How to deal with an angry disrespectful child?

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In this blog we will discuss how you can deal with an angry disrespectful child. 

We will also discuss what you should not do if your child is behaving respectfully, and also seek to understand why children behave so. 

How to deal with an angry disrespectful child?

Here are a few steps you can take to deal with an angry disrespectful child:

  • You, as a guardian or the adult, should stay calm
  • Listen to what they are saying and decode what they are feeling
  • You need to empathise with them and understand their point of view
  • Slow them down while validating how they feel
  • Then connect with your child by letting them know that you want to help them
  • Use an immediate consequence if needed- punishment that is not abusive in any form.
  • Be consistent with your stance while also remaining firm. 
  • Use “when” statements
  • Teach them later after they have calmed down.
  • Encourage them to engage in restitution

Stay calm

As an adult, you will have to keep calm when your child is being angry and disrespectful, meaning that you should not react to their anger with more anger. 

Rather choose to take a step back, relax yourself, and choose to respond to their anger and frustration no matter how disrespectful it might seem.

Listen and decode what they are saying

Sometimes children and teenagers don;t know how to communicate their needs and their emotions effectively which is why they might use anger as a way to communicate and make their feelings and needs known. 

So, listen to what they are saying and decode what is it that they need from you- be it validation, be it space, be it control of their own emotions etc. 

Empathise with them

This means that you make an effort to understand their point of view. For a teenage child, spending time with their friends might be the most important thing for them and when time is cut short, they might grow angry and resentful. 

However. Understanding why it is so important to them can help you empathise with them and come up with a mutual agreement of how your child can manage time between their friends and other important areas of their lives. 

Help the child slow down and validate their feelings

The next thing you can do is to help the child slow down as they are venting their angry feelings. Tell them that you are listening but you would like them to put it in clear sentences,

As they do so, validate their feelings by saying something like “I can see that you are very angry” or “I can hear that you are very hurt.” etc. 

Connect with your child

For this particular step, you have to look beyond their angry and disrespectful behaviour and understand what is causing your child so much anger and frustration. 

This will require to really empathise with them and as you do so, provide them with the support they need. Connecting With your child can also help you understand why they need it from you as well. 

Use an immediate consequence 

If their anger has led to negative behaviours like breaking things, yelling at people, etc, you might need to use a disciplinary measure that involves consequences for their behaviour.

Explain why these consequences are happening and how it is connected to their behaviour. Make it clear to them that this is a result of their behaviour, in one sense- let your child also have a say in what consequences should apply to them as it can help them become aware that all behaviours have consequences. 

You can also use positive consequences through small rewards when they do engage in desired behaviours. For example, if they have finished homework, you can give them 30 mins extra to play with their friends for that day. 

Be consistent 

Make sure that you are consistent with your stance on respectful behaviour and do not give them leeway through parton just because they become emotional and very apologetic. 

It is important for them to understand that all behaviours have consequences and that there are important rules to learn and are part of their growing up. 

Use “when” statements

Instead of telling your children what they can’t do,  teach them how they can redeem themselves and earn back their privileges. 

Help them use when statements which can help you reframe their demands in a more positive way, for example, you can say something like- 

“When you have finished your homework,then you can play with your friends.” rather than “If you don’t finish homework, you won’t be able to play.”

Once you have set up your conditions, leave the child and let the child make their own decisions this can allow them to learn how to become responsible. 

Teach them later 

Once your child has calmed down and after some time has passed, you can do the teaching later. Let them know that disrespect is not okay and that you will not stand for it.

You can check in with them as well as yourself to understand if you are ready to have a chat with them and discuss what either side can do to make the situation better. 

Encourage them to give their inputs about what you can do to help them feel less angry and frustrated while also letting them know that there are healthier ways of communicating. 

You can also use the time to address other issues that you have been observing with the intention to help them deal with these issues or work together towards a solution. 

You can also use this moment to express feelings and model positive behaviours such as listening actively, expressing one’s feelings, and also apologise if you have lost your cool in the moment as well. 

Encourage them to use restitution

Let your child understand how important it is to make amends and teach them how they can go about making amends to other people as well as yourself by modelling these behaviours also helping them empathise with people they might have wronged. 

While restitution or an apology might not fix everything, it can help the child understand that it can be some of the first things that they can go to manage a healthier relationship with those around them

Why do children behave angrily or disrespectfully?

Children unusually behave in anger and disrespect mostly because of two reasons: they are unable to express their emotions and because they are not well-equipped in solving problems.

Children tend to have a hard time understanding emotions and expressing them because their brains are not well equipped or developed. So they might have a hard time understanding why they are hurt or sad. 

When the concept of emotions and regulating emotions are not modelled or taught to them, the child might express it in the only ways they know now- by throwing tantrums and behaving in angry disrespectful ways.

This can also be a way for them to express their emotional needs that they might feel lacking from a parent who is occupied or who is not able to give them what they need in terms of emotional support and empathy.

Another reason why children- especially teens- behave in angry ways is because they are becoming their own individual selves and oftentimes they require a lot of space and freedom in this age and when this is not given to them, they can feel frustrated and lash out. 

Another reason why they might react angrily is because they have poor problem solving skills which makes them very intolerant towards stress and discomfort. 

Because they are unable to solve their problems they might feel powerless and feel like things are going out of their control. To maintain that control and feel powerful again, they might use anger and disrespect to take some power back. 

Conclusion

In this blog we have discussed how you can deal with an angry disrespectful child. 

We have also discussed what you should not do if your child is behaving respectfully, and also seek to understand why children behave so

How do you discipline a disrespectful child?

Here are a few things you can do to discipline a disrespectful child:

  • Use an immediate consequence if needed- punishment that is not abusive in any form.
  • Be consistent with your stance while also remaining firm. 
  • Use “when” statements
  • Teach them later after they have calmed down.
  • Encourage them to engage in restitution

How do you discipline a child that won’t listen?

Here are a few things you can do if your child is not listening to you at all:

  • Listen to what they are saying and decode what they are feeling
  • You need to empathise with them and understand their point of view
  • Slow them down while validating how they feel
  • Then connect with your child by letting them know that you want to help them

Why is my child so angry and aggressive?

A reason why your child is so angry and aggressive is because they feel unheard or that their emotional needs are not being met. This is making them feel hurt or sad, however because children do not know how to deal with difficult feelings, they might express their feelings through anger and aggression.

What is the most psychologically damaging thing you can say to a child?

One of the worst things that you can say to a child is by saying nothing at all- meaning that you completely ignore your child no matter what they do. This can send across a message to your child that you do not care about them as well as the thought that they are not worth paying attention to.

By saying nothing at all, you send across a message that they are not worthy of your time and effort and hence, not worthy at all- worthless.

What to do with a child that is out of control?

Here are a few things that you can do if you find that your child is going out of control:

  • You, as a guardian or the adult, should stay calm
  • Listen to what they are saying and decode what they are feeling
  • You need to empathise with them and understand their point of view
  • Slow them down while validating how they feel
  • Then connect with your child by letting them know that you want to help them

References

Morin.A. 4 Ways to Handle Disrespectful Behaviour. Verywell Family. Retrieved on 20th Feb 2022.https://www.verywellfamily.com/ways-to-deal-with-disrespectful-children-1094948#toc-provide-an-immediate-consequence

How to respond when your child is disrespectful. Imperfect Families. Retrieved on 20th Feb 2022. https://imperfectfamilies.com/how-to-respond-when-your-child-is-disrespectful/

Devine.M. Disrespectful Child or Teen? 5 Things Not to Do as a Parent. Empowering Parents. Retrieved on 20th Feb 2022. https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/disrespectful-child-or-teen-5-things-not-to-do-as-a-parent/

How to handle your child’s disrespectful behaviour in 10 simple steps. Hand in Hand parenting. Retired on 20th Feb 2022. https://www.handinhandparenting.org/2019/06/disrespectful-behavior/

How to Deal with Disrespectful Children and Adolescents. Goodtherapy. Retrieved on 20th feb 2022. https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/how-to-deal-with-disrespectful-children-adolescents-0815165

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