How To Deal With A Disrespectful Child

You asked your child how their day was at school one day.

Rather than share their day’s activities with you, your child raises their voice at you and tells you not to bother them anymore.

If you ask them why, they roll their eyes instead and stomp toward their room.

And you’re left wondering, why did my child react like that? Why did my daughter or son treat their mother so poorly?

If this scenario feels all too familiar for you, then you’re one of the million parents in the world who are confused about how to deal with their misbehaving children.

Dealing with a disrespectful child is no easy feat, as one wrong move could widen the gap between you and your kid. So, how do you deal with your child’s rude behavior properly?

Here are six ways how.

1. Don’t take it personal

As tempting as it might be, avoid starting an argument with your child or hurling hurtful words at them out of frustration or anger. If your kid insults you after asking them to clean their room or do their homework, do not argue and engage in a power struggle.

Instead, take a deep breath and calm yourself. Despite your child’s rude behavior, the last thing they want is an argument. Once they learn you’re not up for arguing, they’ll soon realize their misbehavior.

2. Find the reason for their rude behavior

Children often misbehave because they want your attention for something, and their sometimes-unintentional rudeness is a subtle call for help.

So take a step back and put yourself in your child’s shoes. What happened before this moment that might have affected your child? Did something happen at school or with their friends? Was something or someone in their environment overwhelming them? Was there an external influence on this behavior, like new peers or a form of media they consumed recently?

3. Empathize, but don’t enable

To become your child’s safe space, you need to assure them that what they feel is natural and there’s nothing wrong with having negative emotions. When they feel angry, acknowledge it and tell them you understand what they’re going through.

However, do not criticize or provide a solution to how they feel. Also, do not patronize or enable them when they express their frustrations. You don’t need to agree with everything they say. Listen to their feelings and ask why they feel that way.

4. Encourage them to talk about their feelings

Set a time with your child where you can freely discuss the events of their day and what makes them happy, sad, or frustrated. It could be with you or someone they trust, such as a therapist, a friend, or a close relative.

5. Be a good example

Being a positive example is the most effective way to teach your child how to deal with emotions and behave appropriately.

If your child shouts or talks back at you, answer them calmly. If they ask you something, respectfully answer them. If they misbehave, discuss it with them and the potential consequences of their behavior in an understanding tone.

6. Acknowledge their good behavior

A praise-and-acknowledgment approach has always generated more motivation and minimized disruptive behaviors than punishment.  

Positive reinforcement also encourages them to practice more of their praised behavior in the future and helps develop their self-esteem and competence.

Just remember not to overdo it with praise and acknowledgment. A balance of three to five positive statements to one corrective statement would suffice.

Consistency is key to dealing with your child’s disrespectful behavior.

The secret to making these tips work is to apply them consistently while embracing the fact that disciplining your child is a learning process.

With a never-ending supply of patience, keen observation of your child’s behavior, and an open mind about their emotions, you can help your child nip their disrespectful behavior at an early stage as much as possible.


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