Most people who have teenagers have been the recipient of disrespectful remarks. In our own teenage years many of our moms and dads may have used some kind of corporal punishment to help us with an attitude adjustment. But in our kinder-gentler-society, it is rare for this type of discipline to be used. Many parents just endure the sassy back-talk (with no consequences given) and try to speak truth into the child. I am not sure we are being effective.
Les and I have tried to stay on top of disciplining our children for unkind or disrespectful words. Our sons each had their season of challenging us with their tongues and now our daughter is there as well. One evening recently something was said and I caught myself not dealing with the sassy words, thinking this was not the hill I wanted to die on that night. I was weary and it was late. I have gotten to the point, more often than I care to admit lately, of overlooking things. What I am realizing is I lose a little more respect for the one making the hurtful offering each time.
I began to wonder about people who are in verbally abusive situations and how they get tired of the fight. The verbal abuse can reach a point where they have no love or respect left for the one treating them with disrespect. What can be really sad is when the one dishing out the dishonor may not even realize the extent of hurt they have inflicted.
The truth is that if you are being offended by teenagers or adults, you must communicate with the one offending you. They need to know you are hurting. Children must have consistent training and not be allowed to back-talk (even if you are tired). It is not teaching a child proper behavior toward those in authority over them when they are allowed to get by with disrespectful speech. It results in you as parent losing respect for the offending child and may hamper your relationship for years to come. Many times a child is pushing the limits and pressing the boundaries just to see if they are still there. They are “becoming” a young adult and are trying to treat you more as an equal than a parent or authority figure. One of the things I have held onto is that in time most teenagers grow out of some of the smart-mouth season and realize that parents do have some wisdom and knowledge. Until they mature to that point, you must communicate clearly and help remind your child that speaking disrespectfully will not be tolerated.
Here are a few suggestions that may help.
* Come up with a plan before the disrespect starts. Make sure your teen knows the consequences of disrespect. Some parents sign a contract with their child.
* Be consistent in discipline. Each family will discipline differently and each child will need their own age appropriate consequences.
* If you are struggling with a particularly defiant child, set safe boundaries. Seek professional help before you get to the end of what you can endure.
* Pray specifically for kind speech along with soft hearts towards one another. Most of all, if your child is not a believer (they have not personally asked Jesus into their heart as Lord and Savior) pray that they will experience Holy Spirit conviction and seek the Lord.
* Fast. Dr. James Dobson and his wife began fasting one day a week for their children when they were infants. Focusing on the Lord and removing distractions will open our eyes to the Lord’s will in our homes.
* Pray in your child’s room (when the child is not there). Ask the Lord to reveal anything that is influencing or leading your child down a wrong path.
* Monitor electronic devices to make sure watching and listening material is not feeding the disrespect. (This is not “spying” but holding children accountable to what they say they are doing or not doing.)
* Look up Scriptures on the tongue and self-control and begin praying these over your child.
* Model honor and respect in marriage, friendships, and with each child personally.
* Pray together as a family for a spirit of love to be evident in your home in all words and actions.
Page Hughes is married to Dr. Les Hughes and together they have four children. She is a speaker, author, and pastor’s wife. Along with friend Cindy Simpson, she is leading the Anchoring Deep in God’s Word Facebook group where women are reading through the Bible in 2013. Visit her blog at http://pagehughes.com/.
Reading God’s Story Schedule today, 1/17/13: Genesis 38-40.
Join hosts Page and Cindy on Facebook where we are discussing today’s reading. PLEASE NOTE: We are no longer using the You Version Group to discuss the daily readings. Page and Cindy found an easier way by setting up a Facebook Group. Everyone is invited to join by going to https://www.facebook.com/groups/316067615171001/ and clicking the ‘Join Group’ button. As of 1/10/13 we have 400+ women reading and discussing Scripture together! Join us and invite your friends too!