Discover If Your Child Has An Underlying Reason For Their Disrespect

When our babies are little, crawling around and making adorable babbles while staring up with their big eyes, we think they are incapable of doing anything wrong.

Then they learn to talk, and somewhere along the lines they manage to string together words that make your blood boil.

Do our children love to see the array of reactions being disrespectful brings, or is there something else going on beneath the surface?

First things first, all kids act out occasionally, all kids will say something they shouldn’t, and all kids deserve to be loved unconditionally.

With that being said, it doesn’t minimize how difficult it is to hear your 6 year-old talk back to you every chance they get, or being called “stupid” in the grocery store for not buying them a pack of gum.

When we see these behaviors in our children, or in someone else’s child at a play date, it’s easy to jump straight to the “how dare they” phase, or the “that kid’s a brat” phase.

I mean, how can you not take it personally when you are being called names, and your sweet baby boy who you raised to be a gentleman is being openly defiant?

Well, despite how it feels, most disrespect from children is not because they are bad kids who have chosen a wayward life.

There is more going on than meets the eye. Just as a baby doesn’t throw their spaghetti on the floor because they are trying to tell you they don’t like your cooking, a child does not rebel because they want to just hurt your feelings.

Now, what if your child has Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), or one of the other acronyms placed on kids having trouble?

The answer is still the same!

Parents have a tendency to want to blame a diagnosis for a problem, but the fact is that a diagnosis just shows areas of increased struggles for children; it isn’t an answer to a problem.

All disrespect from a child is trying to communicate something to the caregiver, but we will never be able to hear it if we can’t get past the initial sting of disrespect.

When Dayna from Lemon Lime Adventures hears her children being disrespectful she thinks:

My child is trying to tell me something, and they can’t get through this situation with the skills, knowledge, and emotional regulation that they currently have.”

So it is our job as parents to guide them through this tough time, to get to the bottom of why they are acting out, and to provide solutions for success the next time they are confronted with the issue.

Dayna continued:

Because when I approach their behavior as communication, or that they are struggling with something, it takes out all the emotion, all of the blame, all the ugly thoughts that come into our head when we think our kids are doing it to us.”

We want to assume the best with our children, that means not going straight to thinking there is malicious intent in their actions.

I know what you are thinking after reading all of this so far, “I can’t just let my kid be disrespectful to me!”

You are correct. Knowing why a child behaves the way they do is no excuse to allow them to continue a negative behavior.

However, getting to the cause will help prevent future issues. The present issue still needs to be addressed, and boundaries set.

Trying to go to basketball practice you tell your son to get into the car. He refuses, folds his arms, and sits on the ground saying, “I’m not going to listen to you.”

Instead of demanding they listen first, try sitting on the ground with them and ask why they don’t want to go to practice.

You may just get a defiant, “because I don’t want to” at first, but maybe you know that he hasn’t been getting passed the ball during practice, or that he is being picked on by another team member.

Ask about those situations and how he feels about them. Chances are you will find that those situations affect him a great deal.

Encourage him to participate anyway, to try and stand next to a different player, and to ask the coach to work on passes with him.

At the end of discovering the underlying issue, you can then bring up how the way he handled the situation wasn’t respectful or helpful to his real problem.

Suggest he tell you what he is thinking about practice, and if he doesn’t know (because a lot of kids don’t realize why they are upset) tell him just to say that he is feeling upset.

If behavior and disrespect disrupts daily life and begins to be harmful to the child then additional professional help may be required.

Ask your pediatrician if you are having concerns and see if they think you should be referred to a specialist.

Not being able to communicate feelings appropriately is frustrating for you and your child.

Take a collaborative approach to reaching a solution, and then set firm boundaries with examples on how you expect the family to talk to each other.

Addressing disrespect can be disheartening, but stay strong momma and keep on loving your child through this difficult time.

Lease let us know in the comments section if you have had any success in combating disrespect in the home.