Episode 069: Get your children to treat you respectfully
LISTEN TO THE EPISODE OR READ THE POST BELOW One of the misbehaviors many parents can’t stand, is when their children treat them disrespectfully. It’s completely appropriate that disrespectful behavior irritates parents and it’s not wrong to want it to stop. The question is HOW DO WE GET OUR KIDS TO TREAT US RESPECTFULLY? Mike Fitch, CMHC What Parents Need to Know First You do not have to put up with disrespectful behavior. It is OK to expect those in your life to talk to you kindly and to treat you with respect. The tough thing is training others how to treat you. It takes a lot of work, a lot of patience, and choosing to be 100% firm with others about the way they interact with you, but it is possible. If you want to know how, keep reading. Step #1 Get clear with your family about what respect sounds like/looks like/feels like Our kids are not born knowing what the difference between respect and disrespect is. They need us to teach them and be EXTREMELY clear with them about what respect sounds like/looks like/ feels like, etc. Find different moments to teach your kids how to speak to/treat you and others. Use moments when they’ve slipped up to say “That’s a good example of being disrespectful.” Then find times they’ve done well and say “That’s a great example of being respectful.” Point out respect and disrespect in TV shows, on the radio, in the books you read, when you’re running errands, etc. Do whatever it takes to help your kids develop a clear understanding of the differences between respect and disrespect. Then let your family know that treating each other with respect is what a family does and that disrespectful behaviors will no longer be allowed. Step #2 Come up with a phrase that tells your kids they just treated you disrespectfully and they need to try again This step has two parts: Part 1 If you’ve completed Step #1, your kids now have a clear understanding of how to treat you and each other. It’s good to remember that your kids may be really used to speaking to you in a certain way and they may need some help remembering to treat you kindly. This next step is to help them develop the new habit of treating you respectfully. Create a phrase that will tell your kids that what they just did/said was disrespectful and they need to try again. Some examples are: “Try again.” “Rewind” “I’ll listen when you say that kindly” Choose one that is easy for you and will work for your kids. Then teach your kids this phrase, what it means, and what you expect them to do when you say it. Part 2 After you have taught your child the phrase, use it EVERY time they do something disrespectful. Then do not engage with the child again until they try again in an appropriate way. Doing this consistently will be the best way for them to learn which behaviors are going to be OK and which aren’t. You may have to prompt them quite a bit at first, but with time, you won’t have to do it very often. Step #3 Teach your children how to express themselves appropriately This step overlaps with Step #1 where you are getting clear with your kids about what behaviors are respectful and which ones aren’t. But we’re going to dive a little deeper. Expressing negative emotions SOME of the time, kids will say something disrespectful because they are struggling to express feelings of frustration, anger, hurt, or embarrassment in a productive way. So Instead of saying appropriately saying what’s on their minds or their hearts, they’ll yell out things like: “Stop being a jerk!” “You’re being rude right now.” “You’re acting like a brat.” “That person was so mean.” It’s important for your child to learn of to express their feelings, but they are going to need you to teach them how and model this behavior for them. You can do this by teaching them how to share what’s bothering them instead of saying rude things.