It can be really hard to handle a kid who is being disrespectful to you. If you’re unsure of how to discipline a Disrespectful Child or how to make them act kinder, then this is the perfect guide to help you through that.
Ways To Deal with a Disrespectful Child
Third of having a Disrespectful Child?
You do the best you can as a parent to teach your kids love and kindness. And for the most part, they are. To other people!
But when they are with you, they roll their eyes, stick out their tongues, and talk back. Which are all mild but annoying signs of disrespect.
Or worse, they yell, swear, disregard the rules and even use physical aggression. These are more severe signs that your child is disrespecting you. And something you should not ignore.
Not only is it super hurtful to us when our kids are mean and disrespectful, but continuing this behavior could lead to them growing up into a rude adult. And nobody like rude adults!
So is it possible to stop the disrespectful behavior and get your kids to show you a little respect once in a while? Absolutely! Is it easy? Not at all!
Understanding the Disrespect
Kids can act disrespectful for many reasons. Before you try to correct the behavior, it’s often a good idea to understand where the behavior is coming from.
Related Read: 12 Factors That Influence A Child’s Behavior
Chances are, your child isn’t trying to be a brat. But they may actually be experiencing some emotion that they can’t communicate and it comes out in either anger or disrespectful behavior.
Stop The Disrespect From Your Kids
When the big attitude rolls in, here’s what you need to do:
1 – Ignore It
I know it can be so very hard to ignore your kid’s bad behavior, especially when they are pushing every single button and being over the top with their disrespect. But once a child is at a heightened state of emotions, they will just continue to progress.
In the past, my fights with my daughter looked a little like this…
She would get upset about something small (I asked her to do a chore or told her she couldn’t stay up late on a school night).
But she wouldn’t like that and would start making snippy comments.
So then I would start making snippy comments back to her and telling her to watch her mouth.
Which made her more upset. And made her raise her voice and get even MORE mouthy.
Which would get me upset that she wasn’t listening and being disrespectful. So I would raise my voice and get even more mad at her.
The next thing I know, we were both arguing back and forth and starting to say things we didn’t mean.
The problem with this? We were just escalating each others emotions.
The best thing for me to do was to wait until we both calmed down to talk about it. So if your child is in the middle or some disrespectful talk towards you, you can simply say “We do not speak to each other this way. We will discuss this later.”
2 – Don’t Engage With Them
When they go low, you go high. The more they argue and get angry, the more you need to stay cool and calm
See Related: How to Be a More Calm and Patient Mom
When anyone is in a fight (child or adult) they are looking for you to fight back. They are looking for that reaction. Giving them a reaction to their anger will give them permission to keep going and even get more intense.
When you choose not to engage and not to argue back with your child, you are putting their disrespectful behavior to a dead stop.
3 – Give Only a Single Warning
The best way not to engage with your Childs disrespectful behavior is to give one single warning and that’s it.
In fact, don’t even tell them what they did wrong.
“But how will they know their behavior is bad if I don’t point it out to them?”
Oh come on! Do you really think they don’t already know?
Trust me, your kids know the rules. They know they shouldn’t hit, or kick, or swear. And they sure as heck know they shouldn’t talk to you in a disrespectful way.
You do NOT need to keep pointing out things they already know (it’ll actually just make them even more angry).
Instead, you simply say: “You know you aren’t supposed to be talking to me that way. We will talk about this later.”
And if they keep trying to argue with you, you keep repeating “We will talk about this later.”
Eventually they will stop fighting back and calm down because they are not getting the response they are hoping for.
4 – Provide Logical Consequences
Because talking disrespectfully to parents is a broken rule, there needs to be a consequence.
See Related: How To Discipline without Punishment
But the discipline needs to be logical. In other words, the punishment must fit the crime.
For example, if I tell my daughter to do some chores and she ignores me by spending time on her phone, she loses her phone.
If she yells at me because she doesn’t want to go to bed at a certain time, she’ll go to bed even earlier the next night.
And in any case, when a child talks back to you, they make it up by saying something nice to you. In other words, they apologize to you for being disrespectful.
There are several times when my daughter is mad and she’s aiming her frustration at me and just being a total snot, and I just sit there taking it. I’ll be really quiet until she’s done and then I’ll simply say “Are you done now?”
This one phrase takes away her power and often gets her to stop.
5 – Teach Them How To Express Frustration
If there’s one thing you can teach your kid to make them be more respectful, it’s this:
It’s OK to be frustrated and angry. It’s not OK to hurt people.
Being disrespectful is not usually a sign that you have a bad kid. It shows you have a kid who is feeling an emotion and they don’t know the right way to communicate it. So it ends up coming out directed towards you.
Help your kids understand their emotions and what made them get frustrated in the first place. Teaching them the right way to vent their frustrations will save you from having kids who take their anger out on you.
See Related: How to Deal with a Moody Kid
6 – Do the Opposite – Show Them Love When They Need it the Most
One time when I was at the doctor’s office, I heard a man yelling at the staff there. His daughter was about to have surgery and he wasn’t happy with anything going on. He was complaining and being rude. The staff was getting frustrated right back at him.
Then this doctor walked up and put her hand on the man’s shoulder and said “What are worried about today?” and the man suddenly calmed down, lowered his voice, and even got choked up and said, “that somethings gonna happen to my daughter.”
He wasn’t just some A-hole. He was worried about his kid. But he didn’t know how to express it. So it came out as anger. All it took was a sympathetic ear to completely change his demeanor.
Kids are no different.
Their anger stems from something else. You are their parent and the person they feel the safest with. Be that sympathetic ear and find out what’s REALLY going on that’s causing them to be disrespectful in the first place.
Once you become that person to them, you’ll find they will come to you more often in the future and communicate with you the right way. Not by being angry and disrespectful.
Here are some other tips when dealing with a Disrespectful Child:
- Don’t correct them in public. It embarrasses them. Show them respect by doing it in private.
- Don’t take it personally. Even though it makes you feel like a bad parent, you’re not!
- It takes time. Don’t expect to implement these tips and see changes overnight. Keep at it, be consistent, and you will see a change over time.
- Stay in control. The second you yell or argue back, you lose control. Keeping control of the situation shows your kid you’re in charge.
- Be a good role model. Seriously. What kind of an adult are you? Do you speak to others respectfully? If you are disrespectful to others, your kids will be too. It all starts with you.
How To Raise Respectful Kids
Kids who feel listened to will be less likely to feel like they need that last word. By taking time to listen to your child and communicate with them, the less disrespectful they will be to you.
Here are some more resources to help you with a disrespectful child:
These are my favorite books that really help you raise respectful kids and help you with what to do when your child is totally out of control.
- Respectful Parents: Respectful Kids
- Raising Grateful Kids In An Entitled World
- Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting
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