This is a challenge that every parent faces at some point in the raising of a child. Many parents feel it most strongly during the teenage years because kids are starting to try to figure out how to separate themselves from their parents and some of their techniques are less than friendly to parents. But this can happen at any age once a child begins to talk and understand how their behavior impacts others.There are several things to consider:
One is the means by which your children show or display respect: It may be that they don’t show respect in the very same way that you show respect to others. If this is the case, you may already have their respect and not even know it. If it is the way in which they show respect that throws you off, your mission is quite easy. You can talk to them about how you perceive their behavior as disrespectful and talk to them about how the two of you can work together so that you are feeling the respect. This might sound odd, but your child simply may not understand how you expect them to show their respect.
For example, if you expect that your child will immediately pop up out of their seat to help you when you call their name – and yet when you call their name, they don’t, you may want to explain to them that this behavior seems disrespectful to you. A short discussion about your expectations may go a long way towards you seeing the respect.
Your discussion may include both sides of the story – yours with regards to your expectations – and theirs with regards to what they think about your expectations. For example, your child may need a moment to finish something when you call (and they think that you wanting them to immediately pop up is unreasonable in every case) and so they think they will not be able to always come running immediately when you call. If this is the case, you could compromise with them by having them confirm that they’ve heard your request and by requesting that they simply you how long it will be before they’ll come to help you.
I know that when I call my kids to come help, some come more quickly than others. And the ones who come more quickly end up having to do more of the work. So I am not good about providing incentives to them to come quickly. I should occasionally give the first one to come, the time off. Simply let them go and rest while the latecomers do the work. I bet if I changed my behavior with regards to this, their response would change too.
If you’re certain that your child truly doesn’t respect you, then next you should ask yourself whom you respect and how you show that respect to others. It may be that your kids don’t see you at times that you are being respectful (that doesn’t mean that you’re not respectful, but that the situations that provide opportunities for you to role model, have not been frequent enough). These opportunities may be present at work or in a volunteer position at times when you’re kids just don’t see you and how respectful that you can be.
If you’re in a relationship (have a husband, wife or significant other) it is critical that you model respect toward each other. If mom doesn’t respect dad (even in subtle ways like talking badly about him when he’s not around), or dad doesn’t respect mom, it will be very difficult to teach your child to respect you (difficult but not impossible). What he may have been taught without you knowing it, is that teasing, ignoring, or badmouthing are perfectly acceptable ways of treating other people.
At times when you see your child being disrespectful to there other parent, you should immediately support the other parent and tell your child that disrespectful behavior is not acceptable in your home — even if the disrespect is towards an ex-spouse. If they reply with “well, you do it.” Then it’s the perfect time for a family talk and some honesty with regards to everyone working on positive change.
Family talks are great because they are a way for each person to express their own individual opinion about the way things are going and they can be very enlightening.