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Question of the Day: My Child Doesn’t Respect Me!


Question of the Day is where Breezy Mama‘s Go-To parenting whiz, Dr. Fran Walfish, who is an Expert in Parents Magazine’s “Ask Our Experts” column, is here to answer your daily parenting questions. Make sure to send us what’s on your mind to and Dr. Walfish will tackle it in a future Breezy post.

Now on to today’s question. . .

My five-year-old has been very disrespectful to me. When I tell him something like, “Finish your vegetables” he responds with something along the lines of “Why should I?” or “Make me.” He undermines my authority as a parent. What should I do?

Certainly, respectful talking is something parents need to expect and teach. When your little guy says “Why should I?” or “Make me”, recognize that you son is angry and inviting a power-struggle. Tell him you hear he is mad and are ready to hear him say it respectfully. There are many things as a parent you must tell your child to do and enforce. Waking up, taking a bath, going to school, and on. Eating vegetables should not be one of these enforced commands. Sounds like your 5 year-old hates to be “told” what to do. When it comes to body functions and mastery your child needs to be in control. There are two areas I advise parents to never fight with their kids – what goes in their bodies and what comes out (eating and pooping). You will lose every time.

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Frances Walfish, Psy.D. is the foremost Beverly Hills child and family psychotherapist. Her caring approach, exuberant style, humor, and astute insights have earned her a sterling reputation among colleagues and national media alike. A frequent guest on top-­tier TV programs, including NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams and KABC-­TV in Los Angeles, The Doctors, CBS and often appearing in major publications such as Parents Magazine, Family Circle and Woman’s Day, Dr. Fran continues to lead the field with her expert insights and innovative strategies for parents, children and couples.

Her current book, The Self-­Aware Parent: Resolving Conflict and Building a Better Bond with Your Child from Palgrave Macmillan’s/St. Martin’s Press, December 7, 2010, is receiving acclaimed reviews. William Morris Endeavor and Lake Paradise Entertainment are presently collaborating with Dr. Fran to produce a television series offering therapeutic guidance and help to families in America. More information on Dr. Fran can be found online at

To order Dr. Walfish’s book ($11.56 on Amazon), click here.

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