How DARE you speak to me like that?

Uncategorized Nov 25, 2020

‘How DARE you speak to me like that?’

Have you said this to your child?

When children are rude to us it lights a touch paper and makes our blood boil.

How can someone so small have the audacity to speak to an adult like that – namely their parents?

Often we don’t see what happens in other people’s houses so we assume no one else’s children are behaving this way (they usually are).

If our child is are rude in front of others it is excruciating. Especially if it is in front of grandparents or other relations. Have you had that?

So what I mean by rude is that they;

Scream or shout in your face that they want something

Interrupt when you are trying to speak on the phone

Say ‘shut up’

Call you dumb or stupid

Use swear words

Demand that you give them what they want

Shout at you while banging your arm or leg

Tell you your food is disgusting


And all the time you are thinking – 'I’d never have spoken to my parents like that.'

Have you said that to your child and found it has no effect what-so-ever? 

And we ask ourselves ‘How did I create such a monster?’  

‘How do I command so little respect when I do so much for my children?’ 

So what is the answer?

Well, luckily enough I have some great suggestions for you.

I’ve made many mistakes with my children believe me, I’m not perfect and nor are they. I’m sure I’ve told you this before.

However, even though they might have had moments of rudeness it didn’t last and they were never consistently rude. Even as teenagers they’ve been pretty respectful and polite to us.  I believe that’s because we approached it in the way I’m going to tell you about. It is really effective and has lasting results.

Here’s what we need to remember –

 Children are impulsive and driven by emotions, they don’t press pause before they speak – especially with their parents

Parents are the easy target and they tend to be worse with us. If we don’t handle it well then they can start to be rude with other people too.

They are also sponges so if we are inclined to use sarcasm, shout at them when we reach the end of our tether or cut them off when they want to do or say something, we need to be very careful as we are their role model.

Even when they are pushing us to the limits we need to dig really deep and avoid shouting. I know it is really hard but it can be done.

If they hear us swearing or shouting they are much more likely to do it back to us.

If they don’t have their feelings validated they are much more likely to get wound up and use anger and aggression as outlets.

So here is what we can do:

  • Don’t respond with anger or aggression to rude tone of voices or use of unpleasant language. What I mean by that is we need to take a deep breath and say something very firmly in a low tone of voice like ‘For you to speak to me like that shows me you are unhappy/ furious/ upset/ disappointed…. If you want to ask me something you need to say it politely or I can’t listen’. Then you wait, even if they carry on screaming. Repeat what you said, walk away or change the subject. With a younger child you might say ‘You feel so upset that you shouted at me. No shouting, we use polite voices’. Then you might need to wait and change the subject.
  • If a child calls you stupid – don’t react. Bite your tongue and say firmly ‘You feel upset so you called me stupid.  I am not stupid and I don’t want to be called that’
  • Same goes with ‘idiot’.
  • You can tell them – ‘You can keep all your rude words in your head and say them to yourself. You can tell me ‘I’m really upset’
  • Get them to do a ‘rewind’ and start over again. Say something like ‘Oh, you used a rude tone of voice or rude words.  I don’t want to be spoken to like that so you need to say it again. Let’s press rewind’
  • If your child is prone to interrupting – especially on phone calls – go over it before you make the call and explain what needs to happen. Better still ask a question ‘I’m going onto a phone call.  You don’t like it when I am on the phone.  What do I need you to do though? What kind of voice do you need to use when I’m on the phone? That’s right a quiet voice!’. Then two minutes into the call, catch the good and give your child the thumbs up for staying quiet. Put your phone on mute and say ‘That’s right, you are staying quiet and doing the right thing’
  • Don’t be sarcastic to a child – or anyone for that matter – it never works so don’t be tempted to use it. Sarcasm is things like ‘You think you are so clever don’t you?’ or “Oh right, so you think I’m going to help you when you are being so vile do you?’
  • Do describe how it is for you ‘When you interrupt I feel frustrated’ ‘I can’t listen to you when you scream’  ‘I don’t like it when you tell me I ‘HAVE’ to do something for you,  I don’t mind if you ask me politely but I won’t be told’

Try some of these things out and tell me how you get on!

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