Member question:

Talking back and rude/disrespectful language especially from our 5 year old (to us, his brother, and neighbors they play with outside). We’ve explained our expectations but I don’t know how to handle it in the moment. It’s so embarrassing to me! And mostly funny to him.


Rachel’s response:

Yes, disrespect absolutely can be embarrassing… and can make you feel helpless if you don’t know how to get it to stop!

I commend you for setting expectations. Not having them can be harder on kids! Unfortunately, setting expectations doesn’t address the REASON for his behavior which is why you’re not seeing change.

When it happens when he doesn’t get his way, disrespect is an example of his Yuck turned out, and that he doesn’t have the tools to feel disappointed or frustrated (or out of control, or whatever he’s feeling) without being disrespectful. He’s meeting his needs in unhealthy ways, and he needs tools to know how to act different.

If it happens “out of the blue,” it could be that he’s doing it to create stimulation, in which case, he’ll still need tools for how to handle his feelings in a different way.

Here’s a lesson about how to help kids handle Yuck in a healthier way:

Ultimately, you might also want to do some Yuck dumps and deposits to reduce the Yuck to begin with as well!