Why Is My Child Rude and Disrespectful? 6 Ways to Handle a Rude Child

Medically Reviewed on 4/18/2022
Why Is My Child Rude and Disrespectful
Disrespectful behavior in children usually occurs because they haven’t yet learned how to solve problems or express frustration in mature, healthy ways

If you are struggling with a child who is rude and disrespectful, you are not alone. Disrespectful behavior in children usually occurs because they haven’t yet learned how to solve problems or express frustration in mature, healthy ways.

In most cases, this rude behavior is temporary. While it can test your patience, there are ways you as a parent can deal with this phase of your child’s development.

6 ways to handle a disrespectful child

1. Try to understand the underlying cause of the behavior

Step into your child’s shoes and try to get to the bottom of why they are behaving a certain way. It could be that they are upset by something that happened at school that day, or it could be simply because they are seeking your attention. Understanding the root cause of their behavior can help you address it more effectively.

2. Make it clear that their behavior is not acceptable

If your child is being rude or disrespectful, do not ignore it. Be clear and firm in making it clear to them that certain behaviors will not be tolerated. For example, if you are speaking to your neighbor and your child keeps interrupting your conversation, tell them to give you some time and that you will be available once you finish your conversation. This helps them understand that interrupting conversations is rude, and that instead of ignoring them you are simply asking them to wait until you can address their needs.

3. Explain the consequences to your child

If your child continues to be rude and disrespectful even after you calmly set expectations for what they should and should not do, explain the consequences that will occur if they do not adjust their behavior.

4. Be consistent and follow through

Always be consistent in following through with enforcing both rules and consequences for misbehavior. If you only punish them sometimes for the same disrespectful behavior, your child will quickly learn that they can get away with certain actions and may not take your warnings seriously. However, avoid being too harsh or aggressive with your child when they misbehave.

5. Avoid the power struggle

Your job as a parent is to teach your child proper way of behaving and helping them grow into a respectful adult. Avoid allowing your child to engage you in a power struggle. Stay calm, avoid overreacting, and set clear limits about what will and will not be tolerated.

6. Model good behavior

Your child will imitate you, whether you are aware of it or not. So it is important to model the respectful behavior and problem-solving skills you would like your child to develop. Set a good example for your child by treating others with respect. Your child will take cues from your behavior and learn how to interact with the world the way you do.

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Medically Reviewed on 4/18/2022
Image Source: iStock Images

Hardie-Williams K. How to Deal with Disrespectful Children and Adolescents. Good Therapy. https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/how-to-deal-with-disrespectful-children-adolescents-0815165