A disrespectful child can be hard to deal with, and raising kids to show respect is even harder when you don’t realize it’s happening right away. The sooner you can handle the behavior, the better you can correct it. Recognizing the behaviors helps you start the process and determine what to do next.
Before you become a parent, you don’t envision raising a child who behaves disrespectfully. Unfortunately, it can happen anyway, and it’s up to you to address. Raising kids is hard, and you shouldn’t beat yourself up if you find yourself in this situation.
You might wonder if your child’s behavior stems from something else. However, acknowledge that the underlying issue is disrespect. If your child exhibits any of these behaviors, it’s a sure sign that you must make a change to help a disrespectful child.
The Difference Between Normal Rebellion and Raising Kids Who Show Respect
Children go through rebellious stages, and it doesn’t always mean they’re disrespectful. There is a difference between this normal part of life and crossing the line to unacceptable behavior.
The best way to tell the difference is by asking yourself if your child is expressing frustration or being hurtful. If they are only complaining about life’s challenges, it’s likely just rebellion. However, it has crossed over if they are saying condescending things or being abusive.
Another way to think of this is to consider how your child behaves when they get scolded. If your child rolls their eyes or stomps up the stairs, it’s rebellion. When it turns into name-calling, it’s disrespect, and it’s up to the adult in this situation to draw the line.
Twelve Behaviors of a Disrespectful Child
Many behaviors reveal a disrespectful child, and knowing the signs is the first step. Recognizing and addressing the issues is key to raising kids who behave positively.
1. A Disrespectful Child Won’t Follow the Rules
All kids break the rules sometimes but making it a habit indicates disrespect. A disrespectful child might act like the rules don’t apply to them, even with reminders.
Most kids understand that the rules are in place to avoid potential consequences. Disrespectful kids either don’t care or think that someone else will fix the problem and shield them from the fall out.
2. They Won’t Do Chores
Kids have plenty of time to help out around the house, and it’s a sign of disrespect if they refuse. When you ask them to pick up their room, they should at least attempt. If your child refuses to do chores when you ask, it likely stems from a place of entitlement.
Kids can do chores from a young age, and it’s up to the caregiver to implement good habits. No matter how old your child is, teach them to clean up after themselves. Even toddlers can learn about picking up toys and putting them away.
3. They Talk to You Like You’re a Peer
If your child talks to you like they would talk to a peer, it’s not a good sign. You might think it shows a level of comfort, but it indicates a lack of respect. They might speak dismissively or assume they hold the same power in the family as you do.
4. They Lash Out When You Say “No”
Kids don’t like to be told no, but it must happen sometimes. If your child lashes out when they don’t get their way, it’s a sure sign of disrespect. It shows a lack of coping skills and signifies an entitled child.
Disrespectful kids might react in a mean way or be overly dramatic. Don’t be afraid to put your foot down, and trust that your child will get used to it. They might not handle it well at first, but the more they hear it, the easier it’ll get.
5. A Disrespectful Child Will Often Lack Empathy
It’s a sign of disrespect when a child doesn’t show empathy. They might refuse to make a craft for someone who isn’t feeling well. Or, they might not seem to care about bad things that happen to those around them.
Even small children can display empathy. Watch for a lack of empathy if you think you have a disrespectful child on your hands.
6. They Don’t Use Their Manners
Parents teach their kids to use manners from an early age. It indicates disrespect if you have a child who won’t say please or thank you even when prompted. It shows that they feel entitled to the things people do for them or give them.
7. They Say Rude Things Without Caring About the Result
Kids tend to say the wrong thing, but it doesn’t mean they’re disrespectful. Usually, the child will feel bad afterward or won’t realize they said anything wrong. However, if your child often says rude things and doesn’t care, it’s a sign they’re disrespectful.
Once your child becomes school-aged, this sign is even more prevalent. A disrespectful child might seem unable to identify the time and place to say something or ask a question.
One example of this situation is when a child continually interrupts their parent and demands their attention. Then, when the parent turns to the child, it turns out that what the child had to say could have waited. Another example is when your child shows open disdain for gifts they don’t want.
8. A Disrespectful Child Don’t Care How They Affect Others
It’s a sign of disrespect if a child doesn’t care how their behavior affects others. They might know that their behavior will inconvenience others, and they’ll do it anyway. Sometimes they might not even consider the effect because they don’t care about the outcome.
9. They Manipulate People
A disrespectful child tends to manipulate people to get what they want. The child might tell you that their other parent is better because they let them do whatever they want. They tend to use parents and other adults as pawns, pitting them against one another to get their way.
10. They Believe They Deserve Special Treatment
While you want to make your child feel special, they shouldn’t begin demanding things the others don’t get. When a child starts expecting special treatment, it’s a sign that they’ve become disrespectful.
If your child expects you to make a special meal rather than eating what everyone else eats, it’s not a good sign. Likewise, they don’t often appreciate what they have and keep asking you to give more. They’ll also be unwilling to compromise, wanting everything to be their way.
11. They Don’t Offer to Help
A disrespectful child won’t ask if you need help with anything. They should see when you could use a hand and offer to carry something for you. Or, they can hold the door when they see you coming with groceries.
It’s a red flag if your child won’t even do small things to help. Teach your kids to think of others, and they’ll offer to help when they see a need.
12. A Disrespectful Child Might Not Get Along with Their Peers
Disrespectful children don’t always have good friends because they struggle to get along with others. They want everything to go their way and don’t care about the well-being of others, so they have a hard time with friendships.
Raising Kids Who Show Respect to Others
If you identified any signs of disrespect in your child, it’s not too late to get it under control. You can make a few changes to stop the disrespectful behavior.
1. Become an Authoritative Parent of Your Disrespectful Child
Authoritative parents are assertive and help their children develop. They use love and kindness to encourage kids to grow into better people every day.
Research shows that an authoritative parent offers more guidance and advice than other parents. They stay firm while using reasoning to explain things, allowing their children to understand the situation. This parenting style helps their kids make good decisions rather than feeling controlled by a parent.
2. Stop Saving Them from Everything
You want your child to be happy in life, but you can’t save them from everything. When they make a mistake, you must allow them to experience the consequence. Stepping back helps them learn and develop, setting them up for a better future.
3. Don’t Be Their Best Friend
Having a special relationship with your child is a given, but you shouldn’t be their best friend. You don’t want them to talk to you as they do to their friends, so you must set the boundary. It’s more important to be their parent than to put yourself on their level in this way.
4. Call Them Out
Tell your child when they are being disrespectful. Respectfully explain that they are being hurtful and that you won’t put up with it. After a few times of calling them out, you might notice a change in your child.
5. Model Respectful Behavior When Raising Kids to Be Kinder
Even when you don’t realize it, your child watches and learns from you. If you use disrespectful language, call people names, yell at others, or make derogatory remarks, your child will follow suit. Model respectful behavior so that they can do better.
Final Thoughts on Behaviors That Reveal a Disrespectful Child
Recognizing the behaviors that reveal a disrespectful child can help you determine if you need to make changes in your home. Respect begins at home, and you must teach your child to do better.
Call them out on disrespectful behavior and explain why it’s not okay. Kids understand more than we give them credit for, and they’ll likely get it. Don’t stress if your child is disrespectful because it’s not too late to make a change.