|Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash|
Some children act disrespectful, imitating what they see in a TV show or video. Or some young children of school age may be imitating their classmates. They may roll their eyes or utter the word, ''whatever,'' when you ask them to do something. Others pretend not to hear you. In the disrespect range, these actions are quite mild. But if your child is displaying physical aggression, disregarding rules, and doing some name-calling, these are already serious issues, and you need some additional help.
Seek professional help
Whether your child is displaying mild or serious behaviour, it is vital to address the disrespectful behaviour as soon as possible. If you allow it to continue, they are likely to carry the attitude and become ruder as they grow older. Take your child to a child behaviour therapist for an evaluation to help get to the root cause of their disrespectful behaviour. Their actions may signify that they need help in learning socially appropriate ways to communicate effectively, dealing with their frustrations or managing their anger. Seeking help could be the kindest thing you do for your child if you are concerned that their behaviour is more aggressive than that of the average kid.
What to do at home
When your child is acting up and being mildly disrespectful, you need to do something positive and constructive to let your child know that you are paying attention -
1. Ignore minor disrespectful behaviour
Some people may think that ignoring mild disrespect is allowing the child to get away with bad behaviour. However, this isn't the case. What you need to do, is selective ignoring, which is an effective way to allay negative consequences. If you tell your child to do some chores, like cleaning their room, and they ignore you, you do not have to spend time arguing with them. Arguing only lengthens the time you keep them away from doing the chore you instructed. Instead, warn them about the consequences of not doing what you had asked them to do.
2. Follow the traditional rule of discipline
There is a thing called grandma's rule of discipline, which involves using an incentive instead of a negative consequence. Instead of telling your child that they cannot have dessert unless they finish their dinner, frame your instruction as a motivation. It will be nicer to tell your child that they can have dessert if they finish their dinner. It is one way to prevent power struggles. By using grandma's rule, you are telling your child that they have a choice, and the result depends on their action. This has always been very effective with my children, who realised from very early on that they always had a choice and the outcome was down to them.
3. Teach the child to make amends
If a child or teenager behaves disrespectfully, making amends is necessary to prevent the incident from happening again. For example, if your child hits a sibling, perhaps make the offender do the sibling's tasks for the day, as a way of making amends. Or if your teenager breaks something because of anger, either make them fix it or get them to pay for the repair out of their allowance. They should learn that saying sorry is not always enough. It is a good start, but their behaviour comes with natural consequences. They have to learn how to be responsible for their own disrespectful or aggressive behaviour.
Consistent discipline and being a good role model can help your child grow to be respectful and responsible. Acknowledge their good behaviour and of course, let them know you are there for them when they are having a bad day. It's all part of successful parenting after all.