How to deal with disrespectful kids?

As evident from the literal meaning, disrespect is showing or in practice a lack of respect especially by children for elders. The element of disrespect is growing increasingly common for children nowadays and is reinforced by the fact that most parents ignore or avoid scolding for the fear of losing respect at all. Most parents complain that their children often turn snobby or behave like brats. This concern often turns them to doctors but like all problems, there are plenty of ways whereby you can turn them into darling little behaving children. Disrespect in children can be attributed to a lot of reasons and this article aims at pointing them out for you.


First of all, we need to understand why the element of disrespect exists in children. For one thing, disrespect is a clear expression of frustration by the children towards you, and clearly shows that you are still in control as a parent. Children tend to be frustrated when they are in a mood to test your boundaries; they try to copy the activities and behavior, especially of their age mates. Moreover, this deviation in behavior resulting in disrespect can arise from not getting enough attention from parents / guardians which commonly results in backtalk and mumbled words. Finally, when a child sees a reaction to disrespect, sometimes in the form of laughter, sometimes scolding, etc. the action is reinforced. Where parents just fail to understand that this reaction is for the reason of seeking attention. Because lets face it, any act of disrespect does yield them attention. For this purpose, we need to understand that continuous reminders of polite nature aid in keeping the reins in your hand.

Coming to the element of curing this behavior is simple. While parents usually lose control as soon as they hear disrespectful backtalk and poor social attitude. I would suggest the first step in curing yourself. As a parent, you need to watch your tone and attitude. Don't stress it, consider them as part of natural development. You can always say, 'we don't talk like this on the table' or 'we always show respect no matter what'. Teach your child that goodness in oneself can beat everyone. After all, no one wants to talk to a disrespectful person. Here, the concept of reinforcement kicks in. As a parent, you need to reinforce positive behavior and use mild techniques of negative reinforcement for backtalk and poor social attitude. But be sure to avoid scolding children in public, as they may feel humiliated.

So did you find this post useful?
Are there any strategies you have used or found useful dealing with disrespectful kids? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

1 comment

  1. Nini White 11 April, 2015 at 19:59 Reply

    Thanks for this article. I definitely agree that disrespect is a clear expression of frustration. Children testing boundaries, copying peers’ behaviors, which is often a result of not receiving enough genuine attention and respect from parents, teachers, etc.

    I think the solution, though, may be as simple as giving exactly what we want to receive: Undivided attention. Non-judgmental responses. Listening, really listening, when they’re speaking, when they’re describing their feelings, their perceptions.

    If we can be the ‘safe’ place to express themselves, how will that define the relationship? If we interrupt, propose our own solutions, disregard their concerns … how will that define the relationship?

    We “grown-ups” need to bring Big Picture/Long Term attitudes into our ever-evolving relationships with the young ones in our lives. Easier ‘in theory’ than practice, but becomes easier with time.

    Thank you again.

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