We have a question from a listener. “Our daughter has been talking disrespectfully to everyone in our family. It happened again this weekend as I drove her to her junior high youth night at church. Should I have taken her home right away?”

The answer to that question depends on the boundaries and consequences that had been established before the incident. It’s important for these parents not to react to their daughter’s disrespect. They will need to be proactive and prepared to respond.

Step one in that preparation is a conversation between mom and dad. The parents need to be on the same page in regard to several things.

1. How will “disrespectful speech” be defined?

2. Will there be a warning given when that sort of speech is heard?

3. What consequence will be given if the daughter chooses to speak disrespectfully to another member of the family?

Agreement between mom and dad is essential for the plan to be successful. The next step is to communicate these decisions to the child.

Missing a church activity is probably not the best consequence to administer. In order to determine an appropriate, effective consequence it’s important to be a student of your child. What works for one child won’t necessarily work for another. The key is to make the consequence fair, adequate, consistent, and no surprises! Also keep in mind that children understand the connection between misbehavior and the consequence even if it isn’t administered immediately.

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