How To Correct Disrespectful Kids As A Parent
Have you ever heard your kid say something like this to a stranger in public, “Hey! Your butt is so flat; it looks like the bottom of a pressing iron”. Like that’s not enough, he and his friends burst into laughter. (Well, it may not be the exact statement). But you do agree that at one point in time your child may have said something really nasty thinking he was just being funny and you wondered, ‘How do I make my kid understand that this is disrespectful?
Disrespect is the act of showing a lack of respect or courtesy for someone or something. It seems to be gaining a lot of popularity these days especially among kids and many parents simply cannot handle it not because they approve of it but because they do not even know how and where to start. In order to train kids to be respectful, parents have to examine themselves first.
Parenting isn’t a very easy thing to do and we all know that, but unknown to many, parents are the first ‘books’ that children will ever read. Kids aren’t just going to learn what you teach them—they are going to learn what they see you do first before they listen to what you have to say.
This means for example if your child constantly hears you yell or sees you act in a disrespectful manner (even if you teach otherwise) there is every tendency that the child in question will behave likewise. Therefore, parents need to set good examples for their children. In order to tackle the culture of disrespect, be sure that your child isn’t learning any bad stuff from you!
The next thing to consider as a parent is how much time you spend with your kids. Unfortunately, in this generation, many parents are out on jobs leaving their children at the mercy of the TV, nannies, social media, the internet… the list goes on and on. What this implies is this; your kids are going to learn more from other sources apart from you.
If your kids rarely see you, they’ll talk to and interact with those who are available and only heaven knows what they will pick up. The point I am trying to make is this: spend quality time with your kids. Get to know them and let them know you. When this happens you’ll find out that they’ll be open to you. They’ll tell you what they’ve learned, they’ll ask questions and then it will be easier to sort out issues (to an extent) before things get out of hand.
Let’s take a practical example. Dave is a five year old who barely sees his parents because they are always at work. They leave for work early and come back late when he is asleep. The only people he sees around are his school mates, the nanny and the people on the TV screen. The nanny on the other hand, has got some real issues when it comes to the use of language.
She’s always yelling at him using the F word. Now Dave constantly hears this. He notices that the maid uses the F word the most when she’s mad. What do you think will happen next? He’ll put together the action and the word. So when Dave is mad, the next thing he’ll say is the F word.
What’s worse is that nobody will be there to caution him because the parents are almost never around. So there’s hardly anything absentee parents can do in this case. But let’s see what happens in example two.
Sarah is a seven-year-old who is close to her mum because mum works from home. Sarah hears their neighbor’s kids saying nasty things most of the time. Because of the close relationship she has with her mum, she goes to mummy and downloads the gist. She’s like, ‘Mum, when me, Cynthia and Lucy were playing tag; Lucy yelled at her grandpa saying he was a big old cow. It was so funny and we laughed so hard.’
Sarah’s mum has gotten the message. Then she steps into the situation by getting Sarah to see the wrong in what her friend has done. Now her daughter has a new perspective on what’s right and what’s not. She’ll learn to be more respectful and even caution her friends when next shehears something like that.
So if we compare the two scenarios we find that parents play active roles in the lives of their kids. They need to search themselves deeply to be sure that they aren’t the root causes of the problem (either by setting bad examples or by being negligent). When this is done, half the problem is solved then the rest can be quickly resolved. This brings us to the question:
How do I handle disrespect with my child when I hear it?
This is a question parents generally would love to have an answer to. Many are so confused that they don’t know what to do. Well, it’s not a difficult thing as long as the first step is taken. Like I said before, make sure you as a parent aren’t the one at fault. If you are and you are a Christian, you need to, first of all, take it to God in prayer; begging him for mercy for the negative role you’ve played in the life of the child (or children as the case may be). If not, start with the next step.
Apologize to your children
Make them understand that you haven’t helped matters because you were either a bad example or negligent. Tell them you are going to make adjustments and please mean it! Apologizing to your kids isn’t anything to be ashamed of. You’re wrong! Admit it! Correct it! And watch your kids respect and learn from you.
Sit your child down and have a conversation
DO NOT YELL! Yelling doesn’t solve the problem; it worsens it. You don’t have to yell before you’ll be taken seriously. If you’ve brought up your kids properly and have spent time with them, they’ll know when you’re serious so be calm but firm. Let them see the look of seriousness on your face throughout the conversation.
The best way to start the conversation is to get their attention. You can start by asking, ‘What was it you said again?’ or ‘Concerning what you said… do you think that’s right?’ Once you start like that you get them involved hence a conversation. (You can start your conversation anyhow as long as you get them involved.
Do not just merely give your opinion—reason with them.
When they tell you their opinions, you can ask them what they understand by the term ‘disrespect’. They’ll give possible answers. Make them look it up in the dictionary and read it out loud. Then tell them to compare the definition with their action and wait for their reply.
Get them emotionally involved
Give practical examples using them as the victims. For instance, you might ask your kid, ‘Well, how would you feel if someone tells you that you look like a slimy maggot?’ By asking this question, you get your child emotionally involved. This causes them to think, become sober, and truly understand how hurtful words can be even when they may sound funny.
Then let them know that the same way they hurt is the same way anyone they hurt will feel—maybe even worse. Explain to them that people commit suicide because of hateful and hurtful words—even though they may be funny to the people to make such remarks. Ask them if they would like to be the reason people die and wait for their reply.
Again, if you’re aChristian, remind them that Christians are supposed to act differently. Teach them that they are supposed to be the light, not darkness (see Matt 5:14). Let them know that they are representatives of Christ on earth and shouldn’t partake in such rather; they should offer words of hope to those who are treated rudely.
Then lead them to the Lord in prayer. Ask them to apologize to God for their wrong doing and ask Him for the grace to always do right. This way, you’d have passed a very strong message to your kids and they will always have at the back of their minds. But don’t just stop there. Keep talking to them, keep reminding them and never stop praying for them.
There are cases where parents have tried as much as possible to talk to their kids but their words seem to fall on deaf ears. Like I’ve said before, check yourself first. Are you guilty of what you are preaching against? Are you an absentee parent? If no, take further steps. A cane should come in handy. The Bible in Proverbs 22: 15, 23:13&14 supports its usage. It doesn’t kill; it only corrects.
Do not flog for no reason; let it be that it is because the child has stubbornly refused to heed to instruction. Also don’t flog a child often or when you’re angry so you don’t cross the boundary. Calm down and take your time to explain to them that what you’re doing is for their good. Explain to them that you’ve been talking to them for a while and you haven’t noticed any changes so you’ve decided to opt for a new strategy called flogging. Calm them down, smile, and give warm hugs. After this, calmly but firmly give them three to five strokes on their butts. Butts is the best place to whoop children.
However, many parents do not subscribe to flogging as they feel it is abusive. It is not abusive when it is done the way it ought to but if you feel uncomfortable with it, you can try other methods such as time-outs, seizing beloved items, or whatever works for you as a parent. As they say, different strokes for different folks.
How do/ would you correct disrespectful kids as a parent? Would you opt for flogging? Share your thoughts.