I had a parent email me this week with this situation:
Use these tools when kids show disrespect in the order they are listed below. We’re starting with the relationship or control-giving tool first:
1. Ownership of the Problem:
Step 1: “Honey I need to talk to you about the new phrases you are using, it is a bit of a bummer but those phrases make me feel disrespected.”
Step 2: “What do you think you can do about not using them?”
Step 3: “Do you want some ideas of breaking this disrespectful habit?” Then brainstorm ideas of how to break the habit.
Step 4: Allow the child to solve the problem or not solve it. If they choose not to solve it, then its time to use consequences.
2. Consequence options:
This should be your first option, because it is generally the easiest. When she uses either of those phrases, pair it with an Enforceable Statement: “Bummer, I only hear respectful words” Remove yourself and be sure to stay in empathy mode.
Whenever you hear those words, you say, “Energy Drain, oh those words drain my energy.” If she uses the phrase with a sibling, give them permission to use Energy Drain (if they are old enough to have their energy put back in them). Remember, energy is refilled via the parent not doing something for the child (reading a story book, going to the park, etc…) or having the child do chores FOR the parent. Siblings can do one-another’s chores.
The key to changing the bad habit is to NOT give negative attention to the inappropriate behavior, so again you have to use empathy and calmness. By handing the problem back to the child, you are sending the power message that this is their issue not yours. I always like to start with handing the child the problem; it is always a win-win for everyone. But no matter what, consequences (experiences) teach.