6 Easy Ways To Respond When Your Child Is Disrespectful

This post may contain affiliate links. Full privacy policy and disclosure here.

Is your child being disrespectful? Here are 6 ways you can respond to your child’s behavior in an effective way – according to positive parenting experts!

As a parent, you try your best to instil in your children the values of love and kindness. They are, for the most part very polite to strangers and extended family members…but…when they’re with you, they roll their eyes, stick out their tongues, and talk back.

All of these are little yet vexing indications of disrespect.

It is quite upsetting to us when our children are cruel and disrespectful and engage in a power struggle with us.

Not fixing disrespectful children behavior could result in their becoming an unpleasant and rude adults.

Is it feasible to stop the rude behavior and get your disrespectful kid to respect you once in a while? Absolutely! Is it simple? Absolutely not, sorry.

Here are 6 ways you can respond to your rude child’s temper tantrums with effective consequences and turning that negative behavior around – according to experts.

Understanding the Disrespect

According to Hand in Hand Parenting, when a child disrespects you, you should take it as a compliment!

This means that you child feels like they are in a safe space, and feel comfortable enough to share all of their feelings with you.

Your child can be well behaved at school and break down as soon as they get home because they don’t feel comfortable expressing their real emotions around strangers.

Disrespectful behavior in young children can occur for a variety of reasons. It’s frequently a good idea to understand where the behavior is coming from before attempting to fix it.

Perhaps your child had a rough day in school and didn’t know the answer when the teacher called on him. Maybe your daughter had a friend that said something mean to her today. Kids brains are busy processing all of their emotions from their day, and yes it sucks taking the brunt of them.

Unfortunately that’s a negative consequence of parenting that we have to endure. Instead of dishing out verbal abuse on your child’s moods, you can use positive and consistent discipline to solve these problem behaviors.

So how do you stop the disrespect and improve your child’s behavior?

How To Respond To Disrespect From Children

As parents, we must educate our children on how to treat people with respect and how to express strong emotions without being rude.

We can’t educate kids to be courteous in the heat of the moment, unfortunately.

I know you want to deal with it right now.

When your kid becomes angry, not content, irritated or disturbed, the reasoning part of their brain shuts down. They are in a state of survival. Their bodies are overwhelmed with stress hormones, making it difficult for them to hear and comprehend the teachings you are attempting to teach.

I also know how much you despise being insulted.

The objective is to confront the problematic behavior without threatening, bribing, or reacting disrespectfully. If your child is showing physical aggression, make sure they are in a secure place and that others, particularly other children, are kept at a safe distance.

Maintain Your Calm

Megan Devine, LCPC over at Empowering Parents says that it’s important not to over react when your child is showing you disrespectful behaviour. Many teens will push buttons and express frustrations at mom and dad along with eye rolling and scoffing.

When it comes to teaching respect, using disrespectful responses seldom succeeds. Unpleasant adults, like rude children, have the ability to aggravate situations.

Yes, these rude kids can get under your skin, but it’s important to respond effectively.

Honestly, if your child is doing what is asked of them, while mumbling snide comments or something under her breath and stomping off, leave it alone.

This is normal behavior for a child who is experiencing intense emotions. A defiant child will not do what is asked even of the best-intentioned parent and will continue bad behavior even when big emotions aren’t present.

Decipher Behavior

Daniel Wong is a big believer in thinking about the emotional needs that are underlying in the behavior of the disrespectful child.

When kids are disrespectful to their parents they often have an unmet emotional need, which can sometimes be connection.

Remind your child that you are there if she wants to talk to you about anything, and that you love her unconditionally.

Kids often feel powerless, and giving attitude and disrespect can give them a sense of power.

Consider things from your children’s point of view. Were they taken aback? Is your question inconvenient? Do they feel helpless? Their reaction reflects how they are feeling on the inside. Unfortunately, they are unable to place it in a more appropriate wand at this time.

Understanding the emotional demands underpinning your teenager’s behaviour will help you empathise with him, even if it does not completely cure the situation.

Parenting for brain states learning communication skills can help children improve their emotional management. They will also learn how to express themselves and be heard in a socially acceptable manner.

There are a variety of different explanations for a child’s rage. They may be avoiding difficult emotions like feelings of failure, low self-esteem, loneliness, or worry by resorting to rage. Only by asking can you find out.

Help them find an alternative solution if the anger stems from an unmet need.

Model The Behavior You Want To See

Dr. Laura Markham talks about modeling the behavior you want to see in your child.

Your objective is to re-establish your family’s respect standard in a calm manner be being a good role model. You may accomplish this by demonstrating respect and establishing clear communication expectations in your family, as well as inviting constructive discussion to solve your child’s anger.

Even when they insult you, when you communicate with your child Bite your tongue if you feel yourself criticizing or ranting in general. Don’t be hesitant to set boundaries, but do so only after you’ve practised speaking quietly and properly. Don’t worry, your child will remember how they humiliated you.

Refuse to Engage in Argument

Stephanie over at Parenting Chaos recommends that you refuse to engage in an argument with your child when they are showing you disrespectful behavior.

Your child will most likely yell, act out, be nasty, and hurl all they know at you in order to see whether you would return to the dispute.

The longer you have previously engaged in rude child conduct, the longer this will endure. Remember that your child does not want to quarrel with you when they are doing this. The majority of the time, this conduct is not done intentionally start a fight.

Disrespectful behaviour in children is a cry for aid and an attempt to get your attention. Your youngster will recognise they are out of line as soon as they notice you are not participating in the fight. This is not accomplished by neglecting your child.

This is accomplished by being calm. Your child will have reached a tipping point when they know that their actions will not elicit a response from you. It’s time to start teaching about the negative consequences this kind of behavior can have in the real world.

Discuss the ramifications of being disrespectful. “Do you suppose you roll your eyes when your friend says something you don’t like?”

Participate in a conversation on how other people feel when they see impolite behaviour. Explain how disrespectful behaviour has natural consequences, such as “Disrespectful kids have a hard time establishing friends.”


When your child is misbehaving, giving your child positive attention is the last thing on your mind. However, for many children, the connection is just what they require! Amy McGrady over at Positive Parenting Solutions talks about filling a child’s attention basket to keep your child from seeking additional attention.

You will be able to notice that your child is hurting and in need of help if you can see past the behavior and disregard all of the huge sentiments and overpowering emotions. 

Spend some quality time or give frequent hugs to create those connections. Find your children’s love language and speak it to them.

When you positively and proactively fill your children’s attention baskets, they will become more cooperative and less prone to seek attention in bad ways.

Everyone’s life is hectic, and finding additional time in the day may seem impossible at first, but consider it an investment in your connection with your children and in improving their conduct. 

When/Then Statements

Verywell Family states that When/Then statements are an effective strategy for dealing with rude behavior.

Tell your youngsters how they can earn a privilege instead of telling them something they can’t. When you use “when/then” sentences, you’re framing requests in a favourable light. Use these statements to explain what will happen if your kid decides to improve their behaviour. “If you wait your turn while I’m on the phone, I’ll have time to answer you,” say.

“You can play outdoors as soon as you complete tidying up your toys,” rather than “If you don’t pick up right now, you won’t be allowed to play outside,” state. Then walk away and let your child decide how to respond.

You might also say things like, “I’ll answer you when you lower your voice and talk gently,” or “I’ll play with you when you stop being bossy.” Teach your child that being kind and nice has a beneficial impact.

This provides a chance for your child to alter their behavior. Just make sure you’re ready to deal with the fallout if something goes wrong. Avoid reiterating your cautionary statements. You’ll be teaching your child not to listen if you don’t.

Do Not hit Your child

When it comes to understanding how to discipline your child, providing them with the tools they need to avoid bad conduct in the first place may make a big difference.

Discipline is the same as teaching. To achieve this, it is not required nor effective to chastise a youngster.

Punishment does not teach your kid how to regulate his or her anger, and it damages your parent-child relationship. It will simply exacerbate the situation.

Physical punishment, like as spanking, has been shown to be particularly damaging to a child’s development. Spanking has been associated to 13 negative consequences, including aggressiveness, mental health issues, reduced cognitive capacity, and substance misuse, in addition to being unsuccessful in improving a child’s behavior.

A common mistake new parents make is to go straight to physical punishment in difficult situations, however we now know that this kind of authoritarian discipline hinders a child’s development.

Teach At A Better Moment

When everyone has calmed down, you may discuss what occurred and how to do things better the next time.

Waiting or postponing your reaction does not imply that you are a passive parent or that you approve of disrespect.

It implies you’re waiting for your brain and your children’s brain to settle down.

When you’re ready to speak, you might begin by saying, “It appears that you were angry about leaving the playdate earlier.” Can we come up with another method to tell me how you feel?”

You can even respond to some of the comments, such as, “I heard you say something about snacks in your lunch.” Is this something you want to discuss right now?”

You, too, have emotions! It is OK to communicate your feelings and to let your kid know how their comments impact you. Keep the focus on how it felt to you rather than pointing the finger back at your child. “I was offended when you stated I was the meanest mother ever.”

It’s okay to acknowledge that you’ve lost your cool and said venomous remarks in the heat of the moment. You are not perfect, and it is beneficial for your children to know that you are working on soothing abilities as well. Work on apologizing and moving on from this learning situation.

Raising Respectful Kids

As children grow and their brains develop, it is the job of parents to teach them appropriate ways to speak, act, and behave in order to satisfy their requirements that do not involve the strategies that worked for them as babies.

We establish essential values like compassion, thoughtfulness, honesty, empathy, and appreciation when we educate and model respectful behavior.

While you may have a strong foundation in manners and behavior when you first start out, it’s easy for kids to get off course when they’re in a crowd. Fortunately, with a little help from Mom and Dad, getting back on track is just as simple.

Free Resource For You

I’ve created a free pdf just for you! If you are struggling with gentle parenting with your kids this PDF will help you find one that will work for your family.

This free pdf can show you:

  • The pillars of gentle parenting
  • Example conversations you can have with kids
  • Example consequences you can use
  • Family activity ideas for connection

Click here to sign up for your gentle parenting guide.


You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.