The brain of the child in its first years of life is very different from that of the adult and is governed especially by emotions. Being purely emotional, it is normal for children to get angry, frustrated , yell or throw tantrums. But although we usually use these terms, it is important to keep in mind that at no time do they do it to “fight us”, “challenge us” or “disrupt us”, but rather that it is part of their healthy development.
In this emotional outburst, some children injure themselves, attack others or even disrespect their parents , with bad answers, insults, shouts, kicks, slaps…. At this time it is important that we stop them and teach them with calm, love and empathy, because a respectful education will be key to instilling in our children the importance and value of respecting oneself and others. Check out more interesting articles on our Blog Fam.
If your child disrespects you, we give you some tips to treat the moment in a positive way and educate respect, tolerance and empathy.
When we feel that our child is challenging, threatening or disrespectful to us, our most primitive brain tends to react by fighting , that is, entering with the child into a power war in which we seek to impose our superiority (through shouting, punishment, threats…) so that it ends up doing what we want it to do.
But by acting like this we will not be setting a good example for our son ( how are we going to pretend that our son does not disrespect us if we disrespect him? ), nor of course we will be educating him with love and respect. Therefore, it is essential to stop for a few minutes to avoid acting “hot” and say or do something that we later regret. So, the first piece of advice would be to take a step back, breathe and calm down.
Analyze what may be underneath that behavior
Do not just stay with the behavior you have seen and think: what could have caused it?
- Is it possible that it is due to a feeling of ‘disconnection’ ? (too many times, the wrong behavior of the child is a desperate call for attention for not feeling heard or taken into account by the adult)
- Are we setting a good example with our education?
- Have you had a bad day at school?
- Has something happened or is happening in your life that may be affecting you? ( the pandemic, the death of a loved one, problems with classmates or teachers, academic stress, bullying, change of school or cycle, birth of a sibling…)
Obviously, knowing the cause of their behavior does not justify the child disrespecting other people, but it will help us to better understand our child in order to face the situation together.
Help the child to express what he feels
From calm and respect, give your child the emotional support he needs . This is not the time to judge or criticize his behavior, nor to lecture. Simply connect with him and his emotions, helping him express what he feels and putting words to those feelings of rage, anger, anger or sadness that are likely to invade him.
There should be no lack of physical contact (caresses, hugs, a hand on the shoulder…), active listening without interruptions and eye contact (kneel at his height and look him in the eye when he speaks to you).
It is also very useful to ask the child questions of curiosity about what has led him to act like this, how he felt at the time, how he feels now… But remember that the questions should be aimed at helping him “take out” what he feels and thus achieve a greater connection ( I ask you because I am interested in how you feel and I want to try to help you ), but not to judge or reproach what he tells you.
Then, help him return to a state of calm with the emotional management tools that work best for you ( positive time-out, calm jar, deep breathing, turtle technique …)
Express how you feel too
The child must also be aware of how you feel after what happened , because if we ignore or do not give importance to the feelings that his lack of respect has caused us, we will not be respecting ourselves and it will be difficult for us to educate him to respect others. the rest.
Explain that disrespect or insults hurt you , and that arguments make you very sad. Do it from a constructive level, that is, without holding your child responsible or blaming your state of mind. You can also do an empathy exercise with him and ask him how he would feel if someone humiliated or disrespected him . In this way it will be easier for you to understand what certain actions can cause in other people.
Find a solution together
Before working on finding a solution, it is necessary for the child to understand that what he has done or said implies breaking a limit that has harmed other people, and that should never be tolerated. Remind him that it is perfectly legal to feel bad, get angry or have differences with others , but it is absolutely not legal to disrespect or hurt those around him.
So, help him find respectful alternatives that help him manage his behavior and avoid exploding in similar situations that may arise in the future (for example, relaxation techniques , breathing, identifying when he is getting nervous and asking for the help of an adult to calm down…)
Focus on helping your child find a solution to the problem and remember that “what’s bygone is bygone.” That is, we are going to focus on improving for the future and not go over and over what has already happened.
Neither should the child be forced to apologize, hug or kiss against their will, but rather make them aware of the importance of assuming the consequences of their actions, learning from their mistakes and focusing on improving in the future.
Similarly, if we consider that we have had some responsibility for what happened (for example, we were not listening to our son while he was telling us something important and that has made him explode), we must assume it, apologize and become aware . This exercise is essential when educating by example.
Children need us to educate them with love and respect, giving them a good example at all times and accompanying them and supporting them emotionally. When these foundations are solid, it is only a matter of time and maturity that they learn to correctly manage their emotions.