By Judy Arnall, director of Attachment Parenting Canada, www.professionalparenting.ca
There have been a lot of opinions published online regarding the Dad who shot his teen daughters laptop. His whole point is that too many parents are being lax and ineffective and are raising spoiled, entitled children. I view it not so much as lax parenting, but uninformed parenting – the kind that increases the likelihood of raising the kind of child that the Dad is speaking of.
So, if you want to raise a disrespectful teen, here are some sure-fire ways to do it:
- Yell often at your children and even more so in public. Discipline, punish, and criticize them in public.
- Embarrass your children in public, especially in front of their peers.
- Don’t apologize. Ever.
- Tell them to “suck it up” or “be a big boy” if they display any kind of feelings that you don’t like.
- Use your child’s possessions, break them, or give them away without your child’s permission.
- Go into your child’s room, computers, drawers, closets, and snoop. Let the siblings do it, too.
- Criticize your child’s abilities.
- Use sarcasm when addressing your child’s behavior, such as “I’m not your slave.”
- Punish your children. Give them groundings, timeout, withdrawal of privileges, and hit them.
- Call your child names. Put down her ideas.
- Talk about them disapprovingly in front of other people.
- Make faces at your children, roll your eyes, and mimic them. Use words dripping with sarcasm.
- Treat others, especially people in service roles, impolitely when your children are watching.
- Treat your parenting partner with the same disrespect: name-calling, put-downs, and sarcasm in your words. Treat their treasures and accomplishments as garbage.
- Never say “please,” “thank you,” or “I appreciate…” to your child.
- Have an angry tantrum, rant, punish, and then let it go when your child is disrespectful to you. Request no efforts from the child toward change.
- Call in the forces and go in full frontal when your child is disrespectful to you. Engage in a full power struggle and fight anyway you can until you win.
- Turn away and let it go when your children are disrespectful to others. Don’t call them on it by insisting on restitution, fixing the situation to make it better, or steps toward building your relationship.
- Don’t ever confront with your I-statement (“I feel unappreciated when I upgrade your computer and you don’t express thanks for my time and cost.”) Don’t ever problem-solve the situation (“You obviously feel upset about the amount of chores you have to do. Let’s go for a walk and talk and see if we can find a solution that meets both our needs.”).
- Ignore other people’s children when they are disrespectful to you and others in public. Don’t confront and insist on civility and politeness.
In other words, ignore disrespect in others, promote it yourself, and wonder why the kids dish it out back to you.
If, on the other hand, you want to raise a respectful, caring teen, you may want to do just the opposite of the above.
Good parenting involves mutual respect in a love relationship. Mutual respect is treating another human being as no less and no more than one would like to be treated. Good parenting also involves addressing the disrespect in a respectful way. Having a teen in the house doesn’t guarantee disrespect. It is possible to sail through the teen years with a kind, mutually positive relationship between teens and parents.