Disrespect is a common problem between kids and their parents today.
It’s hard to deal with someone who refuses to consider other people’s opinions, who interrupts when someone else is talking, or who never apologizes for their own mistakes.
Sounds like I’m talking about teenagers, doesn’t it? Well, I’m actually referring to the way some parents behave.
Spewing anger or yelling careless words to control a child will get compliance – at least for that moment. But does it really make sense for parents to demand respect by acting disrespectfully themselves?
Disrespect attacks a child’s self-worth. Parents who scream, belittle, interrupt, and endlessly lecture their children erode the relationship itself. And without that connection, parents face a never-ending battle of wills. As Josh McDowell says, “Rules without relationship equals rebellion.” Over the long run, disrespect from a parent will lead to less compliance from a child, not more.
And let’s not forget that we have to be the adult in the room. That means we’re handling ourselves appropriately even when our child may not be. They’ll learn how to be respectful to us when we model respect for them.
Did you notice the order there?
We’re not supposed to wait for our kids to make the first move toward treating the relationship with respect. That’s our responsibility.
Taking the lead with a disrespectful teenager by showing them respect first may sound counterintuitive, but I think you’ll be intrigued by some of the insights our guests shared today on our broadcast titled “Parenting Your Tweens and Teens with Respect.”
I talked with Nina Roesner and Debbie Hitchcock about ideas from their book With All Due Respect. They’ll explain why disrespectful teens can give you an opportunity to teach them how to handle conflict respectfully.