What parenting style works best for a disrespectful child?
Dealing with an out-of-control child who is disrespectful or a grown child disrespecting parents can be overwhelming. One common question parents may find themselves asking is, “How do I deal with this type of behavior?”
The top concern I hear from parents is that their child is disrespectful, and they don’t know what to do.
The scary but truthful answer is that there is not a set script of what works and what does not work when it comes to parenting your disrespectful child.
Luckily, there are a few tips and tricks that you can take into consideration to help you navigate this difficult parenting journey.
Without further ado, here are the top 5 important pieces of advice that you can use to parent your disrespectful child.
Let’s jump right in!
How Do You Handle a Disrespectful Child?
Here are two ways parents often deal with a disrespectful child:
- Using the authoritarian parenting style
- Using the permissive parenting style
Let’s talk a little bit about each of these parenting styles and why they don’t work.
The Authoritarian Parent
The authoritarian parent has a tendency to want to take control.
They demand certain actions and punish if the child doesn’t do those actions, and it’s a vicious circle.
The problem: The child is going to think you do not have any respect for their viewpoint. This will cause problems down the line because your child is going to resent you for taking over.
The Permissive Parent
The permissive parent has a tendency to make excuses and let it go.
They fear upsetting or hurting their child, and they allow themselves to be walked all over. This does not garner respect.
The problem: The child is going to be upset that their parent is not taking a parental role. This will cause the child to resent the parent for being a doormat.
While it’s good to embody the loving and nurturing aspect of the permissive parenting style, being passive will not give your disrespectful child the discipline they need to learn.
If used properly, the authoritative parenting style can be the best route to properly parenting a disrespectful child due to its balance of encouraging independence while administering fair and consistent discipline appropriate to the age of the child.
With that in mind, let’s get into our 5 tips that can actually help you parent a disrespectful child using the authoritative parenting style in a constructive manner.
1. Be Prepared
Let’s be real. You’ve been a parent for a while now. Disrespectful behavior from children is normal, and it’s expected.
Therefore, you have no excuse for NOT being prepared!
Here are a few things to keep in mind to help you prepare for these inevitable discussions with your child.
Listen to Them
When a child is showing inappropriate aggression or is being disrespectful, it is often the result of some outside factor affecting them.
So, simply ask the child if there is anything bothering them.
Asking your child about their struggles shows that you care, that you’re interested in them, and it shows that you are there to help them – not to argue.
Don’t interrupt. Just listen. Then, you can figure out how to navigate the discussion.
Choose Your Battles
Remember that not everything needs to turn into a fight.
When you recognize that your child is becoming argumentative, pause for a second and think to yourself, “Is this worth a fight?”
Oftentimes, remaining calm will deescalate the situation and prevent what could have been a day-ruining fight.
But for the rare occasions that you must turn that argumentative behavior into a learning lesson, you need to maintain control of the situation.
2. Take Control of the Situation
The key to parenting a disrespectful child is not to employ one of the parenting styles above – it is to take control of the situation and of your own behavior.
When a child disrespects you, it hurts. But once you feel a mood problem within yourself, that’s a sign that something is wrong.
One of the most important things you need to understand when it comes to parenting is that you can only control what you can control. You can’t control your child.
So, in a difficult situation when you are dealing with a disrespectful child, you need to pay attention to your perception – not your child’s.
How to do this: Step in with the child, and say,
“Hey, I got to let you know when you treat me like this it hurts very much. What is going on?”
“I’ve told you this hurts me very much and you’re still doing this, this is going to come between us if this keeps up. I would like to talk with you about what might be causing this.”
“What is going on? Do you have any ideas on what might be causing this hurtful reaction?”
Communication is Key
By communicating with your child, you’re expressing that their behavior is unacceptable to you but that you are interested in what your child has to say, how they feel, and what they think.
It shows that you care about your relationship with them and that their behavior is hurtful, which might negatively impact the relationship if not addressed.
This is a great mashup, and that’s what we’re looking for as parents. Who knows, the child may have some insight into what’s going on.
If they do or don’t have insight, let them know it’s something to think about and ask them what they propose you both do.
By giving them the opportunity to fix the problem, even if they’re young, shows them you are interested, and that is the key piece. They just want to know that you’re interested and that you care what their thoughts are.
This also teaches them to reason going forward and teaches them that they have the power to change a relationship for the better.
One day they’re going to surprise you and say something like, “Hey, I know that I do that, and I hate that I do that but I can’t seem to help it. I think it happens when I have a bad day at school and I take it out on you.”
Learning to communicate can make all the difference in your relationship with your disrespectful child.
3. Teach Your Disrespectful Child to Express Emotions Respectfully
It’s important to teach your child that they can express their emotions. In fact, they should express their emotions.
But there is a way to express your emotions that is not damaging to your relationships. Here are a few alternative ways to express emotions that do not involve disrespect, yelling, and long-term damage.
Different Ways to Express Emotions
Every person expresses their emotions in different ways. If your child has a tendency to express anger inappropriately, here are some other ways to encourage them to share their feelings.
- Dancing or singing
- Speaking with a therapist
- Playing sports
These are just a few of the ways that your child can express emotions in an unproblematic way.
Practice Expressing Emotions
As a parent, you should practice expressing your emotions to your children in a positive, constructive, and calm way. When you practice expressing emotions yourself, they learn from you!
Start by identifying your feelings and talking about them. Be a role model by staying calm and reasonable throughout the process.
There is a formula for expressing emotions that I like to give my clients to make expressing complex emotions very simple.
“I feel X when you do Y.”
For example, “I feel irritated when you raise your voice at me.”
This keeps it as a personal expression rather than an attack, and it is a constructive way to express your emotions.
When your child sees you practicing expressing your emotions in a positive way, they will pick up on that and begin to implement the practice into their own lives.
There is Always Another Solution
One of the most important things for a child to keep in mind when faced with a stressful situation is that there is always another solution!
Children often feel as if the only solution to their problem is to act out their anger in a disrespectful way. Remind them that there is always another solution to their problem.
If they cannot construct a solution to their own problem, you can always work with them to create a plan that works.
4. Create a Plan That Works
When you express yourself, it makes your child aware of how you feel. Then you can ask them, “What are we going to do about it?”
If they come up with a plan, great. If they don’t, give them three choices of what you think is reasonable, and let them choose one. Again, this shows you are not taking over, and are allowing them to be involved.
For example, the three choices can be:
- Talk to your friends on the phone first and vent it out with them
- Go to the gym before coming home
- No talking until dinner when everyone is calmer
Come up with solutions that work for you and your child, and then circle back in a couple of weeks. If the child is putting in the effort or not, touch back and acknowledge how the solution is working.
5. Always Circle Back
Always make sure that you check back in with your child after an argument or after they display disrespectful behavior towards you. Checking back in shows that you care and that they can trust you with their feelings and teaches them that effectively addressing their problems leads to resolution.
Check in with your child by saying:
- “Hey, this still isn’t working, let’s come back to the table and rethink this.”
- “I think this is working. I feel like you’re not disrespecting me as much and I appreciate that very much.”
The key piece is working together. Your child will take this template outside of the family and put it to use in other areas of their life such as down the line with their significant other. This is what you want to see!
Take Control of Your Disrespectful Child With My Parenting eBook
Parenting a child is hard. Parenting a disrespectful child is even harder.
Luckily, you can use these 5 important pieces of advice to parent your disrespectful child and transform your relationship.
Want more parenting tips and tricks? Buy the complete Parenting eBook, which I developed to help people like YOU navigate your relationship with your children.
Do you use any of these parenting tips already? Do you use parenting methods that I did not discuss in this article? Let me know by contacting me at any of the links below!