Is Your Teen or Tween Disrespectful? Discover 8 Ways to Gain their Respect

Is your teen daughter slamming the door when you tell her she cannot go out on a school night or does your teen son mutter under his breath when you tell him to stop playing computer games and finish his homework?

If yes, you are not alone and it’s normal to feel tired of all the disrespect you are getting from your children, even though you want nothing but the best for them.

“What did I do to create this situation?” is one of the most common questions that parents of disrespectful teens have.

Without doubt, impulsive language, attitude and talking back to parents is nothing new in the world of teenagers and many agree that this behavior is often their second nature.

And, a lot of parents may think that this is a ‘normal’ and ‘acceptable’ phase because their children are trying to navigate through the challenging transformation from childhood to adulthood.

But, can we say that teen disrespect is justifiable? Certainly not! As parents, we should never make excuses for our children’s disrespect- that’s not going to do them any good at all.

It’s our role to teach them how to treat others with utmost respect and create healthy relationships with you, authority figures, and friends. One of the best ways to achieve this is to learn how to respond to their disrespect in a constructive way.

Teens whose disrespectful attitude is not adequately addressed have higher chances of becoming rude adults, according to Amy Morin, a psychotherapist and lecturer at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.

When a child is being disrespectful, he/she needs to be taught how to manage anger, cope with frustration, and establish good communication with the people around them.

This article explores the best methods to help parents deal with their disrespectful child and regain their respect.

Disrespect in Children: A Common Behavioral Problem?

Even though the phase of disrespect and rudeness in teens goes away eventually, parents may easily become overwhelmed, worried, and hurt.

Your child who once valued all of your suggestions and constantly asked for your opinion is now turning even the simplest of questions into major arguments.

When talking about this behavioral problem, it’s important to note that not every teen is necessarily disrespectful. To some extent however, being rude is a part of this growing phase in life.

Why is this so? In a large part, it happens because the child is learning how to put forward and test out his/her ideas, which you will not always agree with.

But, independence and individuality are crucial for teenagers and a sign that they are ready for more responsibility.

However, they’ve not yet acquired the skills for handling differences in opinion and disagreement. And, they are prone to mood changes, which their growing brain is not yet fully developed to cope with.

As a result, they may easily become sensitive, rude, and grumpy when faced with difficulties and disagreements. They may also resort to disrespectful behavior when they are worried or stressed about something.

As a teen, they are now more able to think on a deeper level, so we need to be prepared for frequent outburst and radical views.

Regardless of their attitude, they still need quality time and healthy communication with parents. As they grow, we need to be more understanding of their changeable moods, but also take the appropriate steps to teach them how to be more respectful.

8 Ways to Regain Your Child’s Respect

  1. Do not take disrespect personally

A common parenting mistake is feeling offended when kids do not abide by the rules. Of course teens need to learn how to comply, but parents also need to realize that their children’s rebellion and disagreements often stem from the inner urge for independence.


In such cases, behavioral therapists generally advise taking a more objective approach that will help you feel more in control and less scared.


And, remember, this is not just something your teen is doing, but most teens too. Try to balance your reaction to their rude remarks or bad words- don’t overreact or leave it to chance.


Try to talk to your teen and get to the root of their behavior, i.e. their thoughts and emotions and show them how to deal with them. By doing this, you are leading by example and showing them the advantages of mutual respect.


  1. Ignore, but in the right way

According to Amy Morin, parents need to learn that ignoring your child does not mean giving them a pass for their bad attitude. It has more to do with not letting the child’s disrespect stop you from proceeding with the task.


For example, if you told your teen to finish his/her school assignment, but he/she starts to roll his/her eyes, do not immediately begin to argue over their attitude. Instead, give a warning about what follows if they don’t start soon. If they continue with the behavior, act on the consequences you have previously set.


Come back at the issue of eye rolling later on when both of you are calm. Ask him/her whether they are doing this when their friends are saying something they do not agree with or dislike. Emphasize the possible consequences of acting disrespectfully, for example, the difficulty of making friends.


  1. Lead by example

One of the principles of parenting is to behave in a way you want your children to behave. You are their primary role model so if you want them to show respect, you need to be respectful yourself. Start with positive role modeling from early on.


Do your best to always show respect towards them, friends, family, and other people outside the family, Daniel Wong, Ph.D. bestselling author and teen coach suggests.


Moreover, though it may be hard, try to rise above their disrespectful attitude; otherwise, you cannot “win”, i.e. the child will not learn the right lesson. Be calm, consistent, and always show that a better approach is possible.



    1. Do not forget about rules and limits