“My child is so disrespectful.”

"Pasqua Pink" by Mimi Stuart
Live the Life you Desire

Raising children to become capable and compassionate adults requires teaching them respect and a feeling of good will.

1. Respect means having regard for someone’s feelings and rights. Teaching children to be respectful requires both being respectful to them and specifically pointing out when and how they could be more respectful to you. This means speaking and being spoken to without a demeaning, contemptuous or condescending tone of voice.

2. Good will means desiring what’s good for another person. Good will should not lead a parent to give children whatever they want. What’s good for children in the long-term may not be what’s most gratifying in the moment.

Ideally, parents can be friendly and respectful, yet, at the same time keep in mind what is best for the child in the long run. Reminding children to treat parents and others with respect and good will is crucial in preparing them for life and for having fulfilling relationships as adults.

When your child is rude, it’s best to be direct and say, “that tone of voice sounds rude and doesn’t make me or others feel good. A more positive tone of voice is much more effective in getting what you want and making people want to be with you.” Make sure you don’t give the child what he or she wants unless they use a respectful, friendly tone of voice.

by Alison Poulsen, PhD

Read “I’ve told you kids a thousand times to say ‘thank you.'”

3 thoughts on ““My child is so disrespectful.”

  1. pervin

    My 22year old son, has always been wonderful.
    He chose an accounting course in university last year and could not pass with three attempts.
    He has become so avoidant that it is causing immense stress in our family life.
    Though he has changed his major and still wants to study he just cannot cope.
    he has had counselling but I am absolutely gutted as to how to help him.
    Recently, any piece of advise is not welcomed by him and leads to bitter arguments.
    I would be grateful for your advice.

    1. Alison Post author

      I’m sorry I missed this comment. Is the situation the same now? It is admirable that he tried the class three times. That does show determination, but perhaps accounting is not for him, or he needs to try again in a different class.

      It is important not to avoid what you fear, but rather to take on small doses of the stressful challenges–small enough to be able to experience some success.

      He’s 22, and therefore, an adult. Too much pushing may result in rebellion and not in ownership of his own life. I would recommend mild encouragement. If he resists even that, then I would back off. If he lives at home, expect him to contribute around the house by helping or financially. While being respectful and loving, I would avoid pampering and taking care of him. Hopefully, while receiving some encouragement and love, but experiencing more autonomy, he will take some initiative on his own. Let me know how it is going.

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