How to handle disrespect from your child

Image Courtesy: Stephen Andrews

There’s always a stage in a parent’s life when kids roll their eyes, yell back or just plain ignore any instructions given to them. Most of the time, parents tend to ignore these behaviours.

But it’s important to remember that disrespect when ignored can get worse. Here are some tips to manage it:

Don’t ignore disrespect
While we don’t advise a lengthy argument with your child as soon as they behave disrespectfully, we do recommend talking to the child after things have calmed down. “When I told you to finished your homework, you completely ignored me. Do you feel that just ignoring something will make it go away?” Talk about why disrespect is harmful and how people feel when others behave rudely.

Say things positively
Rather than listing down things they shouldn’t do, put it in a way that it sounds positive. Instead of saying, “You can only go out when you finish your homework” say “After you finish your schoolwork, we can play outside.”

Make sure there’s a consequence
When kids defy you and continue to do what they want when told not to do so, don’t let it slip. Hold your ground and tell them you make the house rules. “I won’t allow you to yell and walkaway like that. Apologise right away, or you’re grounded over the weekend.”

Pre-warn them
It’s always best to prepare kids about when to be in their best behaviour. “We’re boarding in 20 mins and it’s a long flight. I know you’re tired, but so is everyone else. So make sure you treat everyone around you the same way you’d like to be treated yourself.” Usually kids are willing to behave when you pre-prepare them.

Don’t ignore white lies
It’s important for kids to know that lies are lies – even the white ones. And lying to your loved ones, or anyone for that matter is a sign of disrespect to the person. “It’s ok that you didn’t feel like cleaning your room. But I’d rather have you say it upfront rather than lie that you’ve already done it!” This reinforces the fact that their lie has been caught but they are not shamed. So the next time, they’d be more bold and tell you what’s on their mind instead of the disrespect and lie.

Make sure they make up for the mistakes
If you see your child disrespecting someone, even their own friend, make sure to ask them to apologise and make up for their misbehaviour. “You cannot throw Myra’s doll just because she asked for it. You need to apologise and give away your doll to her to make up for her broken one.” This shows a child how to be responsible and make up for any of their mistakes.