These days parenting seems much harder than it was a few decades ago. Many parents say today’s disrespectful children are driving them crazy. Constant fighting, arguing, rudeness, wanting to have the final word in everything, lying and manipulation – parents are frustrated and feel lost about what they should do to create peace in their homes and stop constant fighting with their kids.
What makes kids fight and argue all the time?
Nothing can push parents’ buttons like disrespectful children. They get angry, lose control, and sometimes even feel victimized by argumentative kids. When parents start to feel helpless, they introduce harsher discipline which creates even more arguing and eventually makes them see their kids as enemies.
In the process of growing up, children constantly tests boundaries. Kids don’t know healthy communication unless parents teach them.
If your kids argue with you all the time, focus on the fact they are not being evil: they’re frustrated because they don’t know how to communicate their feelings with you.
Another important reason why kids argue is they’ve learned there’s a reward for being unpleasant and rude – they’ve figured out how to wear you down. They know if they persist, you will eventually give up and let them have their way.
If parents are modeling healthy communication, there will be less chance kids will be disrespectful.
How to stop arguing with disrespectful children?
– Introspection. Under anxiety and stress, parent’s first reaction is “to win the argument”. Regardless of how disrespectful children behave, parents should be responsible, calm and strong adults. If you let yourself feel lost, angry, stressed or disappointed, these emotions can be an obstacle in recognizing what lies behind rude words and disrespect from your kids. Ask yourself if your behavior is encouraging and feeding disrespectful behavior or do you model the strong and caring leader your child would want to follow? How do you resolve conflicts: can you control your reactions and create functional solutions or do you yell, punish from frustration and force your own opinion upon others?
– Child is not your enemy. When it comes to disrespectful children, especially teenagers who won’t stop fighting, parents feel they’ve lost control and have to “defeat the enemy” to get it back. Kids need your guidance. They need you to teach them about life and help them understand things. The best way to do this is not by forcing them to blindly follow the rules, but by showing them love and understanding. Let them learn from their own mistakes and feel you are on their side.
-Stand your ground. Don’t get thrown by behavior from disrespectful children. Kids feel powerful once they get you to fight with them. If you simply choose to walk away from a heated argument, your child will have no one to fight with. Once things calm down, you can communicate with your child in a more respectful and productive way. This way, you will send two important messages; fighting is pointless because there’s no reward at the end (kids won’t get what they want by arguing), plus you will model healthy communication and how productive it can be.
Healthy parenting is not a power struggle for position of superiority
Remember, your kids need your guidance. If you constantly force them to do what you want and neglect their own identities and desires, your kids will feel defeated and powerless. What is the opposite of being powerless? Fighting and arguing!
The parent-child relationship should be based on cooperation. Take some time to think about it; not all fights are about keeping your child safe from life-threatening situations, are they? Give your children a fair share of power in decision making and allow them to develop a sense of responsibility, learning from their own mistakes.