Rude Behaviour: How to Solve It


Many parents complain about disrespectful behaviour from their children. Backchat, sarcasm, bad manners, swearing and cheekiness can be frustrating and difficult to handle. Here’s a new way to look at it and the solution is obvious.

1. Children are often stressed and frustrated. Too much homework, over-scheduled, limited opportunities for true play and rest.

2. Frustrations come out in many ways, including behaviours that are disrespectful to parents.

3. When parents react to children’s behaviour with shame, blame, punishments etc, they create more frustration in their children and weaken the connection.

4. Parents reactions often come from their own childhood experiences

When we focus on the child’s emotional needs and their relationships with their parents, here’s what we need to consider to solve this issue:

1. What does the child need to reduce frustration and keep the connection?
2. What do parents need to maintain their alpha role and keep the connection?

The Child

When a child is full of feelings they cannot listen to what parents say. Frustration needs to be released.

A frustrated child needs to feel their parents connection, their unconditional acceptance.

Frustration needs to be expressed in a way that doesn’t destroy relationships; listening to children express themselves or changing the situation will help.

Explanations must come after the storm. Children need to learn that certain behaviour is not acceptable in certain situations and that they can express themselves in different ways. This can be discussed later, away from the incident.

If a child is constantly frustrated, it indicates a need for limits to be set and set earlier, so the child can release their frustration fully.

The Parents

Don’t take their behaviour personally. If you are in reaction then you cannot deal with the situation in a mature way. Put yourself in time-out or take a “mindful moment” to stop and assess the situation.
Parents’ emotions must stay out of the situation. Be the adult and deal with the storm…don’t be part of the storm.

Ask yourself:
What is causing the frustration?
What does my child need to let go of the frustration?
Do I need to set a limit or listen to the frustration?
Is there anything I need to do to safeguard their relationships with others? (like removing them from a situation)
What can I do to strengthen this relationship in the future?
How can I create opportunities to listen to my child’s frustrations in the future?
Where is my child copying their behaviour from?(TV, peers, adults)
Am I acting the same way my parents reacted to me?

In summary, change your mindset and think about “maintaining the relationship” and “providing the conditions for maturation”. Ultimately, maturation will solve the problem of behaviour (in most cases!)

By Laura Newman  MSc