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My boys, ages 6 and 7, are very disrespectful. They think they can have the last word and speak to us however they please. We are very consistant in addressing the issue as it occurs, but it seems that we aren't makin any progress. We talk to them about what is appropriate ways to speak to us, we've used time out, spankings, grounding, positive reinforcement when they do speak respectfully....Am I doing something wrong or is persistance the key?


Brenda Nixon, M.A. Replied: It can be discouraging when your children are disrespectful. But, I encourage you to set boundaries on how they talk to you. Just as you wouldn't allow a friend or your spouse to verbally abuse you, neither should you allow it from children. Remember, too, your importance as their role model. Speak respectfully to your children and others so your children will see how to talk to other people. Model polite words such as "thank you" and "please" throughout your day. Use a calm tone and don't yell as this teaches kids that screaming is appropriate communication. Persistance is the key to teaching children. They often need to hear -- or see -- something several times before the lesson is internalized.
Posted On 2008-07-30 15:47:09
Mark Borowski Replied: I give you credit for trying different approaches, and for giving positive reinforcement when they do speak respectfully. I've found with my own children that persistence is definitely the key. My wife and I may go weeks or longer with seemingly no progress but then some type of breakthrough, even if it is small. But then we are sure to give positive reinforcement. Without knowing some of the details, here are a few suggestions: 1)Ask them why they speak the way they do and who they learned it from. This may get you to the real issue or at least closer to it. 2)Describe how it makes you or others feel when they speak disrespectfully, ask if they understand, and then give a better way to speak (and the better feeling others have with this approach). 3)When it's time to discipline, make it swift and "painful" - ie respond very quickly and be sure the consequence is meaningful to them - taking away a favorite toy, activity, friend to play with, etc. Every kid has at least one thing that is very important to them. 4)Put them in your shoes. When they ask a question or say something to you, respond disrespectfully and then discuss how they felt when you did that, etc. and how a different approach is so much better. 5)You may also discuss the importance of relationships in life - not things - and how they interact with people affects their relationships with everyone. You could start out by asking who their favorite relative or friend is and why, then discuss whether that person would still be a favorite if that relative or friend were disrespectful to them all the time. I hope some of these ideas help! Mark
Posted On 2008-07-17 14:47:02
Maggie Macaulay Replied: Your dedication to teaching your boys respectful communication is terrific. It is common for children at their ages to be "fresh" or demanding. It is also a time when parents are searching for ways to teach their children to communicate respectfully. Here are some things that you can do: 1. Be very clear on what you want your boys to learn and detach from any meaning their disrespectful tone has for you. Imagine their "disrespectful behavior" contained in something separate from you. Then your clarity and detachment will help you respond rather than react if they speak disrespectfully. Most reactions are not respectful, so we actually teach children the opposite of what we want them to learn when we are reactive. 2. Refrain from spanking, grounding and time out. These forms of discipline create resistance rather than cooperation. The disrespectful behavior may increase. 3. Let them have the last word. Having the last word doesn't mean "they win" or "you loose." It means the end of a power struggle. Walk away. Maintain your limits and boundaries, and let them have the last word. 4. If they are disrespectful, model the respectful way to communicate using their words and without mocking them. They will hear the difference in the tone of voice. 5. Find ways for them to feel valuable and powerful. Let them lead. Give them choices. Ask for their opinions. Focus on encouraging your boys and know they will get this. Everyday find a way for them to feel valuable to you and to lead in your family. Everyday, find a way to detach so that you feel calmer.
Posted On 2008-07-15 08:24:40
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