Dealing with disrespectful children can surely test your parenting composure, particularly when your little ones seem to be caught up in some attitude problems. But don't worry, I've got a solution for you that’s tried and tested with my own kids, and I bet it could help you too: a boot camp for a disrespectful child. Now, before you picture a harsh, military-style camp, let me reassure you it's nothing like that!
What is a Boot Camp?
Let me start by providing an explanation of the boot camps we use here are Boot Camp Mom. Boot camps are a short and intense method that parents can use to address and correct their children's disrespectful behavior. Ideal for those challenging summer days when kids are out of school and routines tend to fall by the wayside, it's a great tool to have in your parenting toolbox.
Think of it as an attention grabber. When your gentle parenting styles are no longer working, focusing on the bad behavior for 3-5 days can quickly correct it. Now, let's dive into what this boot camp entails and how it can help deal with an angry, disrespectful child.
Start by identifying what disrespect looks like in your household. Does it mean talking back, ignoring instructions, or being rude to siblings? Remember, every household is different, so what counts as disrespect might vary. Whatever it is, be clear about it and communicate it effectively to your child. This is the first step in addressing kids' attitude problems.
Before beginning this boot camp, you need to identify the ONE disrespectful behavior that you want to correct. If there are several, I recommend repeating the boot camp after correcting the first behavior.
Set the Consequences for Disrespect
Once you've defined what disrespect is, it's important to establish the consequences for such behavior. Whether it's loss of screen time, an early bedtime, or extra chores, make sure it's something that will resonate with your child. Remember, the goal is not to punish but to guide them towards better behavior.
You know your child the best. Think about your consequence as an attention grabber. What would grab their attention to let them know that you mean business when it comes to disrespect? For me, I typically do a reset (or a time-out). While the boys will cry and scream while going to their room, it's a simple consequence that I can continue throughout the boot camp until the behavior has been corrected.
Implement the Boot Camp
Start the boot camp first thing in the morning, and make it clear that the rules apply throughout the day. When your child shows disrespect, follow through with the predetermined consequence immediately. Consistency is key here.
I also recommend blocking out the time to complete the boot camp. My kids normally grasp what type of behavior is no longer allowed in about three days. So, you don't want a full schedule for those three days, or your child can show disrespectful behavior outside of the home, and you may not be able to implement your chosen consequence. Plan ahead so that the boot camp can be as effective as possible.
Communication is Key
Each time you implement a consequence, explain why. Make sure your child understands which disrespectful behavior triggered it. This step is crucial as it helps your child associate the consequence with their action, making it a learning experience rather than a punishment.
I like to let the child know the disrespectful behavior and the consequence right away. Sometimes they hear me – and other times I'm drowned out by the tears – but I still state it. As the boot camp continues, you'll notice that your child's tantrums when the consequence is issued will lessen as you go through the boot camp. This is what we are working towards.
During the boot camp, emphasize respectful behavior. If your child corrects their behavior, praise them for it. This positive reinforcement can be a strong motivator for kids to adjust their behavior.
You do not want to entice your child to show the bad behavior. If you did your first round of consequences, and your child drastically improves the bad behavior, tell them. Let them know that you recognize that they have changed their behavior in a positive way. Praising children is one of the best ways to get them to repeat good behavior. Children love and respond well to praise.
However, if you've praised them and they turn around with the unwanted behavior again, go ahead and proceed with the boot camp by letting them know the behavior that will no longer be tolerated and implement your chosen consequences. The boot camp can sometimes seem like a roller coaster – but stay the course and reap the rewards!
Keep a Check on Your Emotions
Handling disrespectful children can be emotionally taxing, but staying calm is crucial. Remember, the goal here is to guide and teach, not to assert dominance. Remain calm. State what the unwanted behavior is, and what the consequence will be. Don't yell. Don't scream.
Even if your child cannot hear you over their screaming or fighting when you tell them it's time for the consequence, they will listen more as the boot camp carries on. Take a breath, get them to the consequence, wait for them to call time, and then talk to them about what happened and how to avoid it in the future.
Changes You Can Expect
When I complete a boot camp, day 1 is always the most draining. Both for me and the kiddos. I stay strong and on top of the bad behaviors as much as I can, and usually go to bed early that night. Don't get discouraged during Day 1.
Day 2 is usually a mixture of highs and lows when pertaining to the unwanted behavior. I always start Day 2 with talking about Day 1 and what we can learn from that day. I set up Day 2 as a “we've got this” day. Typically the unwanted behaviour stays on the sidelines until the afternoon, but as soon as it shows up again, I implement the consequence from Day 1.
Day 3 is my absolute favorite day! Usually by day 3 my kiddos have completely rid themselves of the unwanted behavior, and I make a huge deal out of it! I consider Day 3 to be the Praise Day of the boot camp. Lots of “yes's” and “I'm proud of you's”. This way, the child knows how good it can feel to display respect and the rewards associated with it.
If your boot camp takes more than 3 days, that's ok! Stay strong, stay calm, and you will get there with your child. And – if you go to start another boot camp – I assure you that your child will make the behavioral changes much quicker that time around. I mean – this time, they will know that you mean business and can't get out of changing the behavior (you know since they think you'll give in on the first round).
Rinse and Repeat
Don't expect miracles overnight. It might take a few rounds of boot camp to see a substantial change in your child's behavior. The key is consistency and patience.
This boot camp for a disrespectful child method can be a game-changer in dealing with kids' attitude problems and disrespectful behavior. It has worked wonders with my own kids, and I'm confident it can help you too. Always remember, this boot camp isn't about punishing your child. It's about teaching them respect and helping them understand that their actions have consequences. All while maintaining your gentle parenting approach.
Ultimately, each child is unique, and there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution to parenting challenges. I use this technique with my kids, and it's just one of the boot camps I implement. If you want to explore more, you can read about the 3-Day Boot Camp for Correcting Bad Behavior.
Remember, we're all in this parenting journey together, striving to raise respectful, kind, and responsible children. Hang in there, parents. You're doing an incredible job!