“It’s impossible to have a conversation when anybody comes home because my 4 year old constantly keeps interrupting“, exclaimed a hassled mother during one of her regular visits. That is the precise time my daughter has to be around, constantly make loud noises, play the piano or keep ringing the bell of her kiddie cycle. This is one kind of disrespectful behaviour. It could be making a scene while shutting down the TV or rolling eyes when asked to come back home from play. On the more serious end of the disrespectful behaviour spectrum, you’ll find behaviours such as calling people names, disregarding the rules, or physical aggression.
Sometimes parents might be drawn to justify the rude/ disrespectful behaviour by saying things like, “Well kids will be kids,” Letting it go would only harm your child in the long run. Children need to learn how to treat others with respect so they can develop healthy relationships with peers, authority figures, and family members.
INSOLENCE IS NOT OK.
As parents, we certainly need to teach our kids how to treat others with kindness, and how to communicate big feelings without being rude. Unfortunately, we cannot teach them to be respectful & kind in the heat of the moment. It is very tempting to deal with the situation right then and there.
But, once your child is fuming, dissatisfied, upset the thinking part of their brain has shut down. That is a very inappropriate time to process the lessons you are trying to teach. Plus, we can’t teach our kids to be respectful by treating them with disrespect.
How can we address disrespect calmly ?
Please realize that the suggestions listed here may be different than you’re used to doing. You may feel a little unsure about trying these strategies with your kids. That’s is OK.
The goal is to address the behavior without threatening, bribing, or responding with disrespect.
- Stay calm:It’s not easy to keep cool when our kids are being rude. This may feel impossible at first. Meeting them with disrespect sends the wrong message. Instead, model good behaviour by taking a deep breath, counting to 20 or repeating a simple statement: “This is not an emergency” before you respond to your child.
- Decode the Behaviour:Look at things from your child’s point of view. Were they caught off guard? Is what you’re asking inconvenient? Do they feel powerless? Their response is a reflection of what they are feeling inside Unfortunately, at this point, they can’t put it into more appropriate words.
- Empathize:Help your child understand their own feelings by offering an empathetic reply “It seems unfair that we have to go already” or “I know it’s hard to leave when you’re having such a fun time!” You do not have to agree with the feeling, it simply means that you are willing to relate to their experience.
- Check the Time:Some kids are affected by hunger, thirst. Others are very sensitive to environmental stimulation or not getting enough sleep. Has it been awhile since your child ate? Could they use a sip of water? Or a break from a loud environment? Offer it in a non-threatening way, “I’m going to have a cracker, would you like one too?”
- Slow It Down:It’s easy to get pulled away with the “runaway train” of angry, frustrated words and emotions. Instead of jumping on board and responding to every criticism or complaint your child throws at you, try to put on the brakes, “Whoa! That’s a lot of info. I’d like to listen, but you’re talking too fast. Let’s take it easy so I can understand what you’re trying to say.”
- Connect:If your child is misbehaving, the last thing on your mind is cuddling. However, for many kids, connect is exactly what they need! If you are able to look past the behaviour and ignore all of the big feelings and overwhelming emotion, you will be able to see that your child is in pain and needs support. Sometimes, a hug is better than any verbal response.
TEACH THE LESSONS LATER
Once everyone is calm, you can talk about what happened and how to do it differently next time. Waiting or delaying your response does not mean that you are a passive parent or you’re saying that disrespect is OK.
It means that you are waiting for your brain, and your child’s brain, to cool down and is ready to receive information and move on without being rude, angry or disrespectful.
with inputs from Nicole