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If you want respect from your tween, you have to respect them too

Deborah Cruz is a SheKnows parenting expert and blogger at The TRUTH About Motherhood, which she calls a place of "humor, support, honesty and integrity." Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Before you get upset at your eye-rolling tween, try these four steps

Do your children roll their eyes at you? Mine have on occasion. They come by it naturally: I have a tendency to roll my own eyes — an unfortunate habit leftover from my own teen years. But, being the recipient of a serious eye rolling bugs me almost as much as walking away because it expresses disrespect. It’s the nonverbal expression of: “You’re so annoying. I’m not listening to you!”

I get that it’s a sort of tween rebellion. I get that she is trying to feel independent. As a parent, I need to figure out a way to get respect without hurling insults or being intentionally hurtful. We need to be the change we want to see in the world — so, if I don’t want to get eyes rolled at me, I need to first and foremost stop rolling my eyes. To get respect, you have to give respect.

Maybe your tween is just unhappy or frustrated and eye rolling is his or her way of expressing that. Maybe it’s not personal at all. Either way, if it’s bothering you, it’s worth being discussed. Don’t get sidetracked by the rudeness and don’t engage in the same behavior.

I know it’s difficult to ignore being ignored. Try these tips for ways to get your tween to stop rolling their eyes at you.

Expect respect

If you accept rudeness, you'll get it. Parents who refuse to tolerate rude behavior tend to have kids who aren't rude. Decide what's most important to you. Let the house rules be known, and then hold your child accountable.

Choose your battles

You can’t punish your tween every time your child misbehaves. If you try, you will spend all of your time frustrated and yelling. Soon, you will drive yourself crazy — and your child will just start tuning you out. Instead, decide what you’re willing to tolerate and what you’re willing to overlook.

Out of bounds

Warn your kids when they are nearing intolerable behavior. For example, I count to three in Spanish, and my daughters know when I get to one, they have crossed a line. This will let you warn them without embarrassing them. It’s a private mom-and-child code that leaves them with some dignity.

Don't get down on their level

When my girls roll their eyes at me, my instant reaction is to roll mine back — but how is that helpful? It solves nothing, demonstrates just how immature I am and sets a bad example. So, no matter how hard it is, try to take the high road when disciplining your child. Remember, you are an adult — behave like one.

How do you get your child to stop talking back or rolling their eyes?

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