Your 4R Response Plan:

Handling Disrespect

Follow the 4R Response Method to create your custom plan that will help you to effectively address disrespect.

How to Use This Page

Watch this video to learn how to make the most of this resource

Download Your 4R Response Plan

Click here or on the graphic below to download the 4R Response Plan template that you’ll complete for dealing with schoolwork issues in your home. 

Watch the videos below for ideas about what to consider at each step. You’ll also see a summary of my suggestions below the video. 

Questions? Come to the 4R Response Method Practice Sessions or fill out this form to ask questions! (I’ll answer forms in the live practice session and email the recording to you.)


REDUCE YOUR YUCK Around Disrespect

It can certainly be hard not to go into Yuck yourself when your child is disrespectful! However, when you see this behavior as a threat and get sucked into Yuck, the situation doesn’t go well. 

Here are some examples of how you can reduce your Yuck by reducing the threat.

The behavior is not a threat because

  • It makes sense  for them to act this way when their Yuck is bigger than their coping skills. They’re disappointed or frustrated by something, and they haven’t mastered the skills to handle those feelings in a mature way. (Heck, adults often don’t handle their feelings in a mature way!) 

You can handle it because

  • One action that is in your control is to keep their behavior in perspective — while disrespect is not acceptable, it’s also very common… and it doesn’t mean that they’ll act that way forever.
    You also have the power to learn more about the skills that are required for them to act more mature and responsible… and teach them those skills.  

Instead of believing this behavior is bad and using willpower to address the situation, use your Avatar to think about how you want to handle it! 



Now we’ll build your response when handling disrespect:

Responding effectively is about managing Yuck — your Yuck and your child(ren)’s Yuck. You want to start with your Yuck so that you can respond more effectively… and from your values. 

To do this, first create a when-then statement so that you know what action to take when you notice that you’re in Yuck.  This statement is personal to you based on your signals and the action you want to take.

When creating a when-then statement for responding to your child, you might want to

  • see them by seeing the situation from their point of view. You may say something like, “You’re annoyed because…” This is NOT going to snap them out of their Yuck. But it will demonstrate that you are not a threat in that moment, which can get them out of Yuck more quickly.
  • teach them how to handle their Yuck in a more mature way. (But honestly, if they’re already at the point of being disrespectful, they’re not likely to listen to your suggestion. This really works best early in the Yuck Curve!)

If they’re still being disrespectful…

  • you’re likely going to have to set a firm boundary so that they travel the Yuck Curve and get back to a non-Yuck state.
  • Consider coming up with a phrase that sets your boundary (such as “I don’t let people talk to me like that”).  It’s OK if this phrase upsets them; getting upset means they’re continuing to travel the Yuck curve. 

Once they have traveled the Yuck Curve and released all of the Yuck, they can access the “respectful” part of their brain again and speak or act differently.



– Example: When-then statements related to handling disrespect

– Say This, Not That:  When your child is disrespectful when things don’t go their way

– Say This, Not That: When you don’t like how your child is speaking

– Say This, Not That: When you feel disrespected


Identify ROADBLOCKS Related to Disrespect

Let’s identify WHY your child is being disrespectful, even though they know they’re not supposed to

Remember that roadblocks are usually related to your Expectations, their missing Skills, or their Yuck. In this case, I’m starting with Yuck- and skill-based roadblocks to demonstrate why our expectations may be unrealistic.

Our expectations are roadblocks:

  • We believe that they should be able to tell us calmly and respectfully how they’re feeling. Most children do NOT have the tools to do that (most adults don’t don’t do that!) so our expectations are often unrealistic
  • We approach them from a place of Yuck and treat them with disrespect when they’re treating us with disrespect. We’re often not modeling what we want them to do! 

When it comes to disrespect, they are missing the skills to

  • Handle their Yuck / discomfort in a mature way. Instead, they are feeling things strongly and trying to get rid of that Yuck (in an immature way)
  • Think flexibly. When things don’t go the way they thought they should go, they are uncomfortable and don’t know how to handle it effectively 

They also may have Yuck that causes roadblocks:

  • They feel disrespected (lack of significance) because they feel like we don’t understand them or take the time to care about their point of view
  • They feel out of control because we’ve told them something they don’t like… and there’s nothing they can do about it 

    Remember to choose ONE roadblock that you have the desire and energy to tackle now. You can come back to the others later!

    Build Your ROUTINES to Reduce Disrespect

    Now we’ll identify proactive ROUTINE (that you can take action on!) that will start to foster more respectful behavior to begin with

    Consider these routines to address the roadblock you choose:

    Expectations-based Routines

    Skill-based Routines

    Yuck-based Routines


    Sample Completed 4R Response Plans for Handling Disrespect

    Want an example? Check out this completed plan:

    When a child is disrespectful when asked to clean the bathroom

    Extra Resources

    If you’ve got your plan, but want to learn even more strategies for what causes this behavior, and how to deal with it, I’ve included videos and podcast episodes for you below:

    Video: Handling Disrespect Using Strategies That Last

    Video: How to Not Get Sucked in When a Child Says “I Hate You”

    Podcast: Not Letting Kids “Get Away With” Disrespect

    Podcast: How to Respond to Kids’ Negative Reactions When They Don’t Get Their Way

    Podcast: Why Negative Behavior Is Not a Choice


    Past Questions from Other Parents

    Want to see what other parents have already asked about raising strong willed children? I’ve linked to some past questions and answers below.