Ask 1-on-1 Coaching: Can You Demand Respect From Your Kids?

Posted February 20, 2008 by

Parents frequently call me on the 1-on-1 Coaching line to discuss respect. Some will say, “The ONLY thing I ask from my child is that they respect me.” They reason that if they are respected, their child will do everything they are asked to do, will not say anything impolite, and will be motivated by positive feelings toward their parent. These are terrific goals, but I’ve started to ask people not to even use the word “respect” when they talk to their children about their behavior, and I’ll explain why.

“Respect” is an emotionally-loaded word and in my experience, when people are demanding respect from each other, the relationship is in trouble. It takes more than asking for a feeling to fix the problem. People can become enraged when they feel disrespected in the same way that we become enraged if someone cuts us off in traffic. We feel it as an extreme personal insult. Some people feel crushed and worthless if they perceive they have been disrespected. New family members, such as a fiancée or step-parent, sometimes become anxious about carving out a solid position in the new family and can equate respect with obedience and authority over the children or the new partner. And the word can mean many things to different people: respect can mean to be honored, feared, obeyed, appreciated, understood, or considered.

One of the principles James Lehman outlines in The Total Transformation Program is to ignore attitude and focus on behavior. If we as parents can get the emotions separated from the behavioral requirements, we are less likely to feel offended and become punitive with our consequences. Look at respect as a behavior and not as a feeling. Instruct your child to behave respectfully and don’t require them to feel respectful toward you.

Parents will tell me they have said to their children, “You need to speak to me with respect.” “You need to respect my wishes.” When children are oppositional, offer them the choice of following the house rules, or experience a consequence. Keep your language as neutral as possible. Your child isn’t avoiding his chores because he doesn’t respect you, but because he’d rather be doing something else. Instead of getting upset and having an emotional confrontation with your child to try to force him to get up and do what you want him to do right now, simply implement the consequence for that behavior. Instead of saying to your child, “You can’t speak to me that way,” say, “You need to sound polite.” or “It’s not okay to use that tone of voice or that language.” You are requiring your child to behave politely but not to feel respect. This we can ask of each other, but we cannot demand a feeling from each other.


Carole Banks, MSW holds a Masters Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of New England. Carole has worked as a family and individual therapist for over 16 years, and is a former 1-on-1 Coach for Empowering Parents. She is also the mother of three grown children and grandmother of six.

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  1. SingleMarriedMom (Edit) Report

    I have two teen age boys, aged 16 (nearly 17) and 15 years of age. My husband does a lot of business travelling; I’m pretty much raising my boys by myself. I gave up a good budding career almost 10 years ago to look after my boys; our careers were turning us into what I called “Weekend Parents”. It hasnt been an easy journey as I have always had to be mom + dad and the disciplinarian; reminding them to respect their Dad even if he isn’t always at home and not to just dismiss him as he was at a stage being marginalised more and more by them over the years. Then puberty arrived and my oldest sprouted in all directions and suddenly Dad was the be all and end all of everything. I didnt pay much attention to the fact that as he was starting to grow taller, he got into the habit of physically measuring himself against me and was totally exstactic when he got taller then me. With hindsight I see the signs and he has since adopted the attitude that he no longer has to listen or respect me because he now looks down at me and talks over me and looks his father square on (they both 6ft tall). He went through a phase when my husband was away on lengthy business trips he would bully me and his younger brother to do his bidding. When I take my power back after he has caught me off gaurd, he then accuses me of just being a bully. His latest is to try and intimidate me; when I tell him I wont have it, he pushes past me and ignores me. His dad spoke to him about his behaviour and he just became more defiant and angrier, referred to me as “her” and “she” and that he was tired of always having to do what I tell him to do and when does he “get his chance to get to say he wants to do or not to do”. I know right now he is very self-orientated and life is all about him and what he wants. My problems in this regard really started in the middle of the year when he wanted a drum set; which Dad happliy bought for him – he’s the “good cop”, over compensates for his absence. My son does not want to understand that we live in a suburb; we have neighbours and he needs to respect their rights and he needs to be considerate. He wants to belt out his drums and gets angry because I tell him to use his dampers, play softer, be considerate to every one around him. My requestes are always met with a tirade of hostility because I am always the “party pooper”. We have already had a neighbour complain twice but my son’s response is well “when is it my turn to take? I’ve given enough”. He just doesn’t seem to want to understand that even though it is on our property he still has to respect those around him – whether they are on or off our property. He doesn’t understand that he is not the one who has to deal with irate neighbours; his dad isn’t home to deal with my son’s nonsense and I have to deal with all the “fires” this child creates. Plus the neighbour who has complained is very difficult as it is, they’re a couple who don’t need much provocation to get going in the first place.

  2. Rebecca Wolfenden, Parental Support Advisor (Edit) Report

    To caught in the middle: Feeling like you are pulled in different directions can be confusing, especially when those opposing sides are both people you care about. It is most effective to focus on what you can control-namely, yourself. You cannot control how your daughter and your boyfriend interact; you can make some house rules around respectful behavior and hold your daughter accountable to those. We recommend talking with your daughter about what that looks like (for example, no yelling, no swearing, no name-calling), and also how you plan to hold her accountable. We recommend both you and your boyfriend role-modeling that respectful behavior as well. I am including a link to an article you might find helpful as you continue to work through this; take care.
    Does Your Child Give You the Silent Treatment? 6 Rules for Getting Kids to Talk

  3. caught in the middle (Edit) Report

    Hi, I have to deal with the same situation as Confused, however my daughter is 17. I feel a constant pull in both directions and don’t know how to go about getting my daugther to at least acknowledge my boyfriend when he speaks to her. Any suggestions ?

  4. Jesse (Edit) Report

    I don’t know where to start. The main problem is my 8 year old son, but it is exacerbated by his dad (my husband) who also has a bad temper and models poor anger management. My son sounds like several boys the same age described earlier on this page: can be sweet, but when he doesn’t get his way he’s awful. When he is told he can’t do something he wants to do, or told to do something he doesn’t want to , he disobeys. He will simply say “no” or refuse. He also will continue asking, like a broken record, after he’s been given an answer he doesn’t like. He yells at me, his dad, and his younger brother. He loses control easily and is constantly having privileges taken away. When I send him to time out he usually refuses. I can’t make him go, and I don’t want to get sucked into a shouting match or battle of the wills. Yet I feel liek he’s getting away with murder by basically being allowed to do whatever he wants.
    The anger and conflict in my house because of this is horrible. I feel physically sick. My house feels like a war zone. I know i am not perfect but I do think my husband’s lack of control of his own temper sets a poor example for my son. I have told him this but he says “everyone gets angry, it’s okay to get angry.” I am overwhelmed, because I’ve tried so many things and it always goes back to the same pattern. Also I feel like there’s not that many consequences I can enforce without a power struggle that gets ugly.

  5. Sara Bean, M.Ed., Parental Support Advisor (Edit) Report

    To ‘Confused’: It’s always so tough when you feel stuck in the middle between your child and your partner. The middle is not a fun place to be. That said, it’s best to focus on what you can control. You can’t control your boyfriend and how he behaves, but you might choose to hold your daughter accountable for meeting some basic expectations around respect and courtesy in your home. As far as whether your boyfriend is being childish or not, I prefer to re-frame that question: is he being effective? The answer to that is probably not. Clearly his lack of acknowledgment toward your daughter has not made her more likely to interact with him in a friendly way. James Lehman stresses the importance of role modeling and making sure that you are setting an example of the kind of behavior you want to see from your children. What’s more, your daughter will probably only use your boyfriend’s behavior to justify her continued lack of acknowledgment toward him. Your family is stuck in a vicious cycle and someone is going to need to step up and change what they’re doing in order to break out of it. It only takes one person in a family unit to create change in the whole unit. We wish you all luck as you work through this. Take care.

  6. Confused (Edit) Report

    I have kind of a unique situation. I’ve been dating a wonderful man for 3 1/2 years now. I have an 11 year-old daughter and the two of them used to get along well and had fun together. We have moved a couple times over the past couple years but have now settled into a permanent home – we always stayed in the same neighborhood so my daughter could go to the same school. Over the past year, my boyfriend and daughter have no been getting along. There isn’t any fighting or arguing or anything like that, they just don’t acknowledge each other any more. My daughter, at times, has been very disrespectul to me which my boyfriend doesn’t like. There are times when my daughter will come home and not even acknowledge, or say hi to my boyfriend, which is the main reason my boyfriend refuses to talk to her any more. He believes that he is being disrespected by her, which is what keeps him from communicating with her altogether. He refuses to give in to her disrespect and says he is fine without them communicating. It makes for a very tension-filled home. I cannot live that way any longer, knowing that the two of them will just continue to ignore each other. My boyfriend will not back down from his decision and believes that it is all up to my daughter to start being respectful and apologize to him. My thoughts are that an 11 year-old is not mature enough to know how to make their relationship better and I believe it should be up to him to try to work things out with her, but he refuses. It’s gotten to the point that nobody knows how to act towards one another in the home and it’s very stressful. I don’t know what to do anymore. I try to teach my daughter to be respectful and friendly and teach her right from wrong, but at her age, it’s very challenging. She was always the center of attention and has always been very spoiled and trying to “re-teach” her is not going to happen overnight. Being a mom, I feel terrible that my daughter has to feel like an outcast in her own home with my boyfriend. He’s told me that he feels like a “ghost” in the house when she’s around too, but he’s an adult and I think he should stop acting so childish. Is he being childish? or is he right to hold his ground and not communicate with her until she decides to make some changes. I need help!!!!!!

  7. Sara Bean, M.Ed., Parental Support Advisor (Edit) Report

    To ‘Monicam’: It can be very frustrating to watch as your daughter continues to make ineffective choices which may impact her future. As stated in the article, it is important to separate the feeling from the behavior. You cannot control how your daughter feels, and as James Lehman notes in the Total Transformation, you shouldn’t expect a “thank-you” from your daughter at this point as she is not there developmentally. What you can do is focus on her behavior-that is, whether or not she doing her homework for her classes. We recommend setting up a homework structure for the classes she is not doing well in, where for a certain period of time each day, she would need to be actively working on homework, make up work, projects or studying. By doing that, she could earn a privilege for that day. Also, if she chooses not to participate, then she doesn’t earn that privilege that day. Here is an article that talks more about setting up a homework structure: End the Nightly Homework Struggle 5 Homework Strategies that Work for Kids. Good luck to you and your daughter as you continue to work through this.

  8. Monicam (Edit) Report

    I need help. I have the total tranformation program and did ok with it but gave up. My oldest daughter is 16, has bad grades 3 F’s, 1 D, 1 C, and 1 B. Since JR high she has had grades similar to these never consistent. I tried tutoring I have taken her to 2 therapists who basically said they don’t know how to motivate her I thought she was depressed she got 2 different medications to treat this and neither worked so Dr said she is not depressed. She has no passion for school or anything she won’t give her best effort to anything. She is ruining her high school grades. It’s sad and hard for me to see this happen I have tried so many things and don’t want to give up but I’m at the point of total frustration and helplessness. She is a mess. I do think I need to be respected, it’s important to be shown by your child that they acknowledge you care and love them and want the best for them and their future

  9. Sara Bean, M.Ed., Parental Support Advisor (Edit) Report

    To ‘hurting grandparents’: It can be so hurtful and frustrating when your grandchild is disrespectful to you. It’s difficult for me to give you real specific advice because disrespect can mean different things to different people. Even though it’s not okay, James Lehman suggests that backtalk and attitude should be ignored. For example, a grumpy tone, eye-rolling, saying he doesn’t want to do something, saying he hates your rules. When disrespect reaches the levels of name-calling and cursing, or if you really cannot ignore the backtalk, it’s important to focus on problem solving in order to help your grandson learn how to control his emotions better. What this looks like is that right when it happens you walk away. After things cool down you talk about it. Ask, “What was going on for you when you said that to me? What were you thinking?” His answer will tell you what problem he was trying to solve. Maybe he was angry or he doesn’t like your rules for example. Then talk about what he will do differently next time instead of being disrespectful. Tell him you will remind him of this plan in the future and that if he tries to use the plan, he can earn a little reward such as extra computer time later. Here are a couple helpful articles for you to look at: Disrespectful Child Behavior? Don’t Take It Personally, Sick of Your Kid’s Backtalk? Here’s How to Stop It. We wish you luck as you continue to work through this.

  10. hurting grandparents (Edit) Report

    Our 9 year old grandson is very disrespectful to us. We love him so much. We have tried everything to get him to respond in a positive manner but, he always seems to resort back to the rude behavior that only worsenes as he is corrected.He can be a very sweet child , as long as things are going his way. We NEED and desire to work on this. We are always loving and treat him normally but he doesn’t respond well at all. Can you PLEASE help us?

  11. Sara Bean, M.Ed., Parental Support Advisor (Edit) Report

    Shay: We appreciate your interest in learning about how the Total Transformation addresses situations like PatriciaD’s. You are correct that children learn from their parents. James Lehman stresses how important it is for parents to say what they mean and mean what they say. He focuses on accountability and helping kids learn the skills they need to behave more appropriately. In some cases, the Total Transformation program is only one piece of the solution. When drugs or cigarettes are involved, it may be necessary to have the additional help of local supports such as a substance abuse counselor, doctor (for smoking cessation assistance) or even the police. If a child is refusing to come home from a friend’s house or if she is in possession of drugs or paraphernalia, it may be necessary to use the police, who have a higher authority than parents, to hold the child accountable. For any child smoking or using drugs, it should be made very clear that this kind of behavior is unacceptable. Parents might let kids know they will perform random searches and if there are any signs that the smoking has continued, there will be consequences. This might be a loss of social privileges until the child seems to be making safer choices (not bringing illegal substances into the home, doesn’t smell like smoke, or appear high for example). Social privileges could be gradually earned back a few hours at a time, with increasing freedom as times goes on and good choices are still being made. Janet Lehman explains this type of graduate consequence in her article about trust. It’s difficult to explain how the program works in such general terms. The best way to find out if it’s going to help you is to try it in your own home using our 30 day money back guarantee. If you have questions about ordering the program, feel free to call 1-866-620-9468 and a trained sales representative will be glad to help you out.

  12. SHAY (Edit) Report

    I am in error when stated I did not see Patricias situation addreseed and now found it has been addressed to a degree. I do agree with the response but I feel there is further help needed and not addressed. Could you please ebaborate on the dealings with the other parents. I would like to see how this is dealt with within the program.

  13. SHAY (Edit) Report

    I noticed the above situration not answered titled:
    PatriciaD Says:
    August 2nd, 2010 at 2:26 pm
    I am curious why this situation was not addressed as the others were given answers. I assume this is a more difficult and not so general response to display and has additional technigues than the program provides. I also may be not correct and this was skipped by accident.
    I am looking to purchase the program and researching several. I would like to see how this situation is handled withiin the program and it would help me make a decision to purchase. I also will after this present a situation with my own children.
    Reading Patricia’s information posted, I noticed the area stating her daughter smoking and she may have been allowed to smoke in the presence of other adult parents she was staying with during the time and the demands she was making to her parents. I am not a professional but, if another parent of another child was allowing my fourteen year old to smoke an illegal substance in their presence, common sence I feel would be the result of legal action far prior to dealing with the child. My child allowed to smoke in the presence of another childs parents would take more than control of my temper to stop my actions long before I dealt with my childs behavior. How can you work on correcting behavior with your child if allowed to perform this act at another home and this be an acceptable norm to perform?

  14. Sara Bean, M.Ed., Parental Support Advisor (Edit) Report

    Bernadette: It is so frustrating to feel like you have lost control of your child. From our perspective, the fact that your daughter bought something herself doesn’t shield it from your authority. After all, she still lives in your home and should still be expected to abide by your rules and limits. Keep in mind, though, that we don’t recommend getting into a physical power struggle over an object. Whether you are able to successfully restrict a privilege of your daughter’s or not, it’s important to focus on what you can control. Sometimes it might not feel like you have any control, but you do. You have control of yourself and how you react to your daughter’s behavior, and nobody can take that from you unless you allow them to. I also want to note that if your daughter leaves and you don’t know where she has gone or don’t think she is safe, call the police and let them know. You can’t keep her safe if you don’t know where she is, and the police can help you or at the very least document what is going on. We have some articles about staying in control and verbal abuse that I think will be very helpful to you. We wish you luck as you continue to work through this.

  15. Bernadette (Edit) Report

    What if my 17 year old daughter curses constantly disrespects me but I can’t take electronics away because she has paid for them and if I ground her she leaves anyway?

  16. Carole Banks, Parental Support Line Advisor (Edit) Report

    Dear PatriciaD:

    When you read some of James Lehman’s writing about ‘creating a culture of accountability’ in your home, you’ll see that this important principle can really help you as you work with your daughter. Holding your daughter accountable for her own behaviors means that you won’t ‘blame’ the influence of her friends for her choices and she can not use her friends as an excuse. Without accountability in place, kids will blame others for their actions, refuse to follow rules they find unfair, and find ways to justify their problem behaviors. Holding her ‘accountable’ also means you won’t be concerned that smoking at someone else’s house now means that she can smoke at yours—because she’s already done it. If smoking is against your house rules, she must stop doing it at your home. Doing something once that is forbidden is not an excuse to continue. Teach her that her choices have consequences–good, bad or indifferent and help her learn to take ownership of her mistakes and her successes by using effective parenting strategies in combination with rewards and consequences.

  17. Carole Banks, Parental Support Line Specialist (Edit) Report

    Dear Terri:

    These can be tough situations when families move in together. The best way to handle this is to interact with the parent and not the children. Do not directly discipline your nephew or even become involved in deciding what his consequences should be. Let your nephew’s parents handle that. And it’s best that his mother focus on her own house rules when your nephew is with her. It’s usually not necessary or helpful to try to carry over rules or consequences from your home when your nephew visits his mother. If your nephew’s behavior is inappropriate in your home, talk to his father regarding what you expect from anyone who lives in your home. Your brother is responsible for the behavior and discipline of his children and making sure his family members are good ‘guests’ in your home.

  18. Terri (Edit) Report

    I have a somewhat unique situation in my home that I need some input on. Recently within the last year my brother and his 17 year old son, my nephew, have moved in with my husband, 20 year old daughter and myself and we are having some issues with his disturbing, disruptive and disrespectful ways. When they first came he was asked to do certain tasks in order to help out in the family dynamic. Things like mowing and raking the yard, keep his room tidy, wash his own clothes, as well as some obvious items like putting your dirty dishes in the dishwasher when you’re done using them, keep your grades at an average level and such. Lately he has gotten in trouble at school, been kicked out and sent to continuation school. Then he has been sent to live with his mother off and on, and she will not enforce any kind of consequence and when he comes back to our house he forgets all the guidelines that we have set for him here. My brother is at his wits end with what to do and this is starting to put a strain on my marriage. Some suggestions on ideas to handle this lovingly without too much pain on all parties involved would be great. Then I am worried about when he turns 18 in a few months, whether I should just kick him out to fend for himself. I really don’t want to isolate him when they have no where else to live. HELP!!!

  19. PatriciaD (Edit) Report

    I’ve got a 14 year old daughter whose personality has slowly but surely changed in the last year or so. I know that it is because of the friends she started to hang out with who had inflensed her. She went from an AB student with an occassional C to C’s and D’s and even F’s. SHe barely squeked into the 9th grade. Her disrespectful behavior has gotten worse and worse in the last six months. She is unruly, disrespectful in just about all ways except she does not outright curse at me or hit me. SHe does not listen to a word I say. I ask her to do chores she is expected to do and she either doesn’t do them when asked or does only what she wants and with eyes rolling and complaining all the way. I know she is smoking pot and cigarettes because she has told me that. SHe and I had an argument and she told me as she has done before that she would be leaving and going to live at the home of friends whose parents would be more than happy to have her. I in my anger told her to pack her bags and go. And she did just that. I was so remorseful. I thought if she really thinks that the grass is greener on the other side she should have the opportunity to see how long it stays green when you yourself have to mow it. She has been there for 6 days but called us to say she would be coming home. Only that there would be certain ddemands that would have to be met in order for her to return. One being that we should allow her to smoke in front of us when she knows darn well that we don’t approve and that somking in my home is a No No. SInce these other parents apparently allowee her to do that, she now feels she can or should be allowed to do the same here. I am one of those people who really don’t know what to do beacuse she really has not fear of our authority or respect for what we say. What can I do now?

  20. Carole Banks (Edit) Report

    Dear ‘mytigereyes’:

    Respect is one of those words that has more than one meaning. It can denote a ‘feeling’ and it can refer to a ‘behavior.’ It’s possible to ‘not feel respect’ for someone but ‘behave respectfully’ toward them. This may seem hypocritical but it’s actually an important social skill–to learn to be polite.

    When your son insults you, he may not be feeling respect for you at that moment and he certainly is not behaving respectfully. Insults hurt a lot and can make you furious. The challenge in these moments is to not over-react. Don’t retaliate by putting your son down in an attempt to put him in his place. It will cause him to feel justified in continuing to insult and argue with you. And if you continue to angrily explain yourself, you’re inviting him to keep arguing. Remember, a person cannot have an argument with you if you don’t participate in it.

    Take a few deep, relaxing breaths before you respond to an insult. James Lehman recommends saying, “It’s not okay to speak to me that way. I don’t like it.” Use a tone that is calm and keep your words direct and clear so you’re role modeling for your son how to speak back to someone when you’re feeling angry. Teach your son to use his mind AND feelings to make his behavior decisions instead of reacting only with feelings. If you need to continue the discussion, remain calm and be polite. If you can do this, it’s very likely this will bring him around and he’ll begin to talk politely back to you.

    These exchanges are really hard but after it’s over, find a way to let it go and move on. Think of things that you can admire and respect in your child. Use the principle of that old saying, “You can love your child but not their behavior”.

  21. mytigereyes (Edit) Report

    I have a 19.5 year old living with us. He was kicked out once before for how he talked to me, his mom. Normally he is fine but today he was upset that I wouldn’t let him use the car, which we have before on occasion. He kept arguing with me and it escalated into him telling me that “why do I get a car, I never paid for it” and that “I was lucky his Dad married me”…”I haven’t contributed to anything and also live here for free”….I was so heartbroken that my son would talk to me that way. Everytime I would say something about how he lives here for free, he would retaliate and tell me that I do too and that if I want respect he also wants it….am I wrong here in thinking that I am the adult and how dare he talk to me this way? Am I supposed to respect a kid that demands to be treated like an adult that isn’t acting like one? How do I deal with it, kick him out? My mother thinks we just need counseling.

  22. Carole Banks (Edit) Report

    Dear ‘Angela Goff’:

    I think you’re raising a very good question here about treating children differently than adults. They do need our help in managing their behaviors and learning to behave socially. They feel safer when their parents are in control and have authority in the home. I agree with you that we should not treat them as inferior people—but as kids who are still learning skills. I also agree with you that it would not be appropriate to threaten them with a consequence every time we ask them to do something—a “Do this or else set-up.” James Lehman tells us that consequences alone do not change behaviors. That’s why his techniques will show you when to you use coaching, and when to give them a hand. If a child understands what to do but they refuse to do it, James recommends having a problem solving conversation to make a plan on what they will do differently next time in addition to giving them a consequence for choosing not to do their chores. It’s the learning of skills to solve problems that help kids make better behavior choices.

  23. Angela Goff (Edit) Report

    I feel disappointed that I see only the adults side of respect. I wonder how a husband or wife would feel if his or her spouse said, “you have to do the dishes, or I will not take you to the movies”. That is considered demeaning between adults, why is it okay to give cosequenses to young people?Do young people really have to be treated like they are less?

  24. Natalie (Edit) Report

    I have a 15 ear old son, he and his eleven year old step sister argue often – they were yelling at each other one night loudly. My husband woke up and came out nd told them to go to bed, now. Thi sis on ongoing problem with each of them. So the consequence was our oldest could not stay all day at our church, he had to come home with us afterservice. The younger can not go to a birthday party. Our son did not meet with us and we were unable to locate him, so we left him there. We called his friends phone and I told him would pick him up at such and such time, and he was not there again.
    He normally behaves well, yet has a 15 year old tantrum when he does not get his way. What type of consequence do you reccommend? He will be doing extra work this week as a consequence. In two weeks he wants to go out with his girlfriend, the only things he does for fun is go to church. I don’t want to keep him from church, but that is what he likes to do. So, should we not let him go on the “date”.

  25. Jennifer T. (Edit) Report

    I have an 8 yr. old boy who is so disrepectful to me. He does the “that’s not fair” thing constantly. If he’s asked to do something he doesn’t want he will simply tell me that he isn’t going to do it. I tell him that’s the rules and he tells me that the rules are stupid and I can’t make him. I have tried all sorts of different consequences, but still nothing seems to work. He is physically and verbally abusive to his older sister if she says ANYTHING. He screams at me when something happens that he cannot control. He is a very angry child sometimes. I dread when he gets off the bus because I never know what kind of mood he’s going to be in. His mood seems to affect the whole mood of the evening. I haven’t gotten him tested for ADHD or anything. I feel almost like I’m the one who needs to be on medication just to deal with him (sometimes). He is a very loving child alot of the time, but when it rains, it pours. I feel like he’s controlling our lives. He is a great kid when things are going his way. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  26. Carole Banks, LCSW Report

    Jennifer Allen » I’m sorry to hear you’re having some difficulties with your daughter. It would be important to discuss these behaviors with your pediatrician. (Unfortunately, The Total Transformation Program techniques do not address behavior concerns in children under the age of 5.) Your doctor can tell you what is normal behavior or recommend any other services in your local area that might be appropriate. Parenting is a lot of work isn’t it? Good luck to you as you seek out the answers to your questions.

  27. Jennifer Allen (Edit) Report

    I have a couple of questions: I am a new mother if a two yr. old girl. She is a good girl most of the time and VERY smart, Really) and well when she gets really mad she will hit. Hit me , her grand mother; mostly anyone. Why is this. I know about the terrable 2’s but I am becoming very concerned. I tried to bench her-( timeout) her reacton is either she thinks it is a joke and laughs or get so up set and hit me again and scream at me so loud that it literally makes my ears ring.What dO I do?
    Also, she does not eat. She wont eat at all. Maybe sometimes some fruit, noodles, and of course the McDonalds happy meal. What do you suggest I do. Yes! Hannah is still on the bottle.
    HELP!!! I am getting fustrated.

  28. Laurie (Edit) Report

    I’ve used “There’s no excuse for abuse; physical, verbal, or mental” from James’ cue. My son and daughter are now clear and aware of where and what for they have crossed the line of good conduct with me. But I still see no change after I meet them there each time.

    I will try “You can’t speak to me that way,” and “You need to sound polite.” as well as “It’s not okay to use that tone of voice or that language.” And I will let them know that they are to behave politely but not necessarily feel respect.

    Still, I have not a clue as to WHAT to implement as a CONSEQUENCE that will be clear, serious, and effective.

  29. MariaGomez (Edit) Report

    What shoudl I do when my daughter talks to me in a disrespectful way? Should I give her consequences? And if you think that’s a good idea, what kind of consequences shoudl I give her?

  30. JoeMarcelli (Edit) Report

    My father always demanded respect from us in our family and I understood what he meant: to treat him and my mother with respect, take care of our things, do our chores, put things back when you’re done. I don’t think learning respect is hard if you spell out what you mean to your kids.

  31. rebeccajane (Edit) Report

    This makes sense. Respect is a feeling. I just realized how confusing it must be to my kids when I ask them to feel a certain way about me. Thanks for the clarificaiton.



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