How to Deal with Disrespectful Children


Authored by Jenny Mango in Parenting 
Published on 02-14-2009

If you have children or you deal with children as a teacher or caregiver, you’re sure to have come across a child that is disrespectful. This can be very frustrating for caregivers, because this disrespect can cause the child to disobey you and may even lead to injuries and accidents. How you deal with disrespectful children is important. If you are too tough on them, their disrespect may continue and you may have a tough time getting them to obey you or listen to you. If you are not tough enough, they will take advantage of your kindness and may not obey you when you are giving instructions. Finding a happy medium is the best way to deal with disrespectful children.

Avoid Arguing

When you’re learning how to deal with disrespectful children, you’ll find that arguing with a child is the fastest way to get frustrated and it is also ineffective. When you’re dealing with disrespectful children, it is important to talk and give instructions in a calm voice. Yelling or talking in an upset tone of voice will only encourage them to argue with you and it will not make them obey you.

Use Reflection

Sometimes children become disrespectful because they feel frustrated or they don’t feel well. Instead of getting in a battle with the child, you can learn how to deal with disrespectful children while using reflection. Reflection is when you reflect the child’s feelings and acknowledge them. For example, if a child is being disrespectful because you asked them to leave their toys and come to the dinner table, you could reflect that they are disappointed that play time is over and let them know that you know it’s hard for them to leave their toys behind.

Use Positive Communication

Instead of telling a child no, which can lead to tantrums and arguments, try rephrasing your words in a positive way. If your child asks if she can have a piece of candy, don’t say no outright. Tell them that they can have a piece of candy after they have eaten all of their vegetables at dinner. This will let them know that they cannot have a piece of candy immediately, but can look forward to having it after dinner. Positive communication is another technique you will learn when you are trying to learn how to deal with disrespectful children.

Give Time-Outs

When you’re learning how to deal with disrespectful children, you’ll find that not all of these techniques work on all occasions. It may be necessary to give the child a time-out so that they can reflect on their behavior and calm down. Time-outs should be given in a quiet room that does not have any toys or video games available. If a child is allowed to play during a time-out, the impact of the punishment will be lessened. Set a timer so that the child knows when the time-out will be up. Then leave the child alone until the time-out is over.


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