Respect vs. Disrespect- How to Curb it.

Back when I was teaching I had a parent ask me about her son Josh’s lack of motivation and failure to follow directions, she told Josh to put on his coat.

“I don’t have to. It’s not cold,” he snapped.

“I mean it, young man. You listen to me!”

“Oh, all right, but you don’t have to be a jerk!”

“Don’t you talk to me like that. You show a little respect, young man!”

Turning to me, Mom asked, “What do I do with this kid, He’s so disrespectful”

A wise observer would probably think, Motivation is the least of this family’s problems. Here is a mother and child who appear to have very little respect for each other. That problem needs to be cured before anything else.”   

I suggested that I had learned to deal with back talk by refusing to react. If Every time her son said something nasty she could say, “Bad choice I’ll have to do something about that after I cool down.

After cooling down, wait for him to ask for something. When he does that you could try saying, “I’m happy to do the things you want when I feel respected,” (That works when they are old enough) if they are young you can say: “That behavior will not get you what you want” Then be sure they don’t get it!     

Recently I was doing some parent coaching, and after much discussion, the mom came to realize that by screaming, she was teaching the very thing she hated; disrespect.

Children will learn from you. Simply put, if children are around respectful adults, they’re more likely to show respect, however, when they’re around disrespectful adults, they’re more likely to show disrespectful behavior. Yelling, cursing, grabbing, shouting over, and sarcasm are transferable!  Family Fun Magazine writer, Faull, wrote “Young ones will eventually express themselves as you do, but realize it takes years of effective teaching to refine those skills”.  Therefore we must be mindful of what and how we are teaching our children. It can also take years to un-do the same skills.

10 Parenting Tips for Teaching Respect and Curbing Disrespect:

(1) Model it: If you want them to do it, you must do it too.

(2) Expect it: When your expectations are reasonably high, children rise to the occasion.

(3) Teach it: Give children the tools they need to show you respect. (Ask me how)

(4) Praise it: When you see or hear your children using respectful language and making good choices, praise them for making positive, respectful decisions.

(5) Discuss it: Pick out times when you see other children using respectful or disrespectful language or behavior and discuss with it your children.

(6) Correct it: Be strong, firm and direct when teaching respect. At the same time, be sure you are being respectful yourself while correcting the behavior.

(7) Acknowledge it: Don’t just let things slide! Be sure to notice when respectful behavior is being exhibited and make sure to call them on disrespectful behavior!

(8) Understand it: Your children are growing and learning. Sometimes word choice and behavioral decisions are made because they do not have the correct words or behavior to relay “I’m tired,” “I’m frustrated,” or “I’m angry.” Many times children with learning or social disorders do not have the ability to properly express themselves. Recognize if it is a trigger.

(9) Reinforce it: Remind children of their good decisions so that they remember how it felt, the praise they received, and the overall experience of being respectful.

(10) Reward it: Respectful behavior should be something that children want to do without overindulgent rewards. However, it is good to associate respectful behavior with intangible rewards such as praise, recognition, extra responsibility, and privileges.


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2 Responses to Respect vs. Disrespect- How to Curb it.

  1. Dr. Roth says:

    Great article. Very few children “intend” to act in a disrespectful way. Often these problems are related to some skills deficits. Dr. Ross Green talks about this often in his book “The Explosive Child.” The collaborative problem solving method that he describes includes both the modeling of appropriate problem-solving and skill building. Its a great resource.


    Paula Tobey Reply:

    Thank you for your response Dr. Roth, you are right! I have that book it is GREAT and his methods really work! In my free e-course I use that book as a model to transform rebellion into cooperation.


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