Reality

Your mom is a real person. Parents, just like children, aren't always prefect. That said, if your mom calls you a brat, it is possible that she is having a bad day or is simply out of steam when it comes to constructive criticism. Parents should avoid using hurtful words, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics on their HealthyChildren.org website.

Vocabulary Builder

2 Joking Aside

Unlike a younger child who takes language literally, teens and young adults understand figurative communication. When your mom uses the word "brat," she isn't always saying it in a hurtful or literal way. You are mature enough to comprehend sarcasm and subtle uses of figurative language. On occasion, your mom may use "brat" in a joking or ironic way, especially if you are far from spoiled or difficult. Although mom may not mean anything hurtful when she uses this word, tell her it offends you.

3 Out of Words

Teens and young adults aren't always known for their willingness to listen to mom and dad. Although it is perfectly normal for a teen to exert a sense of independence, it isn't always easy for a parent to accept that a child has her own opinions, according to KidsHealth.org. If your mom has tried reasoning, using constructive criticism or communicating with positive words -- and you still aren't responding -- she may use "brat" as a last resort.

4 Attention Seeker

Are you listening to what your mom is saying? If your ears only perk up when "brat" comes out of her mouth, your mother's use of the word means that she is trying to get your attention. This type of name-calling doesn't necessarily mean that she thinks you are a brat. Consider the possibility that your mother is trying to get you to listen to her or that she wants you to see how your actions affect others.

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.