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How to Deal With Disrespectful Children

Are your kids snobby or disrespectful? Do they sometimes act like brats? While you can't exactly turn them into angels overnight, there are ways to ...

How to Deal With Disrespectful Children article provided by wikiHow. Content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons License.

Deal With Disrespectful Children

Are your kids snobby or disrespectful? Do they sometimes act like brats? While you can't exactly turn them into angels overnight, there are ways to help improve disrespectful attitudes.

edit Steps

  1. 1
    Find the source of the problem. This is the hardest part. There are many, many things that could lead to them being disrespectful.
    • Is it just their age or stage? Are they teenagers? If they are in that crazy time in their life, it's common that teens will snap at their parents and use "shut up" at least four times a day. Are they toddlers? They are called the "Terrible Twos" for a reason. This is when they are learning "NO!" and "THAT'S MINE!" It's more difficult to help a very young child with their attitude, because they aren't as mature and can't process things as easily.
    • Are you treating them with respect? Carefully examine your own behavior. Do you yell at them, or tell them to shut up or say that they're stupid? While that's not good in general, it teaches your kids that it's okay to act that way as well. If you're going to snap at your kids, it's only karma for them to get right back at you.
  2. 2
    Communicate. If you find the source of the problem, improve it! Teenager? While they seem "clueless" at times and as if they don't care, try to communicate with them as best you can, when you can. It works well if it's a mother for daughter, father for son (this allows that any questions or conversations can be talked about with no fear that the gender-difference will be an issue). Toddler? Whenever they say that infamous "NO!" to you, respond with, "Don't talk to mommy/daddy that way. That's not very nice." If it doesn't work, take away privileges; discipline them. Examples can be something as simple as no dessert tonight or something as "extreme" as not going to the "Disney on Ice" that they've been longing for for weeks. Use more severe measures only if the gentler ones haven't worked. If the problem lies with you, you must change your habits and set a good example. If you feel you are about to lose your temper, if they are old enough to be left alone in a room momentarily, quietly go into the next room and take some time to calm down. If they are too young to be left alone, then just remember when they were born. For most people, it was a wonderful experience. Think about when they were born, and remember the love and compassion you have for them. It sounds silly, but it works.
  3. 3
    If you didn't identify the source of the problem, just work your way around the situation. Whenever they talk back to you, say firmly, "[child's name], do not talk to me like that. That's not very respectful." If they continue to talk back, say once (and only once): "I expect an apology." Remember, say everything firmly. A child can sniff out the slightest bit of doubt. If that fails, take away privileges. If they whine, simply restate what they did. Always say what happened, so they know what they did wrong and connect the consequence with the act.
  4. 4
    Deal with the friend factor. When it comes to their friends, they want to act "cool" (this is especially common in teens). When kids backlash in front of their friends ("Yeah, whatever", "Get out of my room!"), some parents don't want to embarrass their kids in front of their friends. Do not be one of these parents. The response can vary. Something as simple as "Don't be disrespectful to me" can do the trick, but won't last long. Come off strong. You probably don't need to berate him in front of his friends. Just calmly state that what they did was not very respectful and leave. Don't argue with them.
  5. 5
    Deal with the inevitable arguments. Adding fuel to the fire won't help the situation. If they say "That's not fair!", don't reply "Life's not fair". That's just depressing. Or if they say something like, "Jenny's mom is letting her do it!" say "I'm not Jenny's mom, and that's that." End the argument quickly. If they start to whine back at you, walk away. The chances of them following you are very slim. If they do follow you, ignoring them is best, unless they have a legit reason to bring something up.
  6. 6
    Don't hit back if they react violently. Self defense is one thing, but punching and biting and kicking them is quite another. This situation unfortunately happens sometimes, and the response is hard. If your kid is smaller, then just simply pick them up and away from you, sit them somewhere and say firmly, "Don't you ever hit me again." This is when it is appropriate to raise your voice. If your child is bigger, say, a teenager, and is putting up a fight, get help. Don't fight back, but use self defense if needed.
  7. 7
    Spot manipulation and don't fall for it. Kids can manipulate you without you even knowing it. Children are getting brighter and smarter and wittier every passing day. It may be hard to sense it, but sometimes you just get a gut feeling that they're trying to pick at you. If this happens, confront them. Say, "I feel that you're trying to manipulate me, and I wanted to talk with you about this." Confront it, say how you feel, and make it clear you won't tolerate it.
  8. 8
    See if they are also disrespecting other figures, such as teachers or coaches. If so, ask them how your child has been acting, and confront your kid about it. It needs to be brought up at one time or another.

edit Tips

  • Be calm and patient. All good things take time.
  • When you feel like giving up, just remember that you are trying to help your daughter/son and that you only want the best, and go from there.
  • Give lost privileges back when children's behavior improves. If they act up, take them back just as quickly and, this time, don't return them until you are sure they are going to be good, for good.
  • Cussing and yelling aren't the answer. Calmly yet firmly talk to your child when discussing this situation. Sometimes, speaking in a quieter voice will get more attention than speaking in a loud voice, since it forces the child to quiet down to hear you.
  • Always treat them with respect. If you don't, you will get no where.

edit Warnings

  • Results do not happen overnight; it takes time.
  • Sometimes, kids push back against on your plans. Remember, this is the very sort of behavior you're trying to get them to improve.
  • When confronting your children, don't open up your entire heart and soul to them, but don't drag your own problems into it. No kid wants to hear you nag about your terrible day at work and how you feel your husband/wife doesn't respect you. It will make them feel uncomfortable and can often worsen the situation.
  • If all else fails, get professional help. Sometimes it helps to have someone neutral meet with you and your child to talk about the problem.

edit Sources and Citations

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