Disrespect Is Not To Be Tolerated

Disrespect Is Not To Be Tolerated
originally written in May 2011

I was asked this question:
Just curious, in your post you mention “disrespect” is never tolerated in the house to you or the girls… when someone gets disrespectful what exactly do you do?DS is starting to yell over everything and really mean at me but not because of me over other things but takes it out at me..

When I say “Disrespect” is never tolerated…. I do not mean it doesn’t ever happen. I mean it is always addressed each and every time. (toleration would be to not address and just let it go unchecked)

Sometimes our kids don’t KNOW they are being disrespectful…sometimes voice intonations SOUND disrespectful when that is not the INTENT. I would always err on the side of grace and mercy in this respect.
“I’m sure you are not intending to sound disrespectful….  But this is how your are sounding.”
And explain what the words mean, and how it is not ok to speak in certain tones to parents or others.
Also, I need to make sure that I am not in a habit of speaking in an unkind manner, or bossy manner or
in a way that would stir up unsettling feelings in my child.  If I do, I need to be an example and apologize.

So, what we do is, first establish, that it is ok or normal to be upset if something is wrong…..and then we work on more respectful ways to address an issue.
Let’s say for instance, last night, the girls were cleaning their room. 4 of them at the same time cleaning up caused some confusion on what belonged to who. 🙂
Instead of saying, “I think that might be mine..”  It was “that’s MINE, give it to me!”  That is no way to solve a problem, even if it is yours.
So we stopped and worked on a proper way to respond when somebody may have one of our things.
1. ALWAYS ASSUME THE BEST
2. ALWAYS BE RESPECTFUL
3. HOW WOULD YOU TALK TO YOUR VERY BEST FRIEND? IF it is any different than how you would talk to your sister, you are not treating your sister right. 🙂
(that is our litmus test actually) 🙂

If anger were directed at me because of something else, I’d head straight for the rocker….. get him calm, and then , together come up with ways he can tell you what is wrong without yelling at you.  Each and every time, take him to the rocker and let him know after he is breathing with you, it is not ok to yell at mommy…never, ever…. “I love you and I’m here for you…tell me what is going on in your quiet voice….”
“I will help you” etc.
Do not let one time pass, without instruction.  INSTRUCTION IN LIFE  IS DISCIPLINE….. Teaching life lessons so that one can learn the right path is DISCIPLINE……….. We MUST discipline  our children.   If you have to drop everything several times…. then do it.  In the LONG run, it will pay off big time. Because new habits will be established and our children learn to discipline themselves!….. If you do miss opportunities to instruct in life, it won’t be as effective, and can even cause confusion.  This includes when you are out somewhere….   This does not mean you do the exact same thing each time…. in HOW you teach or instruct… as those with RAD kids know, they will figure that out very quickly…. They will figure out quickly, that you are not at home and therefore cannot rock. 🙂 Instead, the consistency should be in addressing the problem, but going about it differently according to location and circumstance.
Role play, breathing,  rocking, tools, discussion and even going to the car to breathe……. (different ways of discipling) are your tools that consistently move towards that goal of regulation.

Give him some tools to use. If you have not given him a tool box, give him one. (It is imaginary) Give yourself one too so he doesn’t feel singled out. 🙂  Give his brother one too. LOL
And dad too!

“I need a tool box to help me, and I think you do too!”  “What does yours look like? Mine is red!”
I’m opening mine and I’m going to put in gentleness, would you like gentleness in yours?”  and make a game of it. Explain what EACH tool is and exactly how it is used and what it is for. And then, when it happens that he is out of control…. quickly say, Time to get to the tool box open! And take him to the rocker.  Get him to breathe with you and calm himself… and then, ask him what tool he can use to make things better. The kindness tool? The quiet voice tool?
DO NOT ALLOW him to say, “BUT HE DID …..etc.”
I always tell my girls….. and my boys…. “I will deal with him, with HIM, or Her, with HER…. and YOU, with YOU….. you will not know what I say to your brother or sister, but you MUST know, I will do what is best EVERY time for each of you! You have to trust me.
You are safe.”
Once you get this routine established, it will become easier to get your own tools out, and to help them get theirs out….. If you are both dysregulated, you can even break the ice by asking your son, “Uh Oh, I think mommy needs her tool box opened! “What tool should I get out?”  This DIFFUSES, and then, you can ask, “What tool do you need to get out!”  And all of the sudden, you have a calm child working with you.
This REALLY does work, and it worked on our most difficult situations. I only wish I had thought of it when our boys were little. 🙂  It would have been very handy with 2 of them. 🙂

I hope this clarifies. 🙂

7 Responses to Disrespect Is Not To Be Tolerated

  1. Karen says:

    Great post…I appreciate the thought of “addressing” is not “tolerating”…so while sometimes it feels like we didn’t do anything about it…we did…just differently than some people would. Question about the rocking (I love my rocking chair)…what if the child won’t stay in the rocking chair with you? And is there a time when you say “now we’re done rocking?” My son, the other day, was raging. He calmed down enough to lead me to the rocking chair (previously he wouldn’t stay there with me). And we rocked. However, it was supper time. My family was all sitting at the table eating supper. Do his needs for me to rock (which I did for about 5 minutes before taking him to the table with me and holding him while I ate despite his protests) trump the needs of my family to have a nice dinner together? He himself refused to eat dinner until about an hour later when some of my older children were eating.

    • ChristieM says:

      Thanks Karen.
      We do stop. If it is dinner time I might just say something like, “Dinner time, let’s go join the family!”
      If he isn’t ready, you can bring him with you and let him stay near you or even sit in his regular seat.
      If that is too much, in order to keep a peaceful dinner time for the family, just let him sit where he will be most comfortable.
      If he is protesting you holding him, I’d allow him to sit close by.

      Also, just a thought…. if he were a newborn, and it was family dinner time, you might tend to that newborn’s needs so you could all eat together.
      You could present it to the family….
      “I need to take care of ….. would you guys like to wait for me? If not, it is ok, I’ll join you as soon as I can.”

  2. MT says:

    Our 9-year-old son, who has been prone to violence, refuses to rock or sit with us, even when he’s only slightly dysregulated. Do you MAKE your girls rock? Thanks!

    • ChristieM says:

      Hi MT,
      No, we never have made them rock. Our youngest daughter was adopted at 11.
      There have been times where she has wanted to, and times where she doesn’t want to. We let her lead in this area. I will always sit in the rocker if we are needing to talk or offer comfort, and they know that my arms are open.
      Some of them have blossomed out of the need for a rocking chair and we just sit and talk…. 2 others still really enjoy the rocking.

      I don’t like the idea of forcing. We should always be gentle and not break our children’s spirits. Instead, we need to guide them and lead them. 🙂

  3. mamaV says:

    I loved this article. My question is : what about the other kids? I feel really bad putting down the nursing baby to address disobedience/disrespect, and there are some days when I feel the baby gets neglected. Do you have any advice to balance?

    • ChristieM says:

      Balance in family is one of those ever changing equations. If baby is hungry and nursing, attend to baby’s needs. And then, attend to the needs of the other children in the same manner you would a nursing babe. (minus the nursing) 🙂
      In large families where you are balancing everybody’s needs, no matter what you do, even in the most functional of families, somebody gets the short end of the stick on some days.
      It is just life.
      I would make a “special time” for each of your children, apart from nursing baby.
      If you can plan it out, take each child out for one on one time with mom, once a month….even if it is just to the grocery store.
      You would be surprised how a short time, once a month, alone with mom or dad all to themselves can be so beneficial.
      If this doesn’t work to go away for an hour, be creative and give each child one on one at home, planned out so everybody knows
      it is that special child’s turn.
      I used to do this with our boys when they were home.
      I spent 20 minutes alone each day with a different child each day. They LOVED it.

      In reality, there are times when one gets neglected over the other. It is life.
      Above all, don’t feel guilty about it, as there are no choices in such matters.
      Do your best, hold your head up high and love on your family. 🙂

Comments warmly welcomed!

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