How Do You Handle a Disrespectful Child?

How do you handle a disrespectful child? I’ve been asked that many times. And this is something we are dealing with in the Dungy house right now. One of our 11-year-olds is a great kid. He’s smart, outgoing, and tends to be the most compassionate person in our family. But he also has periods when he doesn’t quite get it. He loves us and understands we are the parents, but he has moments when he snaps back at us.

Perhaps you are dealing with the same thing in your house. Maybe you’re wondering how to handle it. What are the best ways to confront kids’ behavior and train them going forward? Here’s how to handle a disrespectful child.

Have patience.

I always have to remind myself to be patient. Kids have a hard time controlling their impulses. For me, praying helps my patience. Sometimes I’ll pray with my kids when they’re disrespectful. It has a calming effect for everyone.

There may be ups and downs to raising kids, but be consistent, and over time, you should see results.

Tell them the correct way.

I’ll tell my kids that this is not the way to speak to your parents. We need to think about how God would want us to talk to one another. It’s not only about them, though. We need to think through how we are communicating. Perhaps we are doing and saying things that stir their anger. Responding to your kids gracefully in the moment may be difficult. That’s why we need to be prepared for it and own it when we miss the mark.

Take away privileges.

Sometimes, talking about it isn’t enough. Taking away something important to a disrespectful child will help him or her remember how to behave respectfully. If your kids love video games, explain to them that this type of behavior will lead to them losing video games for a week. If they love being outdoors or playing sports, then they’ll lose those privileges. It won’t change the behavior right then, but when they feel the loss, it will sink in. When they want to do the thing they lost, remind them why they lost it. Say, “Remember, you lost that because you were disrespectful to your mom.” Then they have a chance to think about it.

It’s a long process, and it takes time. There may be ups and downs to raising kids, but be consistent, and over time, you should see results.

Sound off: How do you handle a disrespectful child?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What’s the best way to talk to one another, even when we’re frustrated?”