Lack of respect

When we feel we are not being respected it can make us angry and frustrated. It usually leads to us having no time or respect for the other person. Mutual respect is the foundation of positive family relationships and can make talking about difficult stuff a little easier.

  • They never listen me
  • They do exactly what they want
  • They always talk over me when I’m trying to explain something
  • They always have to be right
  • There’s no negotiating with them
  • They walk away if we get into an argument
  • I’ve been there and done it, I want to share my experience
  • Shouting, swearing and abusive language
  • I get really angry
  • I feel frustrated
  • I feel like there’s no point in trying
  • I feel like I’m losing control
  • I feel like they don’t care
  • I’m exhausted

What can I do to make things better?

  • What do you need?

    Try to explain to the other person what you need and why rather than what the problem is. Example:


    “You do exactly what you want, when you want to, you have no respect for the rest of this family.”


    “I need to know where you are, so that I can organise dinner. I need to know you are safe. I need to feel like you care.”

  • See it from their side

    Try and see the situation from the other person’s shoes.

    Person 1

    “You just walk off when you don’t get your own way.”

    Person 2

    “I’m angry and I need time to calm down before we talk about stuff.”

  • Be honest

    When we talk about a lack of respect it’s often about feeling like we are not being listened to. The best way to get someone to listen to you is to let them know you have listened to them. Example:

    “I’ve listened to your reasons and I understand why you don’t like being in the house at the moment. I need you to pick up your phone when I call you because ….”

  • Consider alternatives

    Consider lots of options to solve the problem.

    Mutual respect comes through being honest with each other and building up trust. Young people will get the reasons why you need them to do something if you are honest and take the time to explain stuff to them. It can be really hard for parents to begin to let go; however negotiating with a young person will probably earn you more respect than telling them what to do.

What can I do to make things better?

After working through the steps above and considering your own situation, you may find it helpful to know more about conflict resolution and mediation.

Kerry is much happier now that she and Sam handle their disagreements better.

If you get together and talk about it, I've often seen people come up with much better solutions themselves.

Paul Burns, Mediator

We still have our arguments, but we deal with them a lot better now.

Kerry, Sam's Mum

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