If your grown up child is becoming disrespectful, then this piece on how to deal with a disrespectful grown child is for you, and so read to the end to learn how to deal with this behavior.
Nothing hurts like having to deal with a grown child’s disrespectful behavior. When this comes from a younger child, you might try to shove it aside and blame it on tantrums. A grown child is expected to have attained the age of discretion hence their actions are very intentional.
It’s crazy but adults throw tantrums too. They might say so many hurtful things in a fit of rage. It is okay to not want to tolerate this attitude. That’s not what this article is about. Here we would be looking at ways to walk through this and resolve the strain on your relationship with your child.
What Causes Disrespectful Behavior In A Child?
Understanding the underlying factors behind your grown child’s disrespectful behavior will guide you on how to manage it better. Let’s look at some of the most common causes behind this.
1. Lack of Independence
The changing economy has brought a lot of differences to the way things are run. These days the term, adult child or grown child has become too popular because of the increase in the percentage of people schooling from home or trying to find some ground in their early adulthood. Adult children between the ages of eighteen and thirty sometimes rely on their parents for basic amenities like housing and so on.
This can be frustrating for both the parents and the adult child. Parents by default gravitate towards being domineering, often asserting that the children live under their roof. For the adult child that has gained an independent mind, having to bend to their parent’s rule always can be tiring.
The parents on the other hand may subconsciously become more cranky, nagging at almost everything their adult child does. This condition creates friction and causes mental stress to the child. They might get fed up at some point, say things they do not mean, or become overly disrespectful in general.
2. Toxic Home
No one loves a toxic home, not even the person or people responsible for the toxicity. If you and your partner have been loggerheads for years, this could make your child super irritated that they still have to live with you guys. In most cases, quarrels and fights from the early years of marriage grow into bigger monsters when they are not tackled.
Does this resemble what happens in your home? This might just be the reason your child is always angry at you. Try to resolve whatever conflict exists and tone down the fighting and bickering. Talk calmly with your partner and arrive at a middle ground.
3. Mental Health
Does your child confide in you in everything? Your child might just be navigating through a difficult phase that they are finding hard to handle. It might be their grades are dropping or your child is facing a breakup or some other stressful life event. Anyone who walks around with baggage bigger than they can handle alone tends to be easily irritated and disrespectful.
Communicate with your child. Make the home comfortable. Help them unwind and get over what may be stressing them.
4. Zero Parental Love and Support
You might be giving your all, doing your very best, and supporting your children the best way you can. Yet to them, you are not doing enough. They feel like they deserve better.
It’s okay to be angry, but you should try to understand where you are coming from. Yes, you might love them with all your heart but you might just not be showing it in a way they understand.
Is there something that they truly love and want you to support? Are you an authoritative parent that wants your child to do your bidding regardless of what they feel?
This stage calls for a great deal of soul searching. Communicating with your child to see where you may have gone wrong will fasten this process. Even if their demands are unreasonable, try to meet them halfway.
A child that feels unloved and unsupported turns out to be disrespectful.
Little children watch their parents’ moves closely. As they grow older, this behavior continues. They register your actions without knowing in their subconscious minds. What was the condition of your home when your children were growing up? How did you react to things they did or things other people did?
As humans, we are creatures of patterns. Patterns are tough nuts to crack and that is why many of us get stuck in our ways. Your child may be responding aggressively to you now if aggression used to be the norm at home. If they felt like they were treated badly in any way, they would feel now is the right time to retaliate.
6. Circle of Friends
It’s common to hear people say “birds of a feather flock together” or “show me your friends and I will tell you who you are”. Your child’s circle of friends is a big influence on their behavior. Parents do the best they can but they cannot police their children’s choices, especially in adulthood.
When your child hangs around uncouth people long enough, they start to emulate their behavior, consciously or subconsciously. This might involve being disrespectful and acting out. Everyone needs counseling at some point, including your grown children. Invite them to have coffee with you. Talk things out in a way you both deem appropriate. Remind them about the importance of selecting and hanging around quality friends. Be mindful of the things you say and how you word them.
7. Substance Abuse
Your child may have resorted to substance abuse as a result of anxiety, overwhelm, or depression. Pressure from life, home, their friends, or their relationship might have become too much for them. When someone indulges in taking these chemicals, it alters their pattern of thinking and their behavior.
To verify if this could be the issue, search through their clothes and room gently when they are away. You may find remnants of something they have been consuming. Reach out to a drug addiction counsellor or a helpful body within your community. They should be able to help you and your child.
What are the Consequences of Disrespect?
Your child’s acting out hurts them first before anyone else. This behavior if not curtailed can lead them to harm themselves, harm others, and jeopardize their relationship with colleagues in school.
The display of disrespect towards you is an outlet for their rage. Soon, they would realize you cannot handle all of the things they say and do then they would turn to other people in their circle. They could even physically harm themselves if they are depressed.
Being disrespectful can drive them into isolation. Their behavior may become too much for people around them and people will intentionally try to stay off their path.
By extension, they might start to have trouble in school and their workplace. When the situation gets to heads and authorities in charge, they could end up bagging a temporary or permanent dismissal.
Ways To Deal With a Disrespectful Child
Dealing with a disrespectful child can be exhilarating, but your child needs you now more than ever. Below are top ten ways you can help your child get back to who they used to be.
1. Don’t Criticize Them
Criticizing your child at this moment will only be adding fuel to the fire. Their behavior must have gotten on your nerves already, and there might have been a bit of bickering. Step back a bit. Stop reacting to everything they do. Look out for what they need help with and help them without asking. Try to get close to them.
2. Hear Them Out
It might be hard to strike up an honest conversation, but you can listen to what they say and what they do not say. When they complain about something, do not engage with them. Just try to understand why they are reacting to things that way. They could snap from time to time to say what is on their mind. Understand where they are coming from, then approach them to discuss it.
3. Maintain The Home
Our environment affects our perception of ourselves, our life and the people around us. Make the home a comfortable abode. Do not add to the negative energy your child is displaying. Give them the space they need. Ensure the environment is conducive even if they have temporarily stopped making inputs around the home. Ask them politely, and do not imitate their rude behavior. A conducive environment will encourage them to open up about what is bothering them.
4. Get Your Child a Therapist
A good therapist will help your child come out of their shell. Since your child is withholding information, a therapist should be able to get them to speak up about what is bothering them. If they are hurt or broken, the therapist will devise a plan to help them walk through their pain.
5. Bond With Them
Come up with family activities. You can try games or a picnic, anything your child will enjoy. If this does not work, you can plan a vacation somewhere far away. The distance will make it easy for your child to assess their thoughts and clear their head. It’s also easier to bond and connect when you are away from the comfort of your home.
6. Raise The Bar
Communication problems sometimes run into families. Assess how the relationship between family members has been over the years. If everyone seems to be finding it hard to express how they feel, take the lead. Raise the bar.
Start by talking to everyone respectfully regardless of how you are feeling. Always respond politely even when your child is being rude. When they push beyond their limits, state the problem out clearly. Let them know what you are expecting of them. Make your boundaries firm and ensure they face consequences when they overstep them.
However, all actions should come from a place of love and kindness. Try not to slack. Remain a good example and mirror the appropriate behavior.
7. Help Them Appreciate Their Worth
A healthy sense of self esteem makes it easy to face life squarely when it hits you hard. Is your child having a low or shaky sense of self esteem?
Help them recognize their worth. Show them images of them when they were younger. Tell them stories of their childhood. Remind them of moments they did well. If they are having trouble with school or work, motivate and encourage them. Take their minds back to difficult events in the past that they conquered. Let them understand the current moment is no different.
The role of being a parent requires you to be the bigger person at all times even when your child is all grown up. This rocky phase of their life can throw them off balance. The disrespect they have shown you is enough reason to be angry, irritated, and indifferent. But you would have to be more than that.
And while trying to help them, you have to be patient. Do not be angry that they are not responding quickly to therapy. You might mirror the right behavior, keep the home in good shape, do whatever they need and they still would not change quickly. Give them time to gradually step out of their current mess. You will be glad you stood by them.
9. Celebrate Your Child
Most parents do this so there is a high chance you have been doing this. Become more dedicated to supporting them. Do not wait for their big win to throw a party or bake that cake. Make every small win a reason for a big occasion.
10. Accept Your Child
We often measure our success with that of others. This is unhealthy because our paths are different. Do not compare your child with other children. This creates a scar, and they might hold a grudge against you. Accept your child the way they are. Acknowledge their strengths. Whatever is important and dear to them should be important to you too.