Rita is a supermom managing work, home and raising a beautiful, well-behaved child – Myra. When Mrs. D’Souza called her one day to tell her how little Myra was disrespectful to her in class, Rita could not believe it. Myra had never been rude to anyone. What happened suddenly? What triggered this outburst?
Disrespectful and rude behaviour is a normal part of growing up. It is a rite of passage for both children and parents. Disrespectful behaviour that includes cursing, yelling, back answering, ignoring you etc. is a wake-up call to parents telling you that you need to be in control of the situation more and set better limits.
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In order to tackle rude behaviour, it is first important to understand what causes this kind of resentment in children. Children sometimes get angry and upset if they don’t have their way. Anger can impact their judgment. It is very difficult for an angry child to act respectfully.
Rude behaviour often comes from kids having poor problem-solving skills. Children often act mean because they are impulsive, they don’t know a better way to solve problems. As a parent, the instinctive response to rude behaviour is scolding or punishing children. Punishment can add to the anger and resentment in children. If scolded in public, it may also cause them embarrassment.
Let’s find out some ways to deal with rude and disrespectful behaviour in children:
Do not become angry
Disrespectful behaviour will trigger your own anger. Try to be patient with your child. Rude behaviour from adults can escalate matters just as well as rude kids can. Good discipline involves using reasoning and an environment of respect. Take a slow, deep, and mindful breath, clear your mind and focus on helping your child learn to deal with their anger first.
Acknowledge your child’s anger
Punishment does not teach your child how to control their anger, and it creates a rupture in your parent-child relationship. Instead, acknowledge your child’s feelings. You can try saying, “I understand you are furious because we did not let you go for a movie with your friends.” Help them find an alternative solution if the anger stems from an unmet need. Talk to your children more and learn to listen to their needs rather than rejecting them outright.
Understand the source of anger
Ask your child questions to understand the reason for her anger. When you ask questions, you teach your children to describe what they are experiencing so that they learn how to speak directly instead of using rude or snide comments to get their point across.
Explain how it makes you feel
Research shows that when parents talk about feelings, children become better able to imagine someone else’s perspective. Spell out for your child how his or her actions affect others around them. Empathy needs to be taught to kids. You could say, “When you yell, ‘I hate you’, I feel sad.” At times, you can also explain the reason for your decision and how it is in your child’s best interest. You could say, “The reason I am not letting you go to the park today is because you have a cold, and the weather is bad.”
Teach emotional regulation skills
We can’t undo a mean act, so it is better to move in a kinder direction. Helping a child learn self-control will prevent them from becoming an angry teenager later. Teach them to take deep breaths and count backwards from 10. Expose them to puzzles and games that need them to patiently arrive at a solution, thus learning to prioritize problem solving and not succumb to frustration.
There will be times when your kids are going to be angry with you, and you will have to set some boundaries that they don’t like. But that’s okay—that’s your job as a parent. Always remember, your goal is to help your children be able to function in the real world and go on to be responsible adults!
“Do not teach your children never to be angry; teach them how to be angry.”
– Lymann Abbott