A problem many parents face when their child grows up – is that she/he becomes disrespectful and moody.
It becomes difficult to tackle this issue, because if you say something – your child explodes saying that she/he is now almost an adult and will live life on her/his own terms.
If you are facing such a situation, you need to understand why your child’s behavior is changing with age and then try to resolve those issues.
In this article, I have explained why children become disrespectful with growing age and how you can deal with a disrespectful grown child.
When your child is born she/he only has enough brain to run the vital organs and nothing else.
When they are young children follow you blindly and do whatever you say. As they grow they are able to think for themselves.
At this point, if they are still compelled to follow your lead they become rebellious and disrespectful. Because they feel that their survival is being threatened by not being able to do what they think is best for them.
Your child learns how to behave by imitation. Your child watches how you react in a specific situation and imitates that in similar circumstances.
If you have been rude and disrespectful when you were angry throughout your child’s younger years, your child will do the same when she/he is older.
In the early years, children are emotional and their behavior is completely dictated by their emotions.
As they grow it is our duty to help them build their reasoning powers – so that they can see the other person’s point of view.
When we are unable to teach them they become unreasonable and behave in a disrespectful manner.
As your child moves into the teenage years, the prefrontal cortex of the brain starts to develop.
That is the thinking brain. With the development of the thinking brain your child who was copying everything till now suddenly starts to question everything around her/him.
Which sounds disrespectful but may not really be if you have the right approach.
Once your child is older she/he may not like it when you interfere in every aspect of her/his life.
It makes her/him feel that she/he is being controlled. Your role as a parent is to influence and not control. Control leads to rebellion and disrespect.
When you rule your child’s life and control and punish her/him for everything – your child starts leaving all decision making to you.
This makes her/him feel powerless and she/he responds by being rebellious and disrespectful.
If your child has not learned communication skills because you have not allowed her/him to speak up, she/he may not know how to put her/his thoughts into polite words.
Also, prolonged silence is likely to lead to frustration and prompt her/him to behave rudely and cut you off in conversation.
Your child will certainly have an opinion on certain things.
When you ignore their opinion and make all rules and decisions without asking them – you are sure to end up with rebellion.
You must not expect unquestioning obedience from your child. If you do – you will create a child who is prone to bullying and abuse in addition to being rebellious and disrespectful.
Now that you know why your child is disrespecting you, it is time to learn how to deal with your child.
Children are disrespectful because they feel that they will not be allowed to speak and their opinions will not be valued.
Listening to your child makes him listen to you, which is what you want. When your child listens, he is likely to understand your point of view.
Do not listen to respond. Listen to understand. If you listen calmly and understand your child, he will automatically calm down. And that helps you and your child form stronger bonds and build her/his self-esteem.
When you are listening to your child, you should
- Be patient and listen to your child while she/he puts her/his thoughts across
- Show curiosity and have an open mind
- Respond in a sensitive way to everything that your child says
- Focus on the body language and actions, so that you understand the non-verbal forms of her/his communication
When your child is being disrespectful, you need to correct them respectfully. Yelling at your child is not helpful.
On the contrary, it can escalate your child’s disrespectful behavior.
If you want to be respected, give respect to your child. Ask permission before you start speaking during an argument.
Say “May I say something now” demonstrate that you value their opinion and respect them. Take what they have said into consideration before making decisions.
Show respect in the following ways
- Ask fewer questions
- Wait till they finish talking
- When you ask a question – let your child answer it for himself
You know that everything goes better when you are in a good mood. So try to stay calm when you are talking to your disrespectful child.
Yelling back at your child will only make things worse. Hence never start shouting when your child is disrespectful.
Children are disrespectful and start shouting when they are afraid of the consequences of what they are saying.
Don’t frighten them further with your anger. Stay calm.
Adopt these practices to stay calm
- Let go of unreasonable expectations
- Be gentle
- Be mindful of your child’s emotions
It is crucial to understand what your child wants to achieve and how you can help her/him.
Many times your child’s visible behavior may just be a cover-up for some deeper underlying problem.
For example, your child may be playing video games to escape the worry of performing poorly in academics by escaping into the virtual world of games
Snatching the device and forcing your child to study will definitely not work in this case.
Understand her/his troubles and help her/him in her/his studies. And once her/his marks improve, she/he will automatically give up gaming. This will make your child respect you more.
Your child becomes disrespectful when you have an approach of ‘Parents Rule, Children Obey’.
Rebellion begins when you start making decisions about your child’s life without consulting them.
You should treat your child as equal. This does not mean that your child should be allowed to do what you do.
It means that your child has equal rights to be treated with respect and dignity.
Discuss the home rules you make with them and ask for their opinion. Explain your reasons behind the rules and respect your child when she/he points out something which you have not considered yourself.
When you accept your own faults, you earn your child’s respect.
Comparison can be counterproductive for your child and is probably the worst way to deliver criticism.
When you compare your child with other children, you deprive her/him of her/his confidence.
Here are the reasons why you should not compare your child with others.
When you compare your child with others, self-doubt slowly grows in her/his mind. Your child will wonder if they can ever be good enough.
Comparison leads to jealousy and in turn into hatred. You child maybe even more aggressive when she/he feels jealous.
Your child’s assumptions about her/himself and what she/he can achieve will be negative when you compare your child with others.
- Damaged Parent-Child Relationship
When you compare your child often, she/he will eventually start hating you. Your child will feel that you are not on her/his side.
Your job as a parent is to encourage your child at every step. This will earn you respect and love.
When you threaten your child, it leaves a scar on your parent-child bonding. Threats can create complexes in your child, and she/he may shy away from you on many occasions.
Also, when you constantly threaten your child, you provoke her/him.
A provoked frightened child has no option but to one day turn around and threaten you. Threats result in your child disrespecting you as you are misusing your power.
Give up on trying to control your child. Instead, establish a relationship of mutual understanding.
Explain your concerns, gently point out errors and set reasonable boundaries for a great relationship.
Do not threaten your child when she/he is adamant on playing rather than studying. Instead, mark important sections in her/his book so that she/he quickly studies them and can then go out to play.
This will help you earn your child’s respect.
Your child is born, thinking that she/he is the center of the world. As your child grows, you must show her/him how to see the other person’s point of view.
You must teach her/him to think empathetically. Thinking empathetically and expressing emotions in an acceptable manner is the key
Following are the ways you can teach empathy to your child
- Teach Them To Name Emotions
You can teach your child empathy by describing your emotions with words.
Point out the emotions that you are experiencing and the ones you know she/he must be experiencing.
Then speak of how much better both of you could connect if you understood each other’s emotions.
- Discuss What You Are Feeling After A Conflict
When your child has calmed down after a conflict, sit with her/him and talk about what you were feeling.
Help her/him figure out how to express her/his feelings in a more acceptable way.
Children become what you believe they will become. Believe that your child is a good human being who is occasionally unable to respond correctly.
Do not criticize her/him. Instead, point out the good things she/he does and how this behavior is completely out of character with the rest of her/his personality.
If you label her/him “Bad” – your child will begin to believe that she/he is indeed bad and will be disrespectful to you.
Teenagers often experiment with their behaviors. Some of the experiments have good results and some don’t.
The problem is you notice only the bad behavior and criticize your child while you ignore good behavior.
If you pay more attention to good behavior and ignore bad behavior – you will surely encourage more respectful polite behavior.
When you make all the decisions for your child she/he feels powerless and frightened.
This makes her/him disrespectful because he feels threatened.
Following are the reasons why it is essential for your child to make his own decisions.
When children are allowed to make some decisions, they begin to feel important and have confidence in their abilities.
Allowing your child to decide some things shows her/him the role they have in your family.
By making decisions your child discovers her/his strengths and weaknesses. This can pave the way for a successful life.
As your child grows show her/him that she/he is an important part of the family. Ask your child for her/his opinion while making family decisions.
Give way when the decisions do not have major consequences. Discuss and negotiate to get to a mid-point when the decisions are important.
Pushing your child into a corner and forcing her/him to follow everything you say will not help in any way.
It will just lead to fights that will create distance between you and your child. When you are dealing with a grown child always remember to listen before you speak.