Monday, August 18, 2008


How many times have you been in a restaurant or store and saw a kid meltdown only to have the parent follow suit, jerking their arm here and there, screaming at the kid for disrespect, etc. If only, I had always acted correctly in every meltdown situation. When a kid disobeys their parent, it's easy for the parent to become emotionally wrapped up in the situation, taking personally and such. Guilty!

I read a daily email of ScreamFree Parenting by Hal Runkel. Today Hal addresses some of this in today's email:

This is one of the hardest things about parenting, in my mind. And it seems like I'm not alone. We get emails every day from exasperated parents who are fed up with their children's lack of respect. Here's the truth: You can't control whether or not your kids show you respect. What you can control is whether or not you show it to your kids and whether or not you act respect-worthy – even when they don't.

As with most parenting issues, this has nothing to do with them and everything to do with you. Be the grown up in every situation and then be confident enough to allow your child's immature attempts at disrespect to fall off of you like the tiny arrows of the Lilliputians in Gulliver's Travels. After all, their barbs cannot hurt you without your permission.

So, instead of huffing and puffing with intimidation when they act disrespectfully, smile to yourself and remember that you don't need their affirmation to know that you are a good parent. Set simple and clear cut consequences and follow up without taking it all personally. You'll be showing them what real respect looks like and you just might even earn some along the way.

Hal Runkel, LMFT, author of ScreamFree Parenting:
Raising Your Kids by Keeping Your Cool. He's a regular on NBC's Today Show. Click here to view segments.

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