4 Ways to Get More Respect From Your Kids
Updated: Mar 5
“I hate you.”
Oof! When your kid says this to you, it feels like your heart is being ripped in half. And when that happens, you have a tendency to lash out. Hey, it’s okay! You’re human! But whether you’ve yelled in response, passed down a punishment (“No XBox for a week!”), or replied in another way out of anger, the resulting situation likely didn’t feel very good—for anyone. I cover this in my award-winning book, The Yelling Cure.
Still, you can’t help but wonder—what in the world caused your child to say such a terrible thing to you? You want respect from your children, after all.
1. Reading between the lines
You love your child fiercely. And oftentimes, this calls for sacrifices your child simply can’t understand—time, sleep, money, and an exorbitant amount of patience, to name a few. In giving so much of ourselves to our children, we come to expect certain things from them. With respect being high on the list. However, despite how we come to think of them, our children are not tiny adults. I cover this more in-depth in The Yelling Cure. Your child’s brain is not fully developed. So when your child says “I hate you” or “I wish you weren’t my mom/dad” that isn’t what they’re actually saying.
But they don’t know how to express what’s going on inside them. These words that we take so personally aren’t personal at all—they’re communication that something is wrong.
Being a parent requires you to read between the lines. So the next time your child hurls a hurtful phrase at you, I want you to find the strength within yourself to put those painful words aside—and first find out what’s going on inside your child.
2. Utilize your emotional intelligence
Your child needs your help putting words to their emotions. And it’s important to focus on more than the basics like, “happy” or “sad.” So the next time your child says something hurtful to you, take a deep breath, then get down to eye level. And say, “Oh, wow. For you to say something like that to me, you must feel really…” and then insert a big feeling. Angry. Irritated. Disappointed. Frustrated. Anxious. Overwhelmed. Discombobulated. Call it out—no matter their age. Then follow it up with listening. “That’s why you lashed out at me just now. Tell me about it. What’s going on?”
And parents—I need you to really listen, here. It can be difficult. You want to help your child piece it altogether. You want to hurry the lesson along. I get it. But lending your ear while keeping your lips zipped is key. Be fully present with your child and steer clear of judgement or criticism.
From there, you need to lean into empathy. It’s okay to not have a solution—talk about how you can fix it for next time, instead. Your child is much more likely to participate in a solution they help create. Whereas when we use a more dominant parenting style focused on doing what you say or punishing you for doing something wrong, it creates more discord—and we never really teach our child healthy forms of expression.
A similar sentiment can be given to our teenagers who don’t want to speak with us at all. Parents often take this phase personally, too. I cover this more in-depth in The Yelling Cure. But by simply saying, “I’m here if you ever want to talk” we show them we love and support them while also giving them their space.
3. Communicate with kindness
Once you follow through on naming the emotion, listening to the problem, and offering empathy, it’s time to address the hurtful phrase that was said. Be sure you do this once everyone is calm. And don’t turn it into a big lesson. It’s as simple as saying, “Listen, I get you’re feeling some big feelings right now that you can’t name. Next time this happens, let’s talk about it in a way that isn’t so harsh. We don’t speak to one another with hate or anger in this family. We speak with love. Do you think you can do that?”
Keep in mind, it may not happen this way the next time! You may have to go through this cycle multiple times before your child begins to grasp it. And it’s hard! You just want respect from your children. But you’ll get it if you stay consistent in your approach. Remind yourself—it isn’t personal. It’s communication!
4. Earn mutual respect
Growing your relationships with your kids is based on mutual respect. So that means you need to respect your kids too. You need to respect that they have emotions and that they feel emotions, even if they can’t name them. You have to respect that they are sometimes going to behave in ways that are extremely unloving—but just like you, they’re human and they’re going to face highs and lows. Good days and bad days. Most important is recognizing that our children don't have fully grown brains nor do they have the capacity to fully problem solve and reason or elicit mature responses. So they deserve a break—and our respect as they work through growth and development stages.
Our children love us and want to please us! Give them opportunities to cooperate and to belong as often as you can—and you’re sure to uncover mutual love and respect along the way.
About the Author
Robbin is a global parenting expert. In her work as a Certified Parent Coach, she’s helped thousands of families all over the world, find more joy and connection with their kids so they can have the cooperation and relationship they always wanted.
Robbin’s award winning book, The Yelling Cure, is Mompreneur approved, and has sold over 300,000 copies all over the globe. Robbin hosts the podcast, Parenting our Future, where she helps parents navigate the complicated world of raising kids so they thrive! She has brilliant guests who share their expertise in areas such as, Co-Parenting, sleep solutions, raising boys, managing screen time, keeping your family safe, mental health and so much more.
To find out more about Robbin and her work, visit her here: www.parentingforconnection.com