Teaching Respect and Responsibility Doesn’t Happen by Accident.

March 8, 2017

There is no question the a parent feels disrespected when a child ignores them. It is frustrating, stressful and very common. Whether it is your calling them to dinner, starting homework, turning off devices, etc., being ignored for any such request  after the first, second or continued time does feel like distespect. But, think for a sec, it’s more than that – and most importantly it is a golden opportunity to teach responsibility, cause and effect, gratitude and respect.

It is not easy for many parents to take away things like cell phones, tablets/iPads, gaming devices, computer time, driving, etc. – but these are privileges not entitlements. They should be earned initially; but if that’s old news already – then you can structure by setting limits now.

These treasured gifts/privileges should be taken away for an amount of days that will cause enough inconvenience that it is noticed; more than  just 2 or 3 days generally is needed, more more may be appropriate depending on the problem behavior. Once you confiscate a device or privilege you can then set the standards for earning its return – this now changes the confiscation from a punishment to a new set of expectations for behaviors. You will need a clear list of necessary but age/developmentally appropriate and observable behaviors that YOU want/expect/need from your child. You will need to determine what exact behaviors they must do and for how long in order to earn bank the confiscated item. Share this with them in a calm, quiet and respectful manner – be committed, conveying that the goal is for all family members to cooperate, collaborate, consider, respect and appreciate one another.

Observable behaviors include;

Responding after a first request – but you take responsibility for getting their attention first – call their name to insure they hear you- then make the request

Completion of specific chores – listed – taking out trash, walking the dog, doing homework before playing, setting and or clearing the table, etc.

Performing specific social skills – saying please and thank you, asking for permission before touching things,

Following a set of daily routines (cuing may be needed based on age, ability) – bedtime prep, school morning prep, etc.

Yes, this requires thought, self-reflection and consistency of your parenting behavior, but it will pay off

Please let me know what I can help with




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I am currently a Special Education Instructional Specialist for a large and diverse public school system. I've taught general education and special education, parenting groups, classroom and behavior management, special education process, and various continuing professional development topics for teachers in grades k to 12 and special populations. I want to support those who facilitate learning for our young people, simple as that.

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