How deal with a disrespectful son?

Pastor Chris,
My wife and I are raising a teenage boy and an elementary school daughter. We have been encountering some “respect” issues recently between my wife and my son. Currently my wife and I are not on the same page with handling our son’s perceived disrespect towards her. I am usually not there to witness it. Once she explains to me the circumstances, we normally talk it out between the two of us to set a course of action (or not) or I talk to our son. This will work once in a while, but like most things it fades away over time. Rarely do I feel the need to act physically towards our son as I don’t believe that is an effective course of action…especially when I am not there to interpret the context of the event. My wife feels that I need to be more physical towards him even though she is the one being disrespected. My bottom-line feeling is that our son will respect her even less if I handle those situations on her behalf. I believe she also feels that I don’t support her assertions of his disrespect once she explains them to me.

We want to lean on our faith as guidance. Thank you! — Stan

Parenting is a difficult task! It sure keeps a man on his knees! Moms too!

Your children must know that Dad and Mom are a team. If one of you is disrespected then the other one has been disrespected, too. You must back your wife.

Have a family conference with you, your wife, and your son. Ask each of them to tell their side of the story in front of you and in front
of each other. Tell your son that when he disrespects his mother he is disrespecting you and that you will not stand for that. Give him one warning and that is all. The family conference is that warning. Tell your son that if he disrespects his mother again that you will take away one of his privileges. Name one or two privileges that you might take away. (Corporal punishment is usually not the best way to discipline a teenager.) If he disrespects his mother a second time, take away a different privilege plus the original privilege. Each time it occurs, increase the cost to him.

The point is, make the punishment fit the crime. Too harsh is unfair. Too lenient will encourage the disrespectful behavior. When you take away one of his privileges make it something that is meaningful to him and something that will not punish you or your wife. Set a time limit
on it. Follow through with it. Make a believer out of your son. Help him to see that you will follow through with what you say you will do.

Remember to love, respect, and cherish your wife in front of the children. Hold the door for her. Help her be seated at the table by assisting her with her chair. Hold her hand when you sit on the sofa together. Your children need to know that their mother is first in your life after the Lord Himself. The best way to show love to your kids is to show love to their mother.

Here are some verses from the Bible for you to ponder as you seek to guide your son and support your wife: Proverbs 3:12; 22:6; 27:17;
29:17; 31:10-31; Ephesians 5:25-33; 6:1-4. You can look them up on

Let me know if I can be of further assistance.

Pastor Chris