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Perhaps one of the most frustrating things as a parent is to have your child disrespect you and others time and time again. Unfortunately, this same frustration can cause parents to react from a place of anger, which is likely to do the opposite of what you are aiming for.

The thing is, when you are teaching your child respect, the last thing you want to do is disrespect them. Before you come for me, think about the following example:

You are at a local eatery and the server comes out to a table next to you. The customer looks at the plate and says, “This is all wrong!! What is wrong with you? Bring me the right plate, now!” What would you think? Most people would view this woman as unhinged and disrespectful. However, if your child didn’t listen to you, it might seem normal to respond, “I have told you a million times not to do that! STOP IT RIGHT NOW!!” The thing is- one of these statements is not any better than the other.

So how do you teach respect without losing your mind?

1. Stay calm, do not overreact.

When your child yells at you, defies you, or treats you or someone else disrespectfully, it can be infuriating. However, as soon as you lose your cool, all bets are off for fixing the behavior. Stay calm. Even if you have to take a moment to calm down, take it and then come back and talk it out.

2. Model respect.

If you want your child to be respectful, you have to model respect. Not just with others, but also with your kids. You have to give respect to get it.

3. Be realistic about expected behavior.

If your expectations are too high-your child will never reach them. For example, if you have a two-year-old at a public event, it’s pretty unrealistic to expect them to stay quiet. You can get onto them, yell at them, talk them through it, and so on, but at the end of the day-they can only do what is developmentally within their abilities.

4. Listen & reflect.

When your child is acting out, it likely isn’t because they want to be disrespectful. Instead, the likely cause is either due to the implementation of rules or because they are dealing with difficult emotions that they do not know how to process. Your child likely doesn’t know yet how to say, “I am hungry, and that is why I am grumpy,” they just know they do not feel their best. When they act out, listen and reflect on what is happening. It’s likely, if you read between the lines, you can figure out what is going on.

5. Stand firm on consequences.

Be sure to quickly correct disrespect, respectfully. Make sure that there are consequences you have in place for when this happens and make sure that you consistently follow through.