Hopefully, your children have learned how to respect you and do not talk to you with venom in their voices. Those of us that have children now know that if we ever dared to speak badly to our parents, we would have deeply regretted it. We may have even tried it a few times, only to learn very quickly that this is not acceptable. Today, however, for some reason, children talk to their parents with so much disrespect it borders on verbal abuse. Even worse, these parents take it and shrug it off. If your child has decided to speak to you with less than the respect you feel you deserve, the best thing you can do for them is to make it very clear that this is not acceptable.
Whatever happend to “respect your elders”?
Children that grow up spewing verbal abuse on their parents and are not corrected will do the same to everyone else in their lives. They may treat a future spouse or their own children with the same lack of respect. You may think that using the term verbal abuse to describe how a child talks to their parents is a bit too much, but there are some children that are completely out of control. They are mean, nasty, dismissive, and their words are very hurtful. This is happening with children as young as six, seven, and eight years old, and if not stopped, goes on into adulthood. It’s very disturbing.
If your children are talking to you with words that border on verbal abuse, you first have to figure out where they are learning this. They are not coming up with it on their own. Perhaps they are being bullied at school, and they are turning that around on you to feel some power in a situation that often leaves them feeling powerless. Perhaps they have heard friends talk to their parents this way without repercussion, and they don’t understand what verbal abuse is and that it is not acceptable. It could also be something they are learning from television shows, so screen what they are watching.
Next, do something about the verbal abuse. Don’t let this behavior just slide. This includes more than words, any eye rolling or holding a hand in your face when you are speaking to them should be corrected as soon as possible (it’s not cute). Make it very clear that even the smallest gesture or word of disrespect will have consequences. Choose a punishment and then dole it out each and every time they use verbal abuse in your presence.
Be Consistent: Don’t punish them one day and let it slide the next. Children are very intelligent, they will not respect someone that does not stick to their own set of rules. Be strict and do not stop until they do. If you are determined and strong, it will stop.
Understand that at times, children are learning verbal abuse from their own parents. Think about how you talk to them, how you talk to your spouse, and even how you talk on the phone to others. Your children may have learned some of this behavior from you. If you spew verbal abuse on waiters that do not please you, or those that call you at home for whatever reason, they have learned this is the way to treat people. Think about how you speak in front of them and curb your own verbal showdowns to show them a better way to communicate.