At some point in parenting, parents have to put up with their children’s disrespectful behavior. Either for something as minor as ignoring orders or as annoying as a series of curses and insults. Your child will sometimes express himself unproductively. When this happens, first of all you must understand that it is something that happens often and that your child’s behavior is not your fault. Also, you have to know how to correct it as disrespectful behavior can usually be corrected.
While defiance is unpleasant, it is generally not cause for alarm – your child is likely just trying to overcome feelings of frustration and helplessness. As children grow older, they are often overwhelmed by rules and expectations. They want more autonomy but are not sure how to get it; as such, they act to assert control over the situation.
If your child doesn’t want to do her homework, for example, you could try having a conversation. If you are successful and he wants to talk to you, he will get away with it (even temporarily). In the conversation you will be so busy talking about their attitude that the task will become an afterthought.
However, while it is important to recognize and facilitate your child’s need for independence, you should never tolerate or encourage rude and hurtful behavior. The key to handling a disrespectful child lies in allowing a healthy measure of autonomy while curbing inappropriate methods of self-expression. With the tips that we will give you below, you can help your child to stop disrespectful behavior.
The more you internalize your child’s words and actions, the more likely they are to overreact. This increases the situation and motivates your child to continue behaving in a disrespectful way. After all, by showing your child that she can have your attention, you are showing her that her techniques are effective. Instead, most experts recommend that you let unimportant things (like sighing or complaining about your demands) not bother you at all. Also, you should objectively analyze which of your child’s disrespectful behaviors are really harmful. You have to focus on correcting these behaviors by using calm and consistent discipline.
If you want your child to have a respectful behavior, it is obvious that you will have to be a good example of it. Where do children get the idea that acting in a disrespectful way solves problems? Usually, when observing someone they respect, they use similar methods to handle the discomfort they feel. Therefore, one of the best ways to curb disrespectful behavior is to demonstrate healthy anger management strategies. Avoid badmouthing others behind their back and always be courteous in front of your children, even when dealing with a difficult person.
Although no parent intends to encourage their child to be disrespectful, some unwittingly tolerate this behavior, until it is headed in their direction. Think, for example, of the following situation: one of her teachers is giving your child a really heavy amount of homework. In a natural way, you sympathize with the situation by telling your child that there may be too much homework he has given him to do at home. So when he starts complaining about how unfair his teacher is, calling him names or throwing a tantrum, you express that you agree with your child (at least in part). What message do you think your child will receive if you do this? He will understand that it is acceptable and even helpful to treat someone with disrespect when you disagree with him or her.
A better way to handle these types of situations is to empathize with your child as a first step. Validate their feelings, for example by saying, “I understand that you are feeling tired and frustrated right now; it’s okay.” Once you’ve done this, remind her that while her feelings are acceptable, being rude and disrespectful is not. Come up with respectful ways for you and your child to handle the situation, such as having a cordial conversation with the teacher about his homework policies.