There is nothing in the world of parenting that irks me more than disrespect.
Disrespect makes me cringe, ball up my fists, and want to take my anger out on whoever is around me.
Disrespect is one of my triggers.
However, I have learned over the years that it is my response that matters.
I can react, or I can respond.
Reacting is so much easier. And it just feels good.
Giving into that impulsive emotion and just letting someone have it might feel good at the moment, but regret always follows.
Responding is much more effective. It keeps our emotions in check and allows us to move forward rather than backward.
OK, so we know that we need to respond rather than react. But how in the world are we going to do it?
I mean knowing we need to respond is one thing. Doing it is a whole other ball game.
The Value in Responding Rather than Reacting
First and foremost, there should be a distinct manner in the way we speak.
As Christians, every argument and every conversation should include grace.
Colossians 4:6 – Your speech should always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person.
Philippians 2:3 – Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
The above verses are essential to growing our view of respect, yet they are a life-long process to obtain.
It would be foolish to expect our children just to know how to respect.
It is also foolish to expect our children to have this mature spiritual mindset at a young age.
It is essential that we teach this value in our home, but remember that it is a lifelong process, and we need to have patience.
If you are anything like me and disrespect drives you crazy, you are probably hoping that I am going to have a whole list of things that are going to whip your kids into shape.
Unfortunately, this is not the case.
Instead, this plan is all about you and your response.
We can demand respect because of our rank or we can foster respect because of our righteousness. – Amber Lia, Triggers
Fostering respect is certainly the way to go in parenting.
Respect works. Take a moment to read the plan.
Step 1: Take a deep breath.
Seriously. Take a deep breath. Take a moment to recollect your emotion when your child does something disrespectful.
This deep breath allows us to gather self-control.
Think about how Jesus responded to those that persecuted Him. Jesus needs to be our perfect model for self-control. We will never achieve the control He has, but it is important to have a model.
Step 2: Speak out of love.
The words that you choose will be different depending on the ages of your children.
It is important to get down to their level and make eye contact.
A good conversation to have (keep it short!):
Those words hurt mommy (or brother or sister…) and we need to only use sweet, kind words when we talk, especially to those we love.
Think about the words you just spoke. Would those words make you feel happy? We need to use words and actions that make others happy.
I have found that sometimes it is best to provide some space at this age.
The words and tone of your voice were unkind and disrespectful. When you are ready to have this conversation with respect and a calm voice, I will be in the next room to talk.
There is not a one size fits all response for this age group. You will have to use your wisdom and discernment in each situation.
The words that you are speaking were meant to harm me and tear me down. Jesus asks that we speak with words that build others up. When you are ready to have this conversation with words filled with grace, then I am confident we can come up with a solution together.
The above response allows teens the chance for the Holy Spirit to convict them.
It is not our job to force our children into a relationship with Jesus.
We need to give them space so they can cultivate their own relationship with Jesus and leave our homes with a rock solid faith.
Step 3: Pray!!!!
Pray for your children’s attitudes and your response.
Pray for guidance, wisdom, patience, and the ability to respond rather than react.
Step 4: Forgive
Hurtful, angry words from our children are painful.
It is important that we stop and forgive our children in our hearts.
We cannot hold against them their wrongdoings.
Rather in love and with grace, we move forward together in our Christian walk.
Putting it All Together
When those disrespectful comments come flying at us, we need a plan.
We need to be ready so that we can model to our children how to respond to disrespect.
Our children are always learning and doing what we are modeling for them.
Rather than be caught off guard, have some of the above strategies in your back pocket.
Use disrespectful moments as a reminder that we are all sinners that fall short of the glory of God.
We need to check our high and mighty attitudes at the door and instead, season our conversation with grace, forgiveness, and love.
An angry response will never get the results we desire.
If you want to know more about your Triggers and how you can manage them, I HIGHLY recommend the book Triggers by Amber Lia and Wendy Speake.
Here are a few of my favorite parenting resources to check out:
Do you have a favorite parenting resource you want to share?
What about the plan above will help you the most with disrespectful attitudes in your home?
Get the conversation started by commenting below.