Disrespectful Children: When Your Kids’ Fighting is Out of Control

Do you have disrespectful children that are constantly fighting with you and each other? Are there endless screaming matches, where everyone feels defeated? Do you feel like you might go insane if nothing changes in your home? You are not alone.Family Fighting

Everybody knows that siblings fight, and that this is to be expected. And everyone knows that kids challenge and defy their parents sometimes. But when did it become okay to tolerate disrespectful children?

As a therapist, it is easy to dish out advice to help other parents with their struggles. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty darn good at it. But when it hits in my own home, my judgment tends to get clouded in the heat of the moment. I’m wearing a different hat…I’m the mom, not the therapist.

Take this morning for example. The boys were taunting each other and pushing each other’s buttons as they usually do. But they didn’t stop. Like the Energizer bunny, they kept going and going and going. Until finally, my older son reached the breaking point and told his brother “F— You”! Did I just hear that right? This isn’t just kids fighting…this is kids fighting ON STEROIDS!!

I will not tolerate disrespectful children. As a matter of fact, I’ve been known to discipline other people’s children when I find them disrespectful. But perhaps I lost sight of the goal here. The goal is for my children to know what it means to be respectful, to know right from wrong, to know how to control their own behavior, and to learn how to make amends.

But when I flew off the handle with threats, punishments, yelling and screaming, it certainly didn’t make the situation any better. I wasn’t being respectful, was not showing control over MY behavior, and was not setting a good example of what is “right”. And while my son seemed upset at the punishment I doled out, it is not at all related to the infraction, and I doubt if it will instantaneously correct his behavior.

So, it’s time for me to make amends. I’m going to have to show him how it’s done. We are going to have a meaningful conversation about behavior and respect, and together we will need to come up with an appropriate consequence related to the behavior. There will be no more disrespectful children in my house!

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