Disrespectful Kids and Teens: 5 Rules to Help You Handle Their Behavior

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A recent viral video of a group of pre-teen kids bullying and berating an elderly bus monitor showed us just how pervasive it is in society for children and teens to be rude and disrespectful to adults. Sadly, this kind of behavior from kids is everywhere, and it only seems to be getting worse.

Parenting is not a popularity contest. You need to be in control and you need to set some limits. Your child is not your partner or your peer.

Some of it can be chalked up to the fact that our culture—movies, music, internet sites and television—often glorifies disrespectful, crude or even cruel behavior. Kids are taught by pop culture to think it’s cool to talk back and put down parents and teachers.

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Added to this dynamic is the fact that Baby Boomers and Gen Xers are generally less authoritarian and more submissive than prior generations were, and therefore much less likely to say no to their kids.

On top of this, stress levels are extremely high—in most households, both parents are working and might be worried about jobs, bills and other financial or personal strains. Many (if not most) parents are simply unable to devote the time and attention that it takes to sit down and thoroughly handle every situation that comes up with their kids.

When Did My Child Turn into a Pill?

Disrespectful behavior—cursing, yelling, arguing, ignoring you, refusing requests, name-calling—is a kind of wakeup call to parents. It’s telling you that you need to be in control of the situation more and set better limits. This is a process that happens over time. Once you change how you respond to your kid’s disrespectful behavior, it doesn’t mean that their behavior is going to change right away. It takes time and you will need to stick with it.

Before I tell you how to handle disrespectful behavior in your child, let’s talk a little about what’s going on with them.

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If your kid has suddenly started talking back, rolling her eyes and copping an attitude, as annoying and difficult as it is to deal with, disrespectful behavior is actually a normal part of adolescence. In fact, if it shows up all of a sudden, it probably is just adolescence—your child’s way of pushing away from you and “individuating”, or working at separating from you and becoming their own person. This is a painful thing to do—not that most adolescents would admit it!

The truth is, it’s difficult to push away from your parents and move toward adulthood. Sometimes it’s easier for kids just to be rude and disrespectful—but of course, that’s not acceptable behavior!

Disrespectful behavior often comes down to kids having poor problem-solving skills and a lack of knowledge about how to be more respectful as they pull away. Often when kids separate from you they do it all wrong before they learn how to do it right. Finding one’s self is a lifelong process, and your job as a parent is to teach your child how to behave appropriately and to be respectful toward others as they grow up.

If your child has been disrespectful most of their life and it’s not just something that came on primarily in adolescence, then it’s much harder to handle. A change needs to happen in how you manage their behavior, and change is always tough. Even if you haven’t been good at setting limits or teaching your child to be respectful along the way, understand that you can decide to parent differently at any point in your life.

When my son was in high school, he asked to go to a concert and we said “no” because, among other things, he and his friends were planning to drive out of state for it and sleep in his car afterward. Our son was rude and disrespectful as he walked away from us and yelled “I hate you!” before slamming his bedroom door. We took his car keys away because we didn’t want him to drive until we’d resolved the issue. We said, “When you’re calm, come downstairs and we’ll talk about it.” Later we sat down with him and explained that he didn’t have to like what we’d decided and that it was okay to be angry with us, but it was not okay to show that kind of behavior. This was a painful incident for all of us, but we made sure not to get pulled into a power struggle with him over it.

It’s inevitable that at times our kids are going to be angry at us, and that we’re going to set some limits that they don’t like. But that’s okay—that just means you’re doing your job as a parent. Here are 5 rules that will help you handle disrespect:

1. Don’t Take It Personally

I know this is a hard one, but try not to take what your child is saying or doing personally. This behavior really is all about them individuating, and not about you.

Instead of allowing yourself to feel hurt or angry (which is a surefire way to get pulled into a power struggle), be clear and direct with your child. If they’re being mildly sassy and starting to push some boundaries, you can say, “Don’t talk to me that way, I don’t like it,” and then turn around and walk away. Tell them the behavior is wrong and then disengage from them.

If your child’s behavior warrants a consequence, you can say, “It’s not okay to call me names or swear when I tell you can’t go to your friend’s house. I’m taking your cell phone for two hours. During that time, you need to show me you can behave respectfully to people in this house. If you swear or are rude again, the two hours will start over.”

Remember, it doesn’t matter if your child likes you right now. This is about doing the right thing, and asking yourself, “What do I want to teach my child?”

Parenting is not a popularity contest. You need to be in control and you need to set some limits. Your child is not your partner or your peer. Your role as parent is vital—you are in charge and your child is relying on you to lead the way.

2. Be Prepared

Know that some rude or disrespectful behavior is normal in adolescence, and be prepared for it. If it’s already happened once, you need to anticipate that it may happen again and then plan what you’re going to do about it. State your limits, then turn around and walk away. Remember, you don’t have to attend every fight—or power struggle—your child invites you to.

If your child has been extremely disrespectful because they really haven’t had limits around that behavior, this will take real work. Once you’ve set a limit and responded appropriately to the disrespect, again, do not get pulled into the power struggle. If you can do this once, it makes it easier to do it again. Just say to yourself, “As a parent I’m doing the right thing by setting these limits.”

Where should you draw the line with disrespectful behavior? I think every parent has a different line for their kids, and you’re going to know what that line is. Plan ahead and let your child know. You can say, “You swore at me the last time I said you couldn’t go to a concert. I don’t want you to do that again. If you do, there will be a consequence.” If there is an incident, be sure to talk with them once everybody cools down. Set limits when everyone is calm rather than in the heat of the moment.

3. Avoid Power Struggles at All Costs

Once you’re embroiled in a power struggle, you’ve lost. But what do you do when your kid is swearing in your face, calling you names, ignoring you or trying to boss you around? That’s where that internal dialogue is so important. Don’t take it personally.

Your job is to parent your child and teach him to behave differently. I think most of us have triggers when our kids are disrespectful and then we end up getting sucked into arguments with them. If your child has drawn you into a fight with disrespectful behavior in the past, be prepared that he will try to do it again. And then know what you’re going to do next time. Are you going to set a limit? Are you going to make your statement, give the expectations and not get caught up in your child’s words? Plan ahead. You might decide to give a consequence for the behavior and then have a follow-up discussion about what happened.

The goal is that you teach your child to behave differently. Let’s face it, there’s nothing worse than going through life treating people badly—it won’t help your child function in the real world if he’s allowed to be rude and disrespectful. Kids have to get the message.

4. Be Determined

If you want things to be different, you’ll have to make up your mind to do them differently and stick with it. It’s hard at first, but it’s really rewarding when things begin to change. James and I used to jokingly say that kids are like uncivilized little barbarians—it’s our job, as parents, to teach them a more respectful way to deal with problems. Decide today that you are going to start doing things differently.

5. Be a Teacher and Coach

It’s your job to teach your kids to behave more respectfully and manage frustration better. The three crucial roles for you to play as a parent are Teacher, Coach and Limit Setter. We teach them how to behave, we coach them (and encourage them) when they get it right, and we set limits when they get it wrong. These three roles are really the key to being an effective parent.

Remember, the goal is for kids to be able to function in the real world and go on to be responsible adults who can live on their own. We basically want all the things for our kids that our parents wanted for us: to be financially and emotionally able to function successfully on their own. It’s our job as parents to teach and guide our kids to become more functional. If they don’t learn how to be respectful to others growing up, it’s much harder to learn as an adult. Change is hard but it can happen at any time. When you want things to be different, you just have to do some work.

About

Janet Lehman, MSW, has worked with troubled children and teens for over 30 years. A veteran social worker, she specializes in child behavior issues — ranging from anger management and oppositional defiance to more serious criminal behavior in teens. She is co-creator of The Total Transformation® Program, The Complete Guide To Consequences™, Getting Through To Your Child™, and Two Parents One Plan™.

Comments (172)
  • Tina B

    I am raising my 12 year old grandson , had him for most of his life.

    He has always had challenging behavioral issues but now that he is older I am struggling to stay in control

    When a consequence has been given

    He throws things at me calls me names and flat refuses to follow through with consequence

    I admit I do take the rude disrespectful behavior personal

    And get caught up in the power struggle

    I was raised to respect my elders

    So I find my grandson behavior a hard pill to swallow

    Please tell me.... how do you handle a child who refuses to do the consequence for bad behavior? Who takes off and runs down the road who laughs at you when you say do not do something

    I am at my witts end and to be honest I sometimes want to say the heck with his I didn’t sign up for this

    Please tell me how to gain control

  • Bj beemam
    My husband has always been verbally abusive, he is a recovering alcohloic. My son has aeen this behavior his whole life and his dad and I fighting and arguing. My husband favors my son above me and says nothing when our son disrespects me, what do I do?
    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent CoachEP Coach
      I’m so sorry to hear about the issues you are facing with your family right now, and I’m glad that you’re here reaching out for support. You make a good point that your son may have learned this behavior from witnessing it growing up. This doesn’t mean thatMore you cannot change this pattern, however. At this point, it could be useful to talk with your husband privately during a calm time, and find ways to work together and support each other in front of your son. You might find some useful tips in When Parents Disagree: 10 Ways to Parent as a Team. You might also work on developing a culture of accountability in your home, which you can create in the relationship between you and your son. I recognize how difficult this must be for you right now, and I wish you all the best as you continue to move forward. Take care.
  • Randy Marsh

    I have two step kids who are rude and inappropriate with each other and with their mom (my wife). The boy (age 13) and the girl (age 10) are constantly insulting and putting each other down. They like to tell each other they are stupid and how no one likes them. They also whine and complain nonstop, especially around their mom. They also tell their mom she looks bad in something she's wearing or that her food is terrible, etc. They do not listen to her when she talks to them and are rudely tuning her out.

    They are in counseling and yet this doesn't seem to work. They behave well in school and in public but around their mom at home they do not. The kids both suffer from high anxiety and the boy exhibits many traits found in Aspie children. They rarely act this way around me, but act this way around their mom on a regular basis. My wife uses the permissive parenting style where she has some rules but rarely enforces or follows through with them when it involves the kids. She gives them an inch and they take a mile. I don't believe the permissive parenting style works very well with these kids. Yet she doesn't see anything wrong with her parenting style. Any help or insights would be appreciated. Thanks.

    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      I hear you; it can be very difficult to stand by and watch when your stepchildren are being disrespectful to your wife and each other, yet she doesn’t see a problem. It’s not uncommon for adults to have different parenting styles, especially in stepfamilies. While it’s not necessaryMore for you and your wife to parent the same way, it is beneficial to have clear expectations that apply to everyone in the home. Something that can be useful is to have a private conversation with your wife during a calm time, and to try to find common ground around house rules regarding respect. You might also find some helpful tips in our article, Stepchildren Making You Crazy? 5 Ways to Manage Conflict in Blended Families. I recognize how challenging this must be for you and I wish you all the best moving forward. Take care.
  • Kimmy
    I have a 12 year old son who has a don't care attitude and he's had a rough up bringing with his dad long story I have him now and I don't know what to do he treats me like I'm nothing
    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      I’m sorry to hear about the challenges your son has faced, and I’m also sorry to hear about how he is currently treating you. He is fortunate to have you as a stable, loving presence in his life, even if he doesn’t recognize or appreciate that right now. More Something to keep in mind is that it tends to be more effective to focus on your son’s behavior, rather than his attitude. While you cannot make him “care” about meeting his responsibilities, you can hold him accountable if they are not completed. While you cannot make him feel a certain way toward you, you can have rules in place about respectful behavior. You might find additional tips in How to Deal with Teens with Attitude. I hope that you will write back and let us know how things are going for you and your son. Take care.
  • Consern nanny
    Hi i am a nanny of a 8 year old boy and his behaviour has gone up bad ,he has always had a serious attude . He makes faces rolls his eyes and screams at your face anf sometime hits . Paremt can't control him ,he siad sorry afyer aMore long talk and even writes note to say sorry .he does it at school everywhere we go. He is disrespectful to his mom more then anything. He makes up stories up what happen and turns tue fact in to it always the otherpersond faults
  • Isoujanyasree

    Ihave11yearschild. He is not. responsible, never listen to me ,steal valuables at home and throws outside, plays with

    Mobile phone, watching t.v,move with bad Friend s,roaming outside in street s

  • shannon s
    My Husband and I are raising a 14 year old daughter and also have 3 grown children that have children of their own. when our 14yr. old was 2half I had a really bad MV Accident ,and she was shuffled back and forth here and there and at timeMore that we as parents should be teaching values morels and instilling what respect is we have not changed the way of parenting her from the way the other 3 children were brought up. she is disrespectful lazy nothing you do for her is ever good enough always wants more thinks she is an adult and can make the rules we did in house Counsling for over 2 yrs. That didn't help we tried medication she quite taking it when she dose chores they are done half ass she cant complete a task .she has been physical with me I'm disabled but she doesn't think so. failing 8th grade fighting got caught stilling from dollar store twice. Has been sexually active smoking weed. Have tried to get her help and the dozen or so place I called she doesn't meet there criteria. or they said that I provoke her. I love my daughter but cant stand her .when she leaves for school my husband and I si of relief until 15min. to 3pm and then Dred her coming home we are at our wits end and don't know what to do please help.
    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      I’m so sorry to hear about the challenges you are facing with your youngest daughter, and I’m glad that you’re here reaching out for support. When parents are faced with numerous difficult behaviors, it tends to be more effective to focus on the top one or two, rather thanMore try to address everything at once. This helps you to be more consistent and effective in your responses, and can prevent you from becoming overwhelmed. Based on what you have shared, I would recommend focusing first on your daughter’s aggression, both towards you at home as well as at school. You might find some helpful information on next steps you can take in Aggressive Child Behavior Part I: Fighting in School and at Home and Signs of Parental Abuse: What to Do When Your Child or Teen Hits You. Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family. Take care.
  • Mrs. Amanda W
    I need help
  • Shannon
    My daughter is so angry it seems. She is so disrespectful to elders it is causing major family conflict.
  • Mm739
    I'm a single mom in need of help . . I have a 12 year old son who has become very disrespectful to the teachers and other adults when he is challenged on his attitude or his homework (which seams to be the w main issues ) he either mouthMore back or shuts down and won't talk to anyone . He has a older brother who has been in and out of jail this past year and his dad thinks that this is part of our 12 year old problem and he's acting out because he has seen his brother act this way. His brother is ADHD, ODD and PDD autism and when he turned 18 he was told he's an adult and don't have to take his meds or listen to his parents. So he took himself off his meds and became uncontrollable and very disrespectful and told me many times "what are you going to do. . . nothing. . . " and he was right . . I felt like a parent with no control. BUT every time my older son and I got into it I talked to my 12year old about what happened and how wrong it was for his brother to act or talk that way and that his behaviour was wrong. But now I am seeing my 12 year old son acting the same way. Please help. . . how do I deal with the disrespectful behaviour and shouting down and not talking.
    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      I’m sorry to hear about the behavior you are seeing repeat from your older son to your 12 year old now. Even though he might have witnessed his older brother behave this way toward you, he is still responsible for his own actions and choices. From our perspective,More inappropriate behavior is often linked to poor problem-solving skills. So, part of changing this pattern with your 12 year old will be to talk with him during a calm time about what he can do differently to avoid getting into trouble. You can read more about how to structure this conversation in The Surprising Reason for Bad Child Behavior: “I Can’t Solve Problems”. Another aspect of addressing his behavior will also be picking your battles and trying your best not to take his behavior personally, as outlined in How to Respond to Disrespectful Children and Teens. I recognize how challenging this must be for you right now, and I hope you will write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family. Take care.
  • Emma Raybold
    Hello I have a 13 nearly 14 year old son he can be very disrespectful he storms around stamps his feet slams doors he has smashed no end of phones which I stupidly replace beascuse if I don't he will play me up and won't go to school and whenMore I'm trying to work whoever is looking after them ( dad or nan) I worry he's not behaving and giving them a hard time I find myself giving him everything so I don't have to deal with his moods last week he kept me and his dad up till 3am banging on the floor stamping up and down the stairs trying to wake his baby sister up he misbehaves at school has been suspended twice never does his homework doesn't help around the house can be awful in the way he talks to his siblings but other times he can be a wonderful child but it only seems to be when he's getting what he wants if he's told no then that's it I'm just so exhausted what do I do?
    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      I hear you. Sometimes when you are faced with really challenging behavior from your child, it can feel like it’s a lot easier to “give in” to make the misbehavior stop, rather than staying firm in your limits. In the end, though, what your son might learning from thisMore is that he can get what he wants and avoid consequences if he only acts out long enough or severely enough. At this point, it might be useful to pick one or two common triggers for your son to act out, and think about how you will respond differently so you are not giving in to his tantrums. You can find more helpful tips in Does Your Child Act Out to Manipulate You? How to Stop Falling for It. Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family. Take care.
  • Me
    And when after years and years of this nothing changes? My son simply could not care less regardless of any approach you take with him.
  • Kobebear
    My constantly rude 12 year old daughter pushed me to the limit yesterday so I told her if she didn't like it she should go live with her dad and now she's called my bluff and says that she wants to go live with him. She reiterated this today andMore said she wanted to change schools so she can stay with him full time. I'm heartbroken, feel lost, don't know what to do.
    • Mamaerased
      That is exactly why it is so wrong that they give them the right to choose at 14. They take your right to parent away, and like this article said "parenting is not a popularity contest," well, it is when you are divorced. My daughters were 14 andMore 15 and their dad and his wife jumped at the opportunity to use their defiance against me, and even convinced my 10 year old to jump on the mom-hating train. They were even putting my kids up to things that would get them in trouble when i thought we had the shared goal of raising them right and teaching respect and love for family. It was all for him to avoid child support, and they make it so easy to do: convince a teenager to take revenge on their only disciplinary parent. The courts like it because it creates litigation in an otherwise unprofitable to them family. He has manipulated court at every move and i dont know if i will ever see them again. Frankly, i am afraid of who they have become now. The 2 oldest dropped out of school and my oldest cusses whenever she makes any contact and calls me terrible names. She sounds exactly like her stepmom who claims she has no ability to affect what they say or think. She gave them every bit of disrespect they have...it is horrible. There is no way to parent a teen if their other parent wont be a parent, and has their own agenda as priority over raising healthy happy kids.
    • Mamabear
      Your daughter doesn't have the legal right to decide where to live.
  • Amit
    My child behaves well in school,very good in studies,listens to class teacher & friends, but she disobey at home, gets angry if we ask her to study after playing for long or watching tv,dancing.She thinks whatever she is doing that is right & she should not be asked to doMore anything other than that may be studying or helping us in daily chores.
  • Beyond_desperate
    My almost 15 year old daughter met an almost 18 year old boy from the wrong side of the tracks and is completely emotionally caught up in him. Since his arrival on the scene she has had this attitude that she can and will do just as she pleases, sheMore sneaks out at night, or simply walks out during the day and doesn't come home till after midnight at times. We live in South Africa, not the safest place to be wondering the streets... She has always had a very strong will and the more I try to oppose her and set boundaries, the worse it seems to get. She seems to see my efforts as a personal challenge. I have tried taking her phone away, locking the doors at night but as I said, she simply leaves during the day or goes straight from school or home... Shes walked out without her phone before.Other than monitoring her 24/7, which is impossible to do, I am at my wits end. When I do message or phone her when she is out, she either ignore me, cuts the call before she answers or switches her phone off completely. Yes, I have spoken and spoken to her about the consequences of her behaviour, I have spoken very candidly to both her and the boy. I don't know what else to do. I am a single Mom of 3, residing with my parents, who do not want to get involved... any advice or insight will be appreciated. Thank you. ?
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      Beyond_desperate I hear how concerned you are about your daughter, and her behavior since she has met this boy.  I’m glad that you’re here reaching out for support.  It’s not unusual that your daughter has not seemed to take your concerns for her safety seriously.  Due  to their development, mostMore teens tend to have a sense of being invulnerable and invincible.  In other words, they tend to have an attitude of “Bad things happen, but not to me-I’m too powerful”.  So, rather than try to get her to see her behavior from your perspective, it could be useful to have a https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior-i-cant-solve-problems/ with your daughter about strategies she can use to follow the rules.  You might also consider using https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/parenting-odd-children-and-teens-how-to-make-consequences-work/ to hold her accountable if she continues to break the rules.  I recognize how scary this must be for you, and I wish you all the best moving forward.  Take care.
  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
    kobebear RebeccaW_ParentalSupport I’m so sorry to hear about your recent discovery of your daughter’s self-harming, and I understand your concern for her.  At this point, it could be useful to work with local supports, such as her doctor or a therapist, to help you develop a plan to keep her safe.More  It could also be useful to find someone to work directly with your daughter to help her learn more appropriate coping skills instead of self-harming when she becomes upset.  If you are not currently working with anyone, try contacting http://www.familylives.org.uk/ at 0808 800 2222.  They might have information on resources available in your area.  I recognize how upsetting this situation must be for you, and I wish you all the best moving forward.  Take care.
  • desperate for help
    How do you handle this behavior when your 9 year old child follows you around screaming and breaking things and calling names? She's been on this road since she was 3. I cannot even lock myself in my room or take a walk because she follows me or kicks andMore bangs on  my door. I've put her in her room but then she breaks things in there. I am a single parent, she is on medication but it doesn't help. I don't have any energy left to handle this. I love her to pieces but I am only one person and I have no outside support. We see a therapist and a psychiatrist. I know my biggest problem is consistency but I'm stretched so thin. We have 3 dogs and a cat and I have absolutely no outlets due to money and time constraints. We are at a point where she refuses to go to school ( but is behaved at school). She refuses to listen to me and when she is calm I do talk to her about being respectful but it goes in one ear and out the other. She often tells me she hates me, wishes me dead, says she doesn't want to live with me, etc. I don't get bent out of shape about that but when she calls me a fucking bitch I do. She's only 9! What will she be like at 13? At times I don't want to be her mom anymore and I feel guilty for feeling that way but I'm mentally and physically exhausted. My ex, her dad, who is not in the picture bc of his chronic abusive alcoholism, treated me the same way she does. She didn't live with him to learn it but she does it none the less. I am in desperate need of help. Sometimes I feel like I might snap.
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      desperate for help I hear you, and it’s understandable that you might be feeling exhausted and drained by this behavior from your daughter.  After all, there’s only so much one person can handle by themselves, and I’m glad that you are here reaching out for support.  Something I urge youMore to keep in mind is that this kind of behavior is not uncommon.  This is because if your daughter can keep you engaged in the power struggle by following you around, banging on doors and calling you names, then she remains in control of the situation.  I’m glad to see that you try your best not to personalize her hurtful comments, and I encourage you to continue to do so.  You might find additional tips in https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/how-to-walk-away-from-a-fight-with-your-child-why-its-harder-than-you-think/.  I also recommend holding your daughter accountable for items she damages or breaks during her outbursts, as outlined in https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/is-your-defiant-child-damaging-or-destroying-property/  Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your daughter.  Take care.
  • Rdj1
    Nothing was given specifically to help
  • kobebear
    My daughter doesn't have a good relationship with my husband. She is 12. Now she says things like you can't tell me what to do. She is 12.  She spends most of her time in her room talking to friends and only comes down for dinner or if we allMore go out as a family. My husband has 2 other children. She is very disrespectful to me and my husband in her attitude and the way she speaks to us. A lot of the time she can be fine and nice and sweet, but when she doesn't get what she wants, we get the you can't tell me what to do, when to eat, when to go to bed etc. I need an idiot's guide on what to say and what to do! PLEASE......
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      kobebear It can be so difficult when your child is acting disrespectfully, and disregarding your authority; I’m glad that you’re here reaching out for support.  It’s common for kids your daughter’s age to start testing boundaries and to prefer the company of friends over parents.  This is an aspect ofMore development called https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/parenting-teens-parental-authority-vs-peer-pressure/, where a child starts to pull away from her family, and create her own identity as an individual in the world.  Backtalk and attitude can be common components of this phase.  It can be useful to focus more on what your daughter is doing, rather than what she is saying.  For example, if she is compliant with what you are telling her to do, focus on that rather than her words.  If she is not following the rules, then you can hold her accountable for that.  You can read more about this in https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/teenagers-talking-back-how-to-manage-this-annoying-behavior/.  Adolescence can be a difficult time for most families, and I hope that you will write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family.  Take care.
  • JenniferKnight
    I live with my ex . He was living in a shitty apartment so let him move back in to help with our teens. However, our teens are now disrespectful towards me because he is. I feel we need to move. What do you think?
    • Aun s

      @RebeccaW- ParentalSupport I hear what you stated here. I agree the teens ought to be responsible for their own behavior. What I don't get is how are they expected to listen to JK if her ex is disrespecting her as well? Don't you think they're ganging up on her? She sought his help w/the teens (assuming he is the father) and extricated him from less than nice living conditions in that apartment.

      Seems to me he took kindness on her part for weakness, and not only is he not helping her but adding to her pathetic situation, making it more than frustrating for her. It's about the parent figures being on the same team rather than conflicting with each other.

      I've always understood that kids learn by example, good example not the contrary. I wish she does follow your recommendation and gets her life settled to where she is happy first and then puts those rebellious teens on the right path. I wish her strength and G'Luck!

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      JenniferKnight I hear you.  It sounds like you are in a tough spot because you wanted to help out your ex with his poor living situation, and now you are dealing with disrespectful behavior from your teens.  Ultimately, the choice about what to do with the current living arrangement isMore going to be yours.  Either way, I encourage you to address your teens’ disrespectful behavior towards you, because they are responsible for their own behavior, regardless of who or what might be influencing them.  You might find our article, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/how-to-respond-to-disrespectful-children-and-teens/, helpful as you move forward.  Please let us know if you have additional questions.  Take care.
  • Carolina0711
    Im having the same problem with my 11 yr old daughter, she is very disrespectful to the point that her teacher had to call me. I dont know were i went wrong. I have always been there as a parent . Now her dad and i dont know whatMore to do . I m so stressed out about the hole situation. Thank Carolina
  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

    Agul78 

    I’m so sorry that you are experiencing these issues with

    your son as well as his father.It’s

    understandable that you would be feeling scared and concerned for your

    son.I encourage you to take his

    statements about not wanting to live seriously.It can be useful to work with someone locally, such as a counselor or

    crisis response services, to help you develop a plan to keep your son

    safe.If you are not currently working

    with anyone, it could be useful to discuss your concerns with your son’s

    doctor, and to ask for local referrals.I recognize how challenging this must be for you, and I wish you all the

    best moving forward.Take care.

  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

    Hayley1978 

    I can only imagine what you must have experienced

    emotionally when your daughter disclosed this information to you, and I’m glad

    that you are reaching out for support.It’s understandable that you would be feeling devastated and overwhelmed

    with everything going on with your daughter.At this point, it could be beneficial to use some local resources to

    help you address these troublesome behaviors.If you are not currently working with anyone, I encourage you to contact

    http://www.familylives.org.uk/ at 0808 800

    2222.I recognize how challenging this

    must be for you, and I wish you and your family all the best moving

    forward.Take care.

  • Luma9183
    Me and my kids are staying with my parents at the moment I have to share a room with my 11 year old daughter she tells me I can't put stuff in her room it's her room my parents don't help any what should I do .
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      Luma9183 

      I hear how challenging this is for you, and I’m glad that you are reaching

      out for support.While it is normal for

      kids your daughter’s age to desire their own space, it doesn’t sound like that

      is possible right now in your current living situation.As James Lehman points out in https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/your-child-is-not-your-equal-why-you-have-to-be-the-boss/, part of being an

      effective parent is setting limits, and following through on enforcing rules

      even if your kids do not agree or like them.Please let us know if you have additional questions. Take care.

    • Supermomwellusually
      Dude! Be the parent. You have to teach people how they are allowed to treat you and most importantly your kids. Kindly explain she does t call the shots you do and she will have to adjust.
  • Birdie04

    A great article.

    I however find myself in a slightly different situation. I have a son turning 8 next week. He is our only child and this far has been respectful. We are not soft parents and follow through with consequences. Just lately, even after a good day my son can talk to me in a calm voice and tell me about the thoughts he's had throughout the day. An example is while learning Japanese, they learn the word ugly and he says it just made him think of me. His latest was last night after a really good day, he tells me that when I shout at him he thinks to himself 'he wishes I was dead'. It's hard not to take it personally and I feel wholeheartedly defeated. I don't know where this is coming from as I have always had such a close relationship with him. I don't know what has changed and why. I would love some direction in terms of methods to deal with the situation. He's not a teen, he is only 8. What's going wrong?

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      Birdie04 

      I hear you. 

      It can be really difficult not to be hurt or take these statements personally,

      especially when they are coming from your child.  It does tend to be more

      effective, though, if you are able to address his statements in a non-emotional

      way.  It’s very likely that these statements are not really about you;

      rather, they are more about your son’s inappropriate skills.  Keep in

      mind, too, that for most kids your son’s age, neither their sense of empathy

      nor their ability to control their impulses tend to be well-developed. 

      You might find some helpful information in our article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/i-hate-you-mom-i-wish-you-were-dead-when-kids-say-hurtful-things/.  Please

      be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your

      family.  Take care.

  • Aun s

    @kelsealynn98, sorry your 15 yr. old brother is being a real paaaaain in the ... like so many boys are at that age. Why do you feel so hopeless, especially given that he is running the gamut? If he didn't act that way maybe you ought to worry. The boys go through that age of confusion, sorting stuff out with puberty and a whole mess of things and need to be helped. They are frustrated and act out if they're not receiving proper guidance. Right now he needs someone like you to be his support system not his adversary. He doesn't need punishment.

    This is where real love and compassionate understanding comes in. You don't want to put on an act because he'll sense a ploy. Try to be as sincere as you can or get a male family member who may be good at that kind of thing. Someone he likes and may listen to. Go with your brother on his lonely ride and let him lean on you or somebody who also has his best interests at heart and wants him to succeed. It's easy for me to say this but it takes planning, hard concentrated effort and kindness to get this done on your part. Don't let him see anyone give up on him just when he needs you guys the most. Come on put your best foot forward, these young boys will succeed, show them how much you care, not by being hard on them. If they take away his privileges you're just giving him the opportunity to show he doesn't care. Heck he'll just show you that he won't even flinch regardless of what you do. To him that's a victory over you all. His acting up is his way of expressing his frustrations and you're just compounding his pain.

    Get everyone together when he's at school and figure out the best course of action along these lines and slowly but surely work on it and he will come around. I wish you guys the best and him to reap the rewards of a caring family, I know you all are. Giving up is the easy way out. Please see this through, you all deserve success as much as he does. There is and always will be success at the end of a long hard journey together.

    You have vested interest in his future and you'll deliver and he'll make you proud. He has his whole life ahead of him and he is eagerly looking up at that huge mountain looming in front of him. Please don't give up on younguns they need you more than you can imagine. Thanks!?

  • kelsealynn98

    Hi everyone! I have a 15 year old brother who refuses to listen to anyone with authority. The year as just stared and he already has late work and he doesn't do his work even if my parents sit him at the table. He completely ignores my mom and she has given up on trying to help him. They often take away his game systems to try and get him to work but it doesn't work at all. He also refuses to do chores around the house and nothing works to help motivate him.

    I am so worried that he wont succeed in life and that my parents will completely give up on him.

    Please help me and my family!

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      kelsealynn98 

      We appreciate you writing in to Empowering Parents and

      sharing your story. I hear how concerned you are about your brother, and how

      much you want to help him.  Because we are a website aimed at helping

      people become more effective parents, we are limited in the advice and

      suggestions we can give to those outside of a direct parenting role. 

      Another resource which might be more useful to you is the Boys Town National

      Hotline, which you can reach by calling 1-800-448-3000, 24/7. They have trained

      counselors who talk with kids, teens and young adults everyday about issues

      they are facing, and they can help you to look at your options and come up with

      a plan.  They also have options to communicate via text, email, and live

      chat which you can find on their website, http://www.yourlifeyourvoice.org/ We wish you

      the best going forward. Take care.

  • Mslost

    Hi i am having a terrible time with my daughter. She is only 12. There were some ugly scenes at my house where she refused to go to her room, screamed and cussed me. She told me its 2016 she doesnt have to listen to me. I told her to stop screaming she is making my son cry (my son is autistic hates loud noises) she wouldnt stop i had to physically remove her out the front door. She told me to shut up etc and i called my mum to come and get her and shes been at my mums for 7 weeks.

    I cant have her back home . Similar events happened before but since shes gone to my mums my family have refused to tell her off for her bad manners and behavior and have made her believe its ok to talk to me like that. They have also spoilt her bought her her own laptop treated her etc. She told them she has been emotionally abused by me for years (she mentions pubishments like no cake and ice cream or pocket money) says that is abuse. My family dont like me because i became muslim and they r trying to get influence over my daughter by basically licking her back side. She doesnt want to come home and i cant have her home as much as i want to resolve things they have made a frankenstein monster out of her.

    She says i must agree to no discipline and i must treat her as an equal to me and listen to HER. Btw i have never hit her. I have spoilt her and its too much to expext any respect now.

  • Yani
    My 17 year old daughter is out of control..I've basically done everything in my power to stop the behavior..but it just gets worst and worst from verbal abuse on her part and physical towards me as well... I simply don't know what to do anymore...i feel stuck ..she's still aMore minor so it's not like i can tell her to get out... Im bullied by her and mistreated... I also have a 12 year old boy so i avoid problems and confrontation with her so that it wont affect him... So at the end by me trying to avoid violence and problems she ends up getting away with things...thinking im scared of her..feeling in charge.. If anyone out there has some knowledge of the steps i should take or advise...please do...
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      @Yani 

      I’m so sorry to

      hear about the abusive behavior you are experiencing with your daughter, and

      I’m glad that you are reaching out for support.  As we often say here,

      there’s no excuse for abuse, and you deserve to be safe from mistreatment in

      your home.  Even though you are still legally responsible for providing for

      her needs, this doesn’t mean that you have to tolerate verbal or physical abuse

      from your daughter, or give up your parental authority.  You might find

      some helpful information on how to effectively address this type of behavior in

      our article, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/signs-of-parental-abuse-what-to-do-when-your-child-or-teen-hits-you/.  I

      recognize how challenging this situation must be for you, and I wish you all

      the best moving forward.  Take care.

  • Aun s

    @Kalavathi, I sense a lot of frustration in your post. First take some time for yourself and then have someone help you with clearly posting what you are overwhelmed with. I see you are constantly preparing meals (cooking) for something in the order of 10 adults?

    What's with all that? Are you expected to wait on them too and pull the plates and do the dishes? Sounds like that's the case.

    Please take some time and express clearly and slowly exactly what you are going through. It's free speech/expression which is your right in this country, ok? So please let us know. Thx!

    • Kalavathi
      I n wan not them to do my work I mean to say that I have no help n support I myself getting very tired even my son know that I am very tired eventhough I help him n do all his things but he disobey my words n insultsMore me he is not understanding my problem he is not showing interest towards his studies I am scared about his studies
  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

    Kalavathi 

    I’m so sorry to

    hear about the issues you are facing with your son, and I’m glad that you are

    reaching out for support.  It’s not uncommon for kids to be well-behaved

    with others, yet be disrespectful to family members at home as Sara Bean points

    out in her article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/angel-child-or-devil-child-when-kids-save-their-bad-behavior-for-you/.  I

    also hear how much his behavior is hurting you, and how you are having thoughts

    about not being alive.  I encourage you to reach out to your doctor about

    these thoughts.  S/he will be able to talk with you about these thoughts,

    as well as provide additional resources for you in your community.  I

    recognize how difficult this is for you right now, and I wish you and your

    family all the best moving forward.  Take care.

    • Kalavathi
      Thanku for ur warm cocern &potty on me I love my children a lot my life is nothing without them but ours is combined family n they r all one but me n my children r kept far n my cosister is their own grand daughter all the work More n caooking for 10 members should be done by me lonely so work pressure is not a big thing to me n my sons behaviour is getting me tensed bcz all the members comments on this issue make a joke on me this thing is making me hurt a lot
  • Sadmom

    My son just turned 18. He has been very mouthy since he was 16, but now that he "an adult" he thinks I can't tell him what to do. He will be starting college in 3 weeks but is living at home.

    When we have an argument he says hurtful things like you should get the mother of the year award. He also uses the b word when we are fighting. I feel so hurt and cry a lot because I feel like he is well taken care of, no he doesn't get everything he wants. We are a 2 parent family and his brother is 14, he doesn't act like this. The 18 yr old has always been very demandING to get what he wants, then when he gets it doesn't follow through on his end,ie like chores. It seems like he is willing to do anything for other people except me. I need some advice !!!! Thanks

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      @Sadmom 

      I hear you. 

      It can hurt so much when your child is speaking to you in a sarcastic,

      demeaning way during an argument.  Something I encourage you to do,

      though, is to try your best https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/disrespectful-child-behavior-dont-take-it-personally/ the things he is saying.  While I recognize that it

      feels very much like a personal attack, chances are that it is not really about

      you; rather, it’s more about your son using these tactics as an ineffective way

      of solving a problem.  I also encourage you to keep in mind that your son

      is an adult at this point, and so anything you decide to provide to him at this

      point is considered a privilege for him and a choice on your part.  This

      includes things like having a place to live, financial assistance, clothing,

      food, and so on.  While this doesn’t mean that you cannot provide these

      things to your son, it can be useful to figure out what your expectations are

      for his behavior while he is living at home, and how you can hold him

      accountable if he is not meeting those expectations.  James Lehman

      outlines how to do this in his articles on adult children; here is the first

      article in the series: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/rules-boundaries-and-older-children-part-i/.  Please let us know if you have

      any additional questions.  Take care.

  • worried parent 111
    How do i guide my 13 year old to avoid misleading friends ?
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      worried parent 111 

      I speak with many

      parents who worry about their teen, and the type of friends s/he is

      making.  This is normal, because adolescence is a time when peers start to

      have greater influence than parents.  The tough part is, in the end, you

      cannot control who your child chooses to have as a friend.  It tends to be

      more effective to focus on the choices your child is making instead. 

      James Lehman outlines this in his article, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/parenting-teens-parental-authority-vs-peer-pressure/.  Thank you for your

      question; take care.

  • Aun s

    Sounds like a lot of 16 yr olds today, sad to say.

    In your case you say he gets his behavior from examples set by your ex husband. If that is in fact the case, you need to find a male member of the family he may respect in a different way than his father, I take it.

    Again lots of unknowns, as in if you're still in touch, whether you have full custody or visitation for you or him, etc, etc.

    Can't really give you proper advice based on these things. Seek counseling together and see how he responds, as long as he doesn't pose a physical threat to you or another sibling. If he's an only child then that has somewhat of a bearing perhaps. Too many kids in a single parent or broken family today are languishing in uncertainty/ insecurity for their future and that's unfortunate and shouldn't be the case in our country. Lots of resources out there but you have to research them to see what fits best. Wish you the best in your efforts and hope you both come out good from this all too common and prevalent problem in today's world.

    Good Luck!

  • wdilego
    My 16 yr old argues with me about every. He grew up veiwing this from my X husband. I try to teach him the correct way to be a productive person in society and respectfull to others. Help there is always a power struggle. It's not name calling its arguments,More who's rite or wrong. Why he did or did not or should not have done something. As if I'm not the parent.
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      wdilego 

      I speak with many

      parents who describe constant power struggles with their teen, so you are not

      alone in dealing with this!  One of the things I often talk about with

      parents is that the most effective way to address power struggles is to pick

      your battles, and to choose not to engage after you have set a limit. 

      While he may have witnessed this behavior from your ex-husband, your son is

      ultimately the one who is responsible for choosing to argue with you now. 

      James Lehman outlines some tips on addressing power struggles in his articles https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/power-struggles-part-i-are-you-at-war-with-a-defiant-child/ and https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/avoiding-power-struggles-with-defiant-children-declaring-victory-is-easier-than-you-think/.  Please let us know if you have any additional questions. 

      Take care.

  • Aun s

    mdurki01, do not give up or show it in front of him. Be strong and seek counseling. I don't know enough of the other contributing factors to offer advice. You're both obviously worth saving, based on the fact that you're reaching out. Just need professional advice.

    Good Luck!

  • mdurki01
    my 14 year old is mean and cruel to me  He always says mean things to me no matter how hard I try to be nice to him
  • mdurki01
    my 14 year is very rude is always critical no matter how I try,  Sometimes I feel he will physically hurt me.  I am so tired I feel lke leaving my home
  • Web Webster

    Lehman hits the nail on the head when she stated, "Some of it can be chalked up to the fact that our culture—movies,

    music, internet sites and television—often glorifies disrespectful,

    crude or even cruel behavior." Further the way we are headed it will get even worse before it gets better. Actually, teen shows like those on "Disney teen TV series", paint kids as the "all wise" and adults as "stupid" with very little sense and parents in need of correction. These become the "role models". Role reversal is popular and sells in advertising, particularly Disney's own products and services. What a waste, given talented script writers working with top notch professionals, great stories could be leading our society. I think this is really what Walt had in mind and intended for his brand, but it has evolved into what you see today. Parents let the media (maybe unknowingly) baby set their kids who eventually turn into tweens and teens, and by the time they are older have been exposed to thousands of hours of quite a bit of thinking "disrespect is cool". Disney is one example. YOUTUBE can be hyper aggressive with very little parent control. Kids can watch teens chug beer anytime. My research has shown that kids in countries that allow a lot violence to be depicted in media their kids turn out to commit the most horrendous  crimes and have grown to expect this as common place. I think kids today get a lot of mixed messages, one message from parents who want and expect the best, and the totally glorified opposite from "liberal progressive" media. Kids love to be engaged having the right kind of "fun activities"--swimming, running barefoot in the park, flying kites, experiencing great hobbies and the love of reading. As parents it is our job to exploit and nurture that fact, keeping them engaged. We have lost the joys of just being a kid. Smother them with love.

    • Morepieplease
      @Web Webster Oh brother, Web.  The problem comes more from conservative parents who swear that if they just whip children more, especially in school, ask the church to "take the wheel," and teaches them not to worry about hurting other people's feelings or to have anything to do with howMore Jesus taught people to treat other people.  We watched cartoons where Bugs Bunny was dropping pianos on people, or other cartoon violence, and we weren't turned into violent bat carrying thugs...at least not all of us.  Don't put the responsibility for how your kid turned out on media to massage your guilt.  Your post put the responsibility on everyone but the kid.  They know right from wrong by what they learned at home and by what YOU allowed.  Sure, quite a few rebel, but that's not everyone else's fault; that's the child's choice.
  • Douglas

    My 16 year old daughter is exhausting my wife and I for what seems the last 10 years of our life. The disrespect is horrible. Doesn't care to be on-time to high school was this mornings incident. After my morning shower my wife asks if I will take daughter to school, my response was "she's not at school"? She overslept again (we wake her up 2+ hours before start of school, she chooses to be slow in getting ready). I walked out to kitchen, I said " why are you still home" she said I slept in this morning and I said "On a school day"? Her response was I  hate you, go away, go to your room, leave leave. She basically is a bully. This is a small sample of my daily life. 

    We recently took her to be evaluated, waiting on follow-up visit once the insurance is processed.

    As sad as it sounds, I look forward to her moving out.

    BTW - she has 2 older sisters (25, 21) who are no longer at home, they have tried to talk to her as well with no success. Is there a magic wand somewhere?

    • Morepieplease
      @Douglas Nope...you have to just do what you can.  Ask her if she plans on actually graduating.  Maybe the answer is a GED or home schooling where shefinishes the work on her own.  If she chooses that route, she needs to get a part time job too.  If she choosesMore to do NOTHING, there is nothing you can do, except...you can remove everything but her bed from her room.  You are required to give her a roof and food until 17, then she can move on and choose her own life.  Time to accept you've done what you could, and she is making hard choices.  Just leave the door open for loving visits.
    • Carol
      My son is turning 14 in a few weeks and this is his exact behaivor. We talk and we talk to him but he doesn't seem to retain what we say. We are at a loss and my husband and I are scared because we feel it is only goingMore to get worse. My son is also AD/HD.
  • Leele
    Hi. My 12 year old son has gone from a loving, thoughtful, considerate well mannered boy, to a rude, argumentative, eye rolling intruder! I want my son back? I'm reign so hard to be patient but my patience is wearing thin...
    • Morepieplease
      Leele Me too...and it hurts my feelings!  I gotta step back, set the rules, and try not to kiss his spoiled behind wanting to be his friend.
  • Shaz
    I have a 17 year old Son who thinks it's ok for his girlfriend to stay each day after school until gone 1030pm and to eat dinner whether invited or not. I have tackled him numerous times and it's not getting through. Help!
    • Morepieplease
      @Shaz It's your house.  Tell him NO.  He'll have her move in and insist on your wallet and car next!
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      @Shaz  

      It’s challenging

      when your child continues to break the rules, despite numerous conversations

      about your expectations.  The truth is, most teens and parents disagree

      about the appropriate amount of time for teens to spend with their friends and

      dating partners, and it’s quite common for most teen couples to want to spend

      every waking moment together.  This does not mean that you are powerless

      in this situation, however.  One suggestion is to have a https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior-i-cant-solve-problems/ with your son about how he going to follow your rules, even if

      he doesn’t agree with them.  It can also be helpful to talk about times

      when your son can see his girlfriend, and to keep the focus on his behavior and

      choices, as James Lehman discusses in his article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/does-your-child-have-toxic-friends-6-ways-to-deal-with-the-wrong-crowd/ 

      I hear how frustrating this is for you, and I wish you all the best as you move

      forward.  Take care.

  • amey12
    Thank you for your advice & experience.Now i learn a lot by reading article DeniseR post.now i started to convince him and i know my final decision even if it is hard for him to accept.i follow the handling procedure.thank you again for your advice.
  • Aun s

    @amey12

    No one has the perfect answer but yes, it is a tricky question. Not knowing any of the facts, other than what you have put forth here I'm going to attempt to offer some suggestions. If there is no father figure it makes it more challenging, since girls find comfort and solace in having one.

    Boys on the other hand cherish mother's attention. This is not always the case but holds interestingly true often times.

    One thing I believe is that there is a disconnect between parents and their children in today's busy and chaotic life. It takes some dedicated work in order to bring order into the family unit. Strong mother/father relationships are a great cohesive ingredient. If one or the other is somehow absent in their young formative and impressionable years then one parent must try to fulfill both roles with some amount of balance in it. Perhaps an older family member such as an aunt or uncle can help.

    Most families with issues lack one thing. You can guess what it is. Yes, communication through clear channels emanating with kindness yet tough love at the same time. It is a juggling act and by no means easy. Also take the advice from sources Denise the moderator referred you to.

    Experts in these areas proven over time have offered their advice and reading up and understanding the essence of what they are saying can be comforting as well as empowering.

    I wish you all the luck and fortitude as well as success. It's obvious you care very much or you wouldn't have written in.

    Please see it through and stay in touch. You could offer others advice sometimes about success and failure as well. Take care and be strong and persistent. Believe me it's a very worthy cause and we must all invest in our beautiful youngsters despite their rebellious nature.

    Today's world is so fraught with confusion, distraction and misguided opinions that it's mind boggling.

    Again Good Luck!

  • amey12

    I have a 13 years old son.in his study he was good.This year he got an acceptance in christian school which i applied for the last 5 years.the class he was get an acceptance was by reputing this year.he is learning in private school which is expensive fees.The reason why he join this school 5 years back was hoping that one day he will get this christian school and as the curriculum is the same thinking that easy for him to cope up.But now he was very sad and start yelling.fighting with his brother and ignoring me.am try to explain that we have been waiting to get this new school for the last 5 years and finally we got it and we don't have to miss the chance.but he said you spend more money for staff which is not relevant like car,house clothe and etc.i relay want this new school even if he repeat because it also have a big opportunity for his sibling.And also i cant afford to pay the bill for the next 4 years.But my son didn't want to hear all the detail.He only disagree.what to do to handle this case.need your comments

    amey12

    • dutymom
      amey12 I also have a daughter that I wish dearly would accept to go to the Christian School that my son goes to.I tried it once and she made it hard for principal teachers and wasnt doing homework so when public school started up I put her in. she hasMore otten into some trouble and her attitude towards me is very rude.I hop to come up with something over the summer to keep her out of public school but I am learning that being forceful with her is causing her to rebel even more and I wouldnt mind that if I had a plan that would work.probably nothing to help you but just sharing my struggle. Good luck and God Bless.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      amey12

      You ask a tough question. Unfortunately I’m not going to be

      able to offer you any advice to help you get your son to agree. Truthfully, he

      can disagree with your decision. As his parent, your job is to determine what

      is going to be best for your son. And, while it would certainly make things easier

      if he did agree that the new school was the best choice for him, trying to make

      him agree is most likely going to result in a power struggle. It’s going to be

      more effective to focus on what steps you need to take in order to move

      forward. You may find the articles https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/disrespectful-kids-how-to-get-your-child-or-teen-to-behave-with-respect/ & https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/5-of-the-hardest-things-parents-face-how-to-handle-the-most-challenging-parenting-issues/. We appreciate you writing in and hope you will check back

      to let us know how things work out. Take care.

  • Aun s

    Feel your pain @ Snoop69. I have a tendency to revert back to my British boarding school life in the 50s/60s era. We used to traditionally settle our differences behind the Chapel on the BS (boarding school) grounds. The Staff and Prefects typically spectated and we etched the names of the guys involved on the back wall of the Chapel. It all went down pretty well back then and I can relate to your 12 yr old when he says he'd be called a loser/wuss what have you.

    I don't recommend walking away either but unfortunately if he sees that being 'smart or diplomatic' is not his style you, the adult ought to show him how to do that when you're in a similar situation. Even if it's in a role play scenario. He must know that you would do as you say and are willing to go the distance to show him how to stay out of trouble sorta. I don't know what else to say in today's lopsided world.

    Children need our total support and they must learn to think smart in order to survive the ups and downs life throws at them. Resourcefulness is not the easiest thing to coach them in. Understand that they tend to learn better by example than by being told.

    Show him tough love but in a loving, caring and sensitive way. He will come around if you put in the time and put it in tirelessly. It's a long term investment which involves building blocks and can't happen overnight. You have a vested interest in his younger years and if you're lucky he will come into his own sooner rather than later. Sorry, but there is no easy way. So, pull up your socks, roll up your sleeves and be his doubles partner as if in a Tennis or Pickleball match. By the way involvement in sports is always good under proper guidance/instruction.

    In the end, I wish you the best because it's not just a matter of luck but fortitude.

  • Snoop69
    I have a 12 year old son who has gotten into 2 fights at school with one resulting in 5 days of out of school suspension. I tried to explain the seriousness of his behavior and how his consequences and actions will lead to more severe punishment. I tried toMore tell him to be the bigger person and just walk away. He told me he would be called a coward and/or wuss. What should I do. He talks back and is very disrespectful and is not appreciative of what is given or said to him. Should I consider counseling or what?
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      Snoop69

      Counseling could be one way of helping your son learn more

      effective coping skills. Another option you may not have considered is having

      problem solving conversations with him. From what you have written, it sounds

      like you have talked with him about his choices and suggested walking away as a

      way of managing the situation. It doesn’t seem like this is a workable solution

      for your son. You could ask him what else he might be able to do instead of

      getting into a fight. You can check out the two part article series  https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/aggressive-child-behavior-part-i-fighting-in-school-and-at-home/ & https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/aggressive-child-behavior-part-ii-7-tools-to-stop-fighting-in-school-and-at-home/ for

      more ideas on managing this troubling behavior. Best of luck to you and your

      son moving forward. Take care.

  • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

    punji

    I am sorry to hear your family is facing these struggles. It

    can be upsetting when your sibling doesn’t seem to care about his education as

    much as the rest of the family does. He’s lucky to have a brother who is

    concerned about him and wants to find help for dealing with the situation.

    Because we are a website aimed at helping parents develop more effective ways

    of managing acting out behavior, we are limited in the coaching and advise we

    are able to offer you. There is a website that may be able to help though. http://www.yourlifeyourvoice.org/ is a

    website that focuses on helping kids, teens, and young adults work through

    challenges they may be facing. They offer help in many different ways, such as

    by e-mail, text, on-line chat, and by phone. I encourage you to check out the

    site to see what they have to offer. We appreciate you writing in and wish you the

    best of luck moving forward. Take care.

  • Demetrice austin
    I have an 10 year old who as add/ADHD he is very disrespectful he lies and steals and don't listen to nothing I have to say he hits on his sisters and fights in school and always kicked out of school he not allowed at family members house ... SchoolMore want allow him unless he as his meds ... I need help
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      Demetrice austin

      I hear you.an

      be so upsetting when a child’s behavior impacts both school and home. For the

      most part, it is going to be more effective if you focus on the behaviors that

      are happening at home while allowing school to handle the behaviors that happen

      there. This doesn’t meant there isn’t anything you can do to help him out at

      school. One thing you might consider is finding out if he is eligible for

      Special Education Services. A parent usually will have to file specific forms

      with the school before he can be evaluated. You school department’s Special Services Director

      would be able to outline what steps you would need to take in order to have him

      evaluated for eligibility. We also have a couple articles that may offer you

      more ideas for what you can do to help your son: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/why-school-is-hard-for-kids-with-adhd-and-how-you-can-help/ & https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/my-childs-behavior-is-so-bad-where-do-i-begin-how-to-coach-your-child-forward/.

      Best of luck to you and your family moving forward. Take care.

  • Katrina
    I have a 16 daughter who want to do what she wants after school I tell her to come home first instead she goes to a friend house. I call her to check on her she picks up around 4 and tells me she on her way. Now it's 6More she still not home I call her again no answer. She text me I'm coming. I call her right back after the text and asked her why she didn't pick up the phone she don't know. She comes home around 8 like with a smile on her face. I tells her she nod to come home after school instead of running the street. I take her phone and I pod and tell her she can't go outside tomorrow. What do I do her her. Her father left when she was 3 and moved to GA she visits in the summer plus she gets good grades it just she want to do what she want to do when she want to do it. Any advise
    • tmartis32

      @Katrina,

      I too have been faced with this with my 15yr old daughter(it started when she was 11yr old). First and foremost, not to over step any boundaries or be rude but your family may need counseling. With her father out of the picture (Im in the same situation and just found out recently) you're daughter is going through abandonment issues. They call it Child Abandonment Syndrome for my daughter(s) and she needs to have positive methods to cope with the internal feelings she has towards you, herself and how relationships (partners/love interets) its an ongoing process that my family is struggling with. I wish you all the luck, it is hard to raise our children today with all the outside and inside factors they face. -Tara

    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      @Katrina

      It’s normal for teens to want to spend time with their

      friends after school. During this stage of development, friendships and peer

      groups become very important and most kids do want to spend the majority of their

      time interacting with people the

      relate to. As long as your daughter isn’t getting into trouble or isn’t letting

      her school work slide, it may be more effective to allow her a little more

      freedom by setting a specific curfew. For information on how to set a curfew,

      you can check out the articles https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/teen-curfewsshould-you-ever-negotiate/ & https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/establishing-curfews-how-to-set-and-stick-with-them/. You could also set an expectation that your daughter

      check in after school so you know she’s alright. I hope this helps to give you

      some ideas for moving forward. Be sure to check back if you have any further

      questions. Take care.

  • JudyBumgardnerGarmany
    I thought I was all alone with my grandson,who will turn 15 in may,my husband and I have taken things personally ,until I read your information,He is mouthy,short ,smart,but you are so right about how to handle these children ,not to fall into their power struggles.and no doubt it isMore hard ,we have to be ready for them in a calm ,cool way,don't argue with them,I'm 72 and we are living in a very different world today ,thank you so much for your advice and knowledge.
  • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

    Teenager

    I can hear how distressed this situation makes you. It may

    be helpful to reach out the http://www.yourlifeyourvoice.org/Pages/home.aspx,

    an online support service staffed with counselors specially trained to help

    teens and young adults through challenges they may be facing. They offer

    support in a variety of ways, such as by telephone, e-mail, text, and online

    forum. There is even an online chat that is available at certain times of the

    day. I encourage you to visit their site to see what they have to offer. You

    can also call 1-800-448-3000 24 hours a day to speak with a counselor. We

    appreciate you writing in. Best of luck to you moving forward. Take care.

  • Alma05
    Hello i have 16 yrs old son he change he actitud is very dificult talk to him i feel no safe hi very angry he very demand i have food at home and he want restaurant food i cant do that i buy what he like and everymorning  he wantMore outside food i cant, i support my Mother in my country her health is very weeck she is in the Hospital we have not insurrance ther he complaint why i support my Mother and no what he want i can handle no more
    • Dr Dunn
      Your child is a child no more. He is old enough to have a job and responsibilities. He is old enough to be respectful and understanding. If he can't meet these simple household expectations, and he is unable to be less disrespectful, then it is time to come up withMore an exit plan. The law states that you need only give him, food and drink (not from restaurants), clothes to wear on his back (not brand name clothes) and a roof over his head (not a mansion filled with treats). The problem with your sons attitude is a common one amongst the youth of today. They are under the influence of social media and commercialism by famous people who project negative influence onto the youth, causing them to have a sense of entitlement to anything their caregivers have. The less you make any teenager earn, the more likely they will be to take advantage of you (like they are able to learn from most tv shows), and they will also become very angry when you don't give them exactly what they want. He is no longer a child. In two short years legal adulthood begins. In any other country, he would most likely be the head of a household of his own children by now. An exit plan does mean you have to kick him out, it means it's time to show him what all the adult world consists of: meal plans, weekly and monthly bills, deadlines and CONSEQUENCES. your child should not be ruling you or your household. You are the parent, so make that clear. Just because he may have a cell phone or a game system or anything luxurious that you're footing the bill for, does not mean that you cannot take it from him as a consequence for being disrespectful or lazy. It's time to give him some grown up consequences and responsibilities. But let me tell you now, based on his inability to be more understanding of your mothers situation, he is going to have complete disregard for human life when he starts driving and is on the road. That is something to be worried about. Teenagers do not understand the value of human life when they are at this particular maturity level.
  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

    Ampowers99 

    I’m so sorry to hear about the challenges you are

    experiencing with your daughter, and I recognize how much you want to turn her

    behavior around.  In general, we do not recommend getting into physical

    power struggles, or trying to physically force your child to comply.  This

    is because it often leads to situations becoming more escalated, as you have

    seen with your daughter.  In addition, I strongly encourage you to work

    with local supports, such as law enforcement or your local crisis response

    service, so you can develop a plan to effectively and safely address her statements

    of wanting to die.  While I do not know of any specific programs in your

    area, one good starting point might be to contact the 211 Helpline at

    1-800-273-6222 or by visiting http://www.211.org 

    211 is a service which connects people to local resources in their community,

    many of which are free, low-cost, or available on a sliding scale.  I

    realize the difficulties you are facing, and I wish you and your family all the

    best as you continue to move forward.  Take care.

  • MichelleS66

    My daughter turned 18.  I had an amazingly difficult marriage with her father and was relieved that we eventually got divorced.  We were together for almost 20 years.  My kids especially my son acted out immediately and we got him under control before going to high school my daughter however never showed any feelings or was not visibly affected.  I married again after 2 years to a wonderful man whom absolutely adores me and loves me unconditionally, something that does not happen often.  My daughter never had a relationship with her father and he tried everything to build a relationship with her.

    We moved away and then things started to go haywire.  End of our first year away, she started acting up and being difficult.  She just wanted and demanded and constantly blamed me for her problems.  We sat down with her numerous times and talked about her attitude until my husband could not take her attitude anymore and scolded her and made a list of rules for her to follow.  She blew up and told him off and has not spoken to him since

    I hate every minute of it and although she will be leaving school and home by the end of the year, it makes living together an absolute nightmare.  I do not like or rather detest fights, I am soft and gentle and tried to instill those qualities in my child, and now she is the complete opposite and tries anything to shock and hurt me.  She loves my misery. 

    When I talk to her she says its preaching,  Everything I highlight is my fault, today it is God's fault that she is not clever enough to pass math.  She is very bright and intelligent had her tested.  She just does not want to make an effort.

    As the kids say today, I am now over it. So completely over it.  I love my daughter and prayed we will have a wonderful relationship and her stepfather will be an awesome example of how a husband should treat his wife.  To no avail.

    I must admit,  I don't like her at the moment at all.

  • holly0413
    Ive been with my gf for 4 yrs. she has two kids a girl 9 and a boy 15. The girl is always disrespectful towards me and her fathers gf and even back talks her mom. Its getting out of control and I cannot take it anymore. today I toldMore my gf im leaving for a few days to get some space. she in return told me she will never choose between her child and me which I never asked her to do btw. Neither the mom (my gf)  or the father has rarely ever disciplined them so now its hard to start. What can I do?
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      holly0413 

      Being in a blended family can be

      difficult at times, even under ideal circumstances.  It can become more

      challenging when you feel as though you are being disrespected by your

      partner’s child, and you feel unsupported by your partner.  Ultimately,

      you are in charge of setting and enforcing your own boundaries, and figuring

      what you will, and will not tolerate in your relationships.  At this

      point, it could be useful to work with someone locally to figure out what your

      next steps might be.  If you are not currently working with anyone, one

      option might be contacting the 211 Helpline at 1-800-273-6222 or http://www.211.org  211 is an information and

      referral service which connects people with services in their local community,

      such as marriage and family therapists and support groups.  I recognize

      how difficult this situation is for you, and I wish you all the best moving

      forward.  Take care.

  • Aun s

    K7101, firstly let me say that these 10 & 8 yr. old boys could be acting out. These are learned behaviors and picked up from others they see do the same things successfully. If that's the right word. I struggle w/that word control as well. Yes, I understand parents have the upper hand or ought to with little children that age. I don't believe you've lost the upper hand yet.

    Sit down with them and explain that you've tried to be nice as a parent ought to be. By the way you sound like you've given them too much slack and not been firm with them. I could be wrong but kindness is often confused for weakness, especially w/younger kids. They're at an impressionable age and mimic others behavior, be it good or bad. Usually the bad stuff. You know, it's not easy by any means and it can hurt your feelings more than theirs, if you show them some appropriate tough love.

    By the way it's never too late! Never, yes. Believe me, the earlier the better. Can you imagine, if they go unchecked this way what it'll be like when they're older? Take that challenge now by grabbing the bull by the horns. If you have a male or female friend to help (strength in numbers) team up on them. Someone they might also listen to.

    Consider the fact that they hear a monotone from the same person constantly.

    Best of luck. Let us know how it's working out. Cheers!

  • K7101

    Hi, I have two boys, ages 10 and 8. They have been so disrespectful towards me, even calling me names and mimicking me! I am "that mom"'who does so much for them, yet get no

    Respect at all! I am so upset and saddened by it. I don't know what to do and how to do it the right way! I feel so help let in my own home! I feel they've won the battle and I lost control, but I cannot let this continue! Help! :(

    K

    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      K7101

      It can be heartbreaking when your children are disrespectful

      and defiant. After all, I’m sure you do everything you can to make sure they’re

      happy and well provided for. It’s not really a personal attack, even though I’m

      sure it probably feels that way at times. It’s not uncommon for parents to

      personalize their children’s behavior. However, learning not to personalize

      your sons’ behaviors can help you to take a step back and develop more

      effective ways of responding to the behavior. Carole Banks gives some great

      tips for doing this in her article  https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/disrespectful-child-behavior-dont-take-it-personally/. I hope you find the information

      useful. Good luck to you and your family moving forward. Take care.

    • Aun s

      First look inside, remember how you were when you were a kid. Perhaps you were a good kid and remember what your parents said and did. Whatever recollection you have can be valuable. Today's world is vastly different with so many distractions, peer pressure and on and on. One thing must remain common and constant. Good behavior doesn't get rewarded but expected and bad behavior brings consequences. It's referred to as tough love, so it follows that there must be weak love as well.

      The only love is 'tough' love. It doesn't mean you don't care and you you don't care but, on the contrary it means you love them enough to care

  • Colaianni6
    I have a 14 soon to be 15 yr old daughter that I have recently caught texting sexual messages to a young man at school. They were very disturbing. my husband and I sat down with that next day after school and talked through the situation. She had began toMore tell us it was a joke. I was shocked. I then took the phone away and told her that was inappropriate to talk like that and do not want to see that again. I do not understand the behavior and language that she is using in conversations with friends. Can u advise me please.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      Colaianni6

      How distressing! I can hear how upset you are with your

      daughter’s choice to send inappropriate texts to a classmate. Unfortunately,

      this behavior is all too common among teens. Teens and young adults view

      virtual communication through text and social media very differently than most

      adults. For them, it is akin to a private conversation so they tend to use

      language that is much more familiar to them. That doesn’t mean the behavior is

      OK though. We have several articles that address this very topic. Here are a

      couple you may find helpful: https://www.empoweringparents.com/blog/teens-and-sexting-how-to-take-back-control-of-technology/ & https://www.empoweringparents.com/blog/sexting-social-networking-and-cyberbullying-top-5-rules-to-keep-kids-cybersafe-this-summer/. I hope you find this information useful. We appreciate you writing

      in and wish you all the best of luck moving forward. Take care.

  • Aun s

    Try a 30 yr old adult adopted daughter, with a trashy mouth that needs to be soapsudded out w/a pressure washer. Friends wife supports that daughter even when she is rude, loud, trashy and just plain ignorant to the max. He believes she is prime ghetto trash and the worst part is she has three beautiful kids from two different fathers. She acts like she owns them and lays out the rules.

    If things don't go her way she wishes he were dead, gone from her life etc.etc.etc.

    The kids ought not to be subjected to this and deserve much, much better. I know he is a wonderful grandfather and cares about the boys even more now that this so called daughter mouthed off to him wishing all that stuff. He reached out to her and took her literally out of a trash can through the adoption agency 30 yrs ago, when she was discarded. So much for that. The children must not put up w/ this loser daughter.

    That's all!

  • Jinny jane
    We're having problems with our 12yr old daughter. She has no respect for myself or her Dad. Her language to me is shocking using words most adults won't use, we've taken her phone, pad and TV away, she thinks saying sorry fixes everything (but never means it).  She thinks byMore being quiet for 5mins means she can have them back!!! Her Dad has just taken her make up away.... Complete meltdown!!! She has attacked me, she does nothing when we ask or expects me to help her!!!  Getting to our wits end... I love her but don't enjoy being around her.
  • A mom who is sad
    Can't do much when your odd teen couldn't care less about life,what you say,and angry most times. Can't do much when they don't want to talk with you,all I do is pray and try to seek peace like that.
  • A mom who is sad
    I'm in the same boat I'm a single mom with zero help from anyone my 17 all he wants to do is sleep, go to his friend, smoke weed and thats it! Trying to not feel guilty is hard he currently does home school (due to an Injury he gotMore in December)im at the end of my rope,I have experienced the disrespect from him,breaking stuff, yelling,swearing e.t.c. he displays a behavior of 'entitlement' he refuses to take responsibility, he won't talk to me about his feelings (most teens are like that) but that's no excuse. All I can do is pray and hope he will see he is wrecking his life.
  • Phoenix 33

    I am at my wits end with my 8 year old. He can go from sweetness and light one second to the devil then next. He is rude, obnoxious, doesn't follow instructions and is not adverse to hitting/kicking me or throwing stuff around. He is a total Angel at school and when I tried to ask his teacher for advice she was totally dumbfounded! I am too scared to let him play at friends houses in case he has one of his 'turns' and going into shops etc can be a total minefield. He also gets incredibly angry if you hurt him or break something totally by accident yet he understand accidents perfectly when they are his fault.

    He is a clever boy and I'm worried about our future relationship if this continues and the strain he puts on my relationship with his sister. As a teacher of teenagers you'd have thought I could deal with an 8 year old :-(

  • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

    Exhaustedandconcerned

    It sounds like you and your wife have been dealing with some

    tough behaviors for quite awhile now. I can only imagine how overwhelming and

    exhausting this must be. From what you have written, it sounds like the other

    parent has had a negative influence on your stepson’s behavior. Unfortunately,

    that is not an uncommon occurrence. Truthfully, there isn’t much you can do

    about what the other parent

    says or does in his home. You can only control what goes on within your home.

    Developing a culture of accountability is a good first step. Megan Devine

    explains what this is in her article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/how-to-create-a-culture-of-accountability-in-your-home/. Because there is so

    much acting out behavior going on, it’s going to be most productive to pick one

    behavior to focus on at a time. We would suggest starting with any behavior that

    poses a safety risk, such as physical abuse or property damage. We have several

    articles that offer tips and techniques for managing these types of behaviors.

    Two in particular you may find helpful are https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/anger-rage-and-explosive-outbursts-how-to-respond-to-your-child-or-teens-anger/

    & https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/signs-of-parental-abuse-what-to-do-when-your-child-or-teen-hits-you/. Good luck

    to you and your family moving forward. Take care.

  • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

    @Annabelle23

    It sounds like you have been dealing with quite challenging

    behaviors for some time now. I can understand your distress. It is going to be

    important to work closely with your daughter’s counselor around any possible

    self harm issues that may be going on. You want to be sure to have a clear plan

    for what you will do if she again tries to harm herself with knifes or pills.

    It’s also going to be important to have a clear plan in place for when she

    tries to harm other family members, as James Lehman suggests in the article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-lost-children-when-behavior-problems-traumatize-siblings/ . This plan can

    include having other family members leave the house and going to a safe place, to calling police if she becomes violent or

    destructive. It may be helpful to contact your local crisis response to talk

    with someone about developing a safety plan you can implement in escalated

    situations. The http://www.211.org/ can give you

    information on crisis response in your area. You can reach The Helpline 24

    hours a day by calling 1-800-273-6222. We wish you and your family the best of

    luck moving forward. Take care.

  • Guest
    I have a 13 yr old daughter that is completely rude,disrespectful, she is also a liar and she sneaks. We have literally taken everything from her,iPod,computer, etc ,she never gets to go hang out with her friends or do anything fun as a teen her age should be able toMore do. We still have the same problem's nothing changes. I do have to admit that we get pulled in to alot of arguments with her,because we are so dumbfounded that she really doesn't care how she treat us. She might have one good day then expect for us to give her some reward for it. I and my husband are at a loss, I literally hate even being around her, which is sad I know,but the truth. We are tired and don't know what else to do....any advice would be appreciated!!!
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      @Guest

      I can hear your frustration. It can be tough to know what to

      do when it seems like you’ve tried everything and nothing is changing.

      Unfortunately,  you really can’t punish a child to better behavior and

      what usually happens when you take away all of a child’s privileges is the

      child gives up. From your daughter’s perspective, there’s no motivation to

      behave better or make different choices. You may find it more productive to

      focus on changing one behavior at a time, as Carole Banks explains in the

      article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/my-childs-behavior-is-so-bad-where-do-i-begin-how-to-coach-your-child-forward/.

      Another article you may find useful is https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/disrespectful-child-behavior-dont-take-it-personally/. I hope you find the information

      in the articles helpful for your situation. We appreciate you writing in. Take

      care.

  • Love4
    My son is 9 years old and he is a gifted student. Most of the time he doesn't like to apply himself and I normally have to be on him about that. In school he's a great kid and is very loved by all the faculty and staff. His grandmotherMore is also the school resource officer at the school. It just seems like with every passing year he talks back more and more. His father is not really active in his life, but he has a step father who's been in his life since he was 5 years old. Normally, I can discipline him on my own if he talks back after I told him not to go in the kitchen for any more juice. But since I also live with my mother she always intervenes and that kind of throws him off. He feels as if once I tell him something he can go and ask his grandmother. Recently he's been saying 8pm is not a suitable time for him to go to bed and has been staying up until 9-10pm no matter how many times I've said go to sleep or I've taken away his privileges and being extremely tired for school the next morning. He has told his grandmother who takes him to school since he can't bring toys to school like the other kids (which they are not suppose to) he will take his scooter to school instead. He has no respect for his uncles or myself when told to put something away or he can't do something. He also has a habit of not listening in public as well. I'm at my wits end because he had 2 previous incidents where he was told no about having extra snacks and went ahead and stole snacks. The sneaking things and talking back has to stop. I just need a good strategy because nothing seems to be working.
    • Exhaustedandconcerned

      I was that kid. It's about control. He's highly intelligent, but more than likely scattered in his attentions.

      Be a part of his education - go further than you are now. Guide him, open up some democracy for him-- learn to appropriate control to him in the right way.

      And get super interested in his academic side. Show him examples of people with successful game plans--- step by step. He needs it, his iq surpasses his emotional coping skills.

      Start helping him build a bigger picture for his life- a plan, a goal. Make it fun. Laugh with him. Mean it.

      My parents adopted me, I was classified gifted at age three - advance edu, all the bells and whistles.

      They had no idea what to do, and kept a distance, figuring I would become a doctor or scientist all on my own. Bad mistake-- left to my own devices, I could not cope, or get the reigns in my hyper active mind. No model of a game plan. None.

      As a parent, I'm still trying to cope with the lack of guidance.

  • Reika
    Thank you for the article but it has very little real advice on WHAT to do. I have a child who doesn't care about rewards and consequences, and every time he's angry he shouts "I want you to die". We've tried ignoring it , laughing at it , takingMore his privileges away - all in vain. He is only 7 and doesn't have a phone , iPad , computer or anything like that. We can't leave him alone when we go somewhere and he knows that. If we do and he wants to go with us , he'll just leave the entrance door open and go downstairs, so we always have to be around . What do you think we should do about this situation?
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      @Reika

      I hear you. It can be tough to know what to do when it seems

      like nothing you do has any effect on your child’s behavior. It may help to

      know that it’s not

      uncommon for a child to say mean, hurtful things to his mom or dad when he’s

      upset or angry. At 7, your son has a low tolerance for frustration and limited

      skills for dealing with that frustration effectively. One approach we find to

      be effective is setting the limit and then walking away. For example, when your

      son makes statements like “I hate you” or “ I want you to die”, you can respond

      with “Don’t talk to me that way. I don’t like it” or “It’s not OK to talk to me that way” and then

      walk away. You can go back after things have calmed down and problem solve with

      him ways he can handle the situation more appropriately in the future. For more

      information on how to do this, you can check out the article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior-i-cant-solve-problems/.

      It’s  also going to be important to hold your son accountable for his

      behavior. We find task oriented consequences to be a good way of doing that. In

      your situation this might mean loss of a favorite toy until your son can go for

      an hour or two without saying those things. Megan Devine explains task oriented

      consequences in greater detail in her article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/using-consequences-to-maintain-your-parental-authority/. We appreciate you writing

      in and hope you will check back to let us know how things are going. Take care.

  • Guest
    I have been in a relationship for over 4 years.  I have a 14 year old boy and my boyfriend has a soon to be 12 year old girl.  His daughter is rude and disrespectful to both of us and he doesn't seem to think it's an issue.  It is. More I feel uncomfortable in my own home because she does and says whatever she wants.  My son understands it's not right, but my boyfriend just says she's being a kid.  I can't go on like this for 6 more years!  He knows this bothers me, but by not doing anything about it he is being just as disrespectful as she is.  Any tips on how to make him see what this is doing to her and the entire family?
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      @Guest

      It can be so incredibly difficult to parent with someone and

      support them when it often feels like you are not on the same page, let alone

      in the same book. You and your partner are clearly having some difficulty

      meeting in the middle on consequences for your stepdaughter’s behavior. James

      Lehman does suggest that in blended family situations such as this, you allow

      the biological parent to take the lead on setting limits and giving

      consequences. This does not mean that the two of you can’t talk about your

      common goals and rules that you both agree on behind closed doors, as well as

      some ways you might hold both your son and stepdaughter accountable for

      following the rules. In the moment when the inappropriate behavior is happening,

      it might be best for you to walk away and take care of yourself—if your

      stepdaughter sees that her behavior pushes your buttons and hurts you, she’s

      far more likely to continue. Over time if you stay calm and walk away, her

      behavior should diminish. Here are some articles you may find helpful for your

      situation: http://www.empoweringparents.com/My-Blended-Family-Wont-Blend-Help-Part1-How-to-get-on-the-same-page-with-your-spouse.php?&key=Blended.step-Families , http://www.empoweringparents.com/My-Blended-Family-Wont-Blend-Help-PartII-What-to-Do-When-Your-Stepkids-Dont-Respect-You.php?&key=Blended.step-Families &  http://www.empoweringparents.com/i-hate-you-mom-i-wish-you-were-dead-when-kids-say-hurtful-things.php. We

      know this is very difficult for you and we wish you and your family luck as you

      continue to work through this. Take care.

  • DepressedDad
    I have a son, I just recently entered his life about a year ago. In the beginning of our relationship we were working on getting to know each other, and trusting. Since that time I have found out that his mother has been talking negatively about me around him, and sinceMore he hears it he assumes that he can walk all over me. His mother threatens me, and talks to me like I am nothing. Recently he has sent me a text message telling me not to call him anymore. His mother assumed that the message came from me. I informed her that the message did not come from me and she tried to make is as if I did. I pay Child Support as I have been since day one give or take a few months out of the 8 years that has been on this planet. This system takes all of my money and she still sits there and tells me that I am not doing enough when I don't have anything. I have done what I could, simple things, you know such as watching movies with him and trying to allow him to be himself. He has turned in to someone that calls me when he wants something materialistic, he never calls me and says "dad I want to see you" "dad I want to watch football" its all about what he can get out of me. I am 37 and I am trying to be there for him but it is rough when he has a mother that basis building a bond on financial gain. I don't know what to do.
  • Unhappymother
    I would like to be able to stop the arguments, the power struggles, and the disrespectful behavior that comes from my just recently turned 18 year old daughter. She also acts as though she hates me too. Her response to everything is, "oh my God", or "whatever ", afterMore she's done yelling at me. But then we begin to argue & she turns all of her bad behavior around on me, and say that I'm yelling at her (manipulating) when I tell her that I will not accept that sort of behavior. I feel abused, and stressed out, along with the feeling that tension is always in the air. It feels like I have to walk around on egg shells just so that she won't explode. Last night for example, my daughter gets up to leave at 9pm. I say to her, "where are you going?". She says, "I'm going to talk to my friend". Me: "who's your friend, what's your friends name". Her: "my friend". To make a long story short, I explained that I need to know where and who she was going to talk to, meaning a name. Me & my daughter's relationship is voilital, and she ran away at 15, came back 6 weeks later. She has called her self leaving numerous times, and I have to admit that I have told her if she can't respect me as her mother, she can't stay here, and unfortunately, this happened again last night (Thanksgiving Eve) an argument escalated again between the two of us, ending with me saying the above, and she says, "well, I'll move". My daughter sees two therapist currently and I am also seeing a therapist as well. Sometimes, I don't know what to do. I feel guilty for telling her that she couldn't stay here if she doesn't respect me, but she has repeatedly disrespected me over and over again, there is no other consequence because she is 18. I feel guilty and worried when I think about my child being out in the streets with one of her friends. But I don't know what else to do and I am tired of going through this on a daily basis. Thank you DJ
  • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

    brokenheartedgma

    What a distressing situation! We strongly advise family

    members and loved ones take any sort of suicidal threats or behavior seriously.

    When your grandson threatens to harm himself or makes attempts to hurt himself,

    it’s going to be very important to take him to your nearest emergency medical department to

    have him evaluated. If that isn’t feasible, you could also contact your local

    crisis response or your local police department to help you manage this very

    worrisome situation. You can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

    for more information on how to best address your grandson’s behavior. You can

    reach the Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-8255. We appreciate you reaching out

    for help with this troubling situation. Good luck to you and your family moving

    forward. Take care.

  • carrie anm
    My 17 year old son moved in with his dad again after being arrested for domestic violence against me smashed my phone he is disrespectful and doesn't appreciate me at all his dad has no rules at all he's allowed to do whatever he wants there I have rulesMore please help me is this a stage I'm a heartbroken mom and feel like a failure
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      carrie anm

      I am sorry to hear you are in such a tough situation. It can

      be heartbreaking when your child doesn’t seem to appreciate anything you do for

      him and even goes so far as to move in with the other parent. It’s not uncommon

      for kids, especially teens, to want to live with the parent who has the fewest

      rules and expectations. Try  not to personalize his choice and instead

      look at what you can doto take care of yourself

      when you start to feel upset and disappointed with his choices. Self care is an

      often overlooked part of being an effective parent. A self care plan can

      include things like meeting a friend for coffee, going for a walk, or doing

      other activities you enjoy. It can also include more structured support, such

      as a parenting group or counselor. The 211 Helpline can give you information on

      community resources if you think that could be helpful. You can reach the

      Helpline 24 hours a day by calling 1-800-273-6222. We appreciate you writing in

      and wish you the best of luck moving forward. Take care.

  • AriesAdecam

    This article is very helpful. Thanks for shating your thoughts and ecperiences.

    .

  • moninja712

    This article was great, it described everything I practically put into play but even so the reaction I get is different. Everything I say has a response in return, I've been shushed, laughed at, called lazy, a fake aaaa (cuz she didn't say a$$), continues to do things I've asked her not to. The only true consequence I can give is taking her phone away but I've also read that if you're going to take a phone away it's got to be related to the incident, not just used as the only was to incorporate a consequence. I'm so confused, hurt, unappreciated. Yes I'm taking it personal I know but how can I not when it's all directed toward me? I even do things just to make HER happy and she manages to put it down. I have started walking away just to avoid my blood pressure going thru the roof. Nothing makes her happy, she's inconsiderate and thinks only of herself. She will be receiving therapy soon.

    Concerned and hurt mother ?

  • DadOf3

    This advice is not "wrong," but unfortunately almost useless in solving any problems in the short term. Four out of five of the "steps" are basically telling us to accept that kids are going to misbehave, and we have to understand that and control our own reactions. OK, right. And the other step is..."be determined"...when we do WHAT? 

    How about deciding on effective sanctions, giving a warning or two, and following through by meting out (gasp) actual disciplinary measures? 

    Each situation is different, of course, but I believe that permissiveness and lack of effective punishment ("consequences" if you prefer) is the prime reason kids "learn" to misbehalve.

    Actually, I was having trouble getting my 14-year-old to go to bed, and then he continued using a flashlight to read and stay up (no, nothing bad -- it was his prayerbook, actually. But 12:30am is too late even for that.) My solution? "OK, finish your prayers -- with the room light on. How much time do you need? 5 minutes? OK, I'll come back then." After less than minutes, he goes and turns out the light by himself and settles down to sleep. So -- give the kid what he claims he wants, and let him realize it's actually not.

  • FrustratedDad
    I am at a loss what to do about my 11 year old daughter. We used to be really close but now she shows absolutely no respect for me as her father. It mostly occurs when either I remind her to do a task she should already be doing everyMore day (like hanging up her wet towel), or when I give her a time to stop doing something (like being on the computer/iPad). She'll say ok but she will never do it on her own without my constant prodding. When I remind her she will snap, yell and be nasty and combative. When I firmly tell her it needs to get done now, she will accuse me of yelling at her and won't do It. It escalates to the point that the only way she will do what I ask is when I do end up yelling. I want her to respect my authority as her parent but I also want her to be responsible and do these things on her own. I am very frustrated and don't know what to do...
    • Amy
      This is my daughter COMPLETELY! !! CAN'T seem to ask her to do anything. .
    • moninja712
      Same here with my 15 year old except I get looked at and laughed at like I was speaking Alien. Like I've NEVER told her the same thing over and over again :(
  • particlephysicswizard

    Hello. Ironically I am a 15 year old 'disrespectful child' who read this article and had a question.  I

    don't try to be mean to my parents but sometimes I just can't control

    myself to be respectful to my parents. I have a lot of mood swings and I

    just get angry for no valid reason. I don't understand why this is

    happening to me and I want to stop it but don't know how to stop it. I

    was usually never like this, but now I am. Therefore, what should I do

    in order to become in line again?

    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      particlephysicswizard

      I give you a lot of credit  for wanting to find ways of

      managing the emotions and behaviors that are having a negative impact on your

      relationship with your parents. While we are not able to provide you with

      specific suggestions for managing this tough situation, there is a website that

      may be able to offer you the help and support you are looking for.

      YourLifeYourVoice.org is a website and helpline staffed with counselors

      specially trained to help teens and young adults get through challenges they

      are facing. They offer many different types of support, such as a Helpline you

      can call at 1-800-448-3000, http://www.yourlifeyourvoice.org/pages/ways-to-get-help.aspx#text-info, online chat, as wells as published tips. I encourage you

      to reach out to http://www.yourlifeyourvoice.org/Pages/home.aspx

      to see how they can help you through this difficult time. Best of luck to you

      moving forward. Take care.

      • moninja712
        I'm going to pull up that website with my daughter so she knows there are other outlets. I'm sure she'll be reluctant but I'm going to try regardless. Ty.
  • ajsmile
    I have an 11 year old step-son who is good but can be very rude and disrespectful.  He swears a lot and throws fits when he can't get what he wants or he is upset about something.  I will argue with him (which is a no-no) but his father willMore walk away and tell everyone to leave him be, don't say anything to him.  That's is.  The other day the step-son was walking behind his father telling him he (father) was better off dead, he (father) was worthless and stupid.  I corrected him and he called me an FB infront of father and father looks at me and said "Don't respond! Walk away".  I am at a loss.  Now the family is involved and we had a sit down meeting and they put rules in place for US as parents and yelling at us telling us how to raise your child.  Is walking away the best.  Are too many people involved?
    • Darlene EP

      ajsmile 

      It’s understandable you are

      frustrated with your stepson’s behavior and confused about how to handle it

      when you and his father see things differently. First of all, being on the same

      page and working together with your husband is going to be most effective.

      Carri and Gordon Taylor suggest in their article http://www.empoweringparents.com/Blended-Family-The-5Secrets-of-Effective-Stepparenting.php, to decide together what

      expectations you have for your stepson, but defer to the bio parent when it

      comes to setting limits and boundaries and giving consequences. As a

      stepparent, taking on the supportive role for your husband and focusing on

      establishing a relationship with your stepson generally has a better

      outcome. 

      As far as how your husband has

      been responding when your stepson has been acting out; it is what we would

      recommend to do. Ignoring the behavior in the moment is the most effective

      response when the behavior is occurring because reacting to it only gives it

      power. It’s important to follow up when things are calm, however. Your husband

      can do that and talk to his son about his inappropriate behavior and what he

      can do differently next time. For more on how to have that conversation check

      out this article, http://www.empoweringparents.com/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior.php.

      We hope this is helpful for your situation. Please let us know if we can be of

      any further help. Take care.

  • bebz75
    My 19yr old daughter run away 2yrs ago just because she do not want to follow the rules in our house and take consequences of her actions. She lied to the CPS and cops and dropped out of HS and lived with her boyfriend.  Two months ago she knocked onMore our door begging us to let her back in since her boyfriend left her and she have no where to go.  We talked about rules before letting her back in and  the following month she told us that she's 9wks pregnant.  We tried to stay calm and talk to her about responsibilities and things she need to prepare herself to be a single mom and everything seemed to be alright.  We did not blame her nor made her feel bad... everybody in the family is being supportive to help her get back on her feet.  Just last week she left her journal on her bed and I found out that she's still lying to us.  She's still calling me a B@#$% and stating all the lies she said to me on my face with a LOL on her journal and at the same time she's head over heels on some new guy.  I did not confront her about this because I do not want to do or say something I might regret later in life.  Any suggestions on how to handle this situation will be very appreciated.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      bebz75

      It’s understandable you would be hurt and upset about the

      things you read in your daughter’s journal. It can be disheartening to discover

      that someone you love has been lying to you and possibly harboring bad feelings

      toward you. I think it’s important to keep in mind that a journal is private,

      and many of us may write things in our journals as a way to vent or express our

      frustrations about a situation or person without causing any one to be hurt or

      disrespected. You mention in your post that you have outlined for your daughter

      what the rules and expectations are while she is living in your home. It would

      be more effective to focus on whether or not she is following those rules. As

      hurtful as her words may have been to read, she didn’t make those statements to

      you out loud. As for her dishonesty, it can be helpful to recognize lying as

      being a poor problem solving skill. Depending upon what it is she is lying

      about, it may be better to just choose not to pick that battle, especially if

      her untruths aren’t putting someone else in danger. We have several articles

      that give helpful tips for living with adult children. Two in particular you

      may find useful are http://www.empoweringparents.com/parenting-your-adult-child-how-to-set-up-a-mutual-living-agreement.php#ixzz3hIXVrtZh & http://www.empoweringparents.com/adult-child-living-at-home.php#ixzz3hIYQtGp4. We appreciate

      you writing in. Best of luck to you and your family moving forward. Take care.

      • SheilaBallinger
        Just wanted to say, my mom dies this year and I found her journals when cleaning out and thought I would enjoy reading them (looking at her handwriting and picturing her writing) while a lot of it was fun to read, there were times she wrote things that hurt myMore feelings. I know my mom loved me very very much, and when I remembered I was reading her fears, anger and frustrations of life, that she never meant anyone else to read....it took the hurt away. I will re-read them and black out anything that could be hurtful to others but keep the journal. So remember we all have frustrations...just don't voice hurtful ones to ppl.
  • tony528
    I have a 19 year old son and last week we went on vacation. He started with his attitude about two days in by being very short with people and not acknowledging the people around him like other teenagers , adults, and my girlfriend of 8 years. He would justMore walk by and act like they did not exist, he kinda had the attitude that he was not enjoying the trip, but when i ask him if he was having fun he would reply yes. Well this trip was the straw that broke the camels back with my girlfriend in which i understand, she just feels that he only speaks to her when he wants something. If she would ask him a question he would give her a one word answer with a tone. When we got back home i told him that he was being very rude and disrespectful and he acts like he doesnt know what im talking about like im crazy or something. The other adult besides my girl friend noticed his behavior so its 3 against one and im not crazy. So i tell him when we get our house together you are not going to be able to live with us because the way you act makes people feel uncomfortable and they dont want to be around you. We dont know when we will find a house so this could be 1-2 years down the road , but i just wanted to bring it to his attention. We ended up getting into it because i was just fed up with him telling me that he doesnt know what im talking about, so i told him to leave the house for a couple of weeks and i dont care whos house you go to but its his job to find somewhere to stay be it a friends house or family members house just to try to get him to realize that it is going to be difficult to be out in the real world by his self and i made him leave the house key here so he cannot come back in for clothes or anything else. He just has a very crappy attitude SERIOUSLY and i did not raise a disrespectful kid at all. Maybe this will help him understand what im talking about maybe not . It seems like if a teenager hears something from someone else (not a parent) they will believe it, but they dont want to listen or believe what the parent is telling them. If anyone has any suggestions please feel free. Should i just go ahead and give him the BOOT or should i wait, i know hes not ready to be on his own but i am willing to do whatever.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      tony528 

      You describe a dilemma more than a few parents of adult

      children face. Ultimately, only you can decide whether or not you allow your

      son to move back into your home. Keep in mind, your son is now an adult and

      anything you decide to provide for him is a choice, not a responsibility. And, whether or not he’s ready, it

      doesn’t change that fact that he is responsible for himself. This

      doesn’t mean you have to decide not to allow

      him to move back home. It would be beneficial, however, to make sure there’s a

      living agreement in place before he does. This will help to outline exactly what

      the expectations are when he does move back home. You can also begin

      facilitating his eventual independent living by requiring certain things, like

      taking steps to find a job if he doesn’t already have one, paying room and

      board that can be put aside for a security deposit, or other activities that

      will help him gain the skills he needs to live on his own. For more information

      on living agreements, you can check out these articles: http://www.empoweringparents.com/parenting-your-adult-child-how-to-set-up-a-mutual-living-agreement.php#ixzz3fEgeCJfD & http://www.empoweringparents.com/parenting-living-adult-children.php#ixzz3fEgrA57v. I hope

      this information is helpful. Be sure to check back if you have any further

      questions. Take care.

  • Lin
    What do you do when the child doesn't care about the consequences.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      @Lin

      You ask a question we hear quite often. Truthfully speaking,

      it doesn’t really matter whether or not the child “cares” about the

      consequence. As James Lehman explains in his article, http://www.empoweringparents.com/Kids-Who-Ignore-Consequences-10-Ways-to-Make-Them-Stick.php#ixzz3cmy5HbTF, it’s not uncommon for

      a child to state that s/he doesn’t care when given an unpleasant consequence.

      Sometimes it’s the child’s way of saving face and sometimes it’s an attempt at

      manipulating you into not giving a consequence. After all, it would seem

      illogical to give someone a consequences s/he

      doesn’t care about. Another thing to keep in mind about consequences is that

      their main purpose isn’t about changing behavior per se. Granted, you want your

      child to feel uncomfortable with the consequence. However, true behavior change

      comes about when your child learns a more effective way of solving problems.

      There are two things you can do to help with that. One, try to make your

      consequences task oriented or, linked to behavior change. You also want to have

      a problem solving conversation with your child that’s focused on what s/he

      could do differently the next time a similar situation presents itself. You

      want to be sure to have this conversation after things have calmed down. For

      more information on both task oriented consequences and problem solving, you

      can check out these articles: http://www.empoweringparents.com/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior.php

      & http://www.empoweringparents.com/How-to-Give-Kids-Consequences-That-Work.php. Thanks for writing in.  I hope

      this answers your question.

      • SheilaBallinger
        My child will not sit down when calm and have a problem solving conversation.... what to do then? We do have a therapist but she won't talkwith her much about it either.
        • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

          SheilaBallinger

          You ask a great question. One thing we have found to be an

          effective way of motivating a child to have a problem solving conversation is

          implementing something called “Status B”. This is when all privileges are

          placed on hold until the problem solving conversation happens. Some parents

          have also found limiting one favorite privilege to be effective as well. James

          Lehman talks about this approach in his article http://www.empoweringparents.com/Child-Giving-You-the-Silent-Treatment-Getting-Kids-To-Talk.php#ixzz3n9uxzlfp.

          Let us know if you have any further questions. Take care.

  • Sam

    When kids behave this way I cant think of why not using old methods of parenting.

    Thankfully I never allowed this kind of behavior take place but if it ever does I will simply punish him/her by removing their toy/games and whatever else they feel they are entitled to. If it is an extreme case then either corporal punishment in the form of a slap or simply never returning the items in question.

    • sharoncollins92
      @Sam I agree with u cuX the kids nowadays are blatantly  disrespectful. I'm not a mother but I have siblings and family members who I see get away with things that I would of gotten my skin washed for when I was growing  up.  The whole problem is the parentsMore want to be the child friends and in parenting that can't be.
  • colacrystal
    I do have the same problem of rude and disrespectful on my 5 year old child. Well, I know I don't curse or say bad words by all means, but my husband do. My 5 year old picks up all bad words his daddy said. My 5 year old isMore mean, he curse, and called us all kinds of names, he hit us if he can't get his way.  However, in his school he was rewarded for being most behave and good student. If he come home he acts the opposite. I know he is only 5 year old in which I know how to tame him. I talked to him and explained how bad he was acting on bed before he sleep. He made promises and I saw a little changes if his daddy is not around. When his daddy come home from work, then his attitude change. If I talked to my husband about this problem he always take it wrong  that we end up arguing. I told him, be a good example to your child, he always follow you.  My husband is not really a bad guy but have a habit of saying bad words. So, sometimes I felt difficult to discipline my child but I do not have plan to divorce him because of this issue. If I see one of them is wrong I don't give favor to any of them. If I see wrong it is really wrong and right away I put my 5 year old in time out. On the other hand, I asked my husband to get out of the house for a while until both of them calm down.   It is really very hard to discipline both of them. I had never seen this kind of behavior in my life even on my family side. Please help any suggestions.?
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      colacrystal 

      While

      parenting differences tend to be pretty common, that does not mean that they

      are easily resolved.  Something that can be useful is to talk privately

      with your husband during a calm time and try to find some common ground with

      your son’s behavior.  For example, you might be able to agree that

      hitting, cursing and name-calling are inappropriate behaviors for your

      son.  When having this conversation, it can also be helpful to avoid

      placing blame on each other.  After all, as James Lehman states in his

      article http://www.empoweringparents.com/Do-You-Feel-Like-Your-Childs-Behavior-is-Your-Fault.php, it’s not about who’s at

      fault; it’s about who is taking responsibility.  It is also a good sign

      that your son is able to behave appropriately at certain times, as that

      demonstrates that he can control himself and his actions.  It could be

      useful http://www.empoweringparents.com/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior.php with him about what he does at school, and how he can use

      those same strategies at home.  Finally, I want to point out that the strategies described here on

      Empowering Parents are designed to be used within a parent-child relationship,

      and may not work effectively in other contexts such as a marital relationship. 

      Thank you for writing in; please be sure to check back and let us know how

      things are going with your son!

  • cdc3030
    I have read several articles here suggesting walking away at some point in the confrontation, before a power struggle, or before the parent starts to lose it...but my child either follows me, or physically restrains me from leaving. I don't know how to disengage. Once she is engaged, sheMore won't stop, and eventually I get mad. How do I break this?
    • Marissa EP

      @cdc3030 

      Thanks for writing in, and you bring up a great question

      that we hear frequently on our Coaching Line. Disengaging and walking away can

      be one of the most difficult, yet most effective tools we recommend to help

      avoid a power struggle. When you walk away, you take the power and authority

      with you, so it is very normal for a child to follow and do whatever it takes

      to try to re-engage you, in order to regain some control. It can be helpful to

      plan ahead for those moments and identify a place in your home you can go to

      and close, or even lock your door. If your child is old enough, you may go

      outside for a walk, or a drive in your car to get away. If those are not

      options, or your child is too young to leave alone, you may choose to keep some

      ear plugs or headphones handy, to help yourself block out the attempt to

      re-engage you, until your child is able to calm down. This is a skill that can

      take practice, so I encourage you to keep at it, and continue to try different

      things that you know help you to stay calm. Debbie Pincus, author of https://store.empoweringparents.com/product/the-calm-parent-am-pm/, offers some additional tips on helping yourself

      stay calm and in control in her article http://www.empoweringparents.com/How-to-Get-Control-When-Your-Child-is-Making-You-Angry.php. Best of luck to you as

      you continue to work on this.

  • shane
    Going to try this. Sounds like good advice. I work on the river and am gone for 21 days at a time. Every time I leave my son and daughter are very disrespectful to their step mother.
  • BethCook
    This is awesome advice! Thank you very, very much. I'm going to share these with my husband and work with him as a team yo implement them with our strongwilled 12 year old daughter!
  • Mother Knows
    In my home, I think that moods, attitudes get handled well. I expect it and if it gets out of control, we're gonna sit down and have a little talk. My concern at present is drugs. He's told me he's tried, he's broken house rules and brought drugs into ourMore home. He is now facing the consequences of that - he will be seeing a school drug counsellor. Everything I've read on this subject states I can only control me, state my values and continue to give consequences for the behaviour. He sees nothing wrong with smoking pot. I've shown interest in how he's come to those conclusions, we've also done investigating together. Between educating together with information from the American lung association and David Suzuki's "Downside of High"...I question what else I can do? Am I worried and he knows, but says he hasn't smoked in a few weeks but plans to in the future!
    • cdc3030
      The problem isn't moral, it's legal. Appealing to his logic on moral or health grounds may not work....times are changing. But, it's still illegal, and the consequences for that can be understood. Remember that his morality may not be yours...but his laws are.
    • Marissa EP

      Mother Knows 

      Your concern for you son is understandable, and the steps

      you have taken to set limits in your home around substance abuse are right on.

      Knowing that your child has experimented with, or is using substances is

      worrisome behavior for many parents. It is important to continue to set clear,

      firm limits around substance use and let him know that he will be held

      accountable if you find him breaking the rules. It can also be helpful to help

      him make a plan for what he can do when he is tempted to use, such as calling

      you, or finding alternative activities. Kim Abraham and Marney

      Studaker-Cordner, authors of our https://store.empoweringparents.com/product/life-over-the-influence/ program, offer some additional suggestions on how to

      “teen-proof” your home in their article http://www.empoweringparents.com/my-child-is-using-drugs-alcohol-what-should-i-do.php Awareness and

      knowledge are very important in a situation like this, and it sounds like you

      have both. Best of luck as you continue to address this with your son, and let

      us know if you have any more questions.

  • JakeEagleshield
    Two things people make mistakes with, with their kids. 1) Trying to be friends or 'buddies' with them. They have friends(which in some cases could be part of the problem,depending on the friend) They have friends. They need parents.2) Psychology. You can't 'reason' with a five year old. When IMore was a kid,and my dad told me to stoop doing something,if I was foolish enough to ask him why,his answer was simple.'Because I said so." End of encounter.
  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

    confused_mother84 

    It can feel very overwhelming when you have a child who is acting out in

    multiple ways, from not listening or meeting his responsibilities, to bullying

    younger siblings.  Many parents in this situation describe feeling very

    discouraged, and don’t know where to start.  From our perspective, the

    most effective starting point would be the verbal and physical bullying toward

    his siblings, in order to convey a message of safety for everyone in the

    house.  After all, there is no excuse for abuse.  One step we would

    strongly encourage is to make a plan with your younger children about what they

    can do to keep themselves safe when your 10 year old is bullying them. 

    James Lehman discusses this process further in his article http://www.empoweringparents.com/Abusive-Sibling-Rivalry-Families-Children-Teen-Behavior-Problems.php. 

    In addition, it’s also going to be important to talk with your 10 year old

    during a calm time about specific steps he can do differently instead of being

    abusive toward his younger siblings.  We also recommend finding a way to

    hold him accountable if he is not following this plan, as described in http://www.empoweringparents.com/when-Kids-Get-Violent.php. 

    I understand that this is a difficult situation, and I hope you will check back

    and let us know how things are going for you and your family.  I wish you

    all the best as you continue to move forward.  Take care.

  • afaimanifo
    Parenting is harder than I ever imagined.
  • TypicalTeenager42
    Unless he is doing drugs, running around getting girls pregnant, or recklessly getting in constant trouble with authorities- he sounds like an angel. Teenagers can look like rabid demons to parents who are fortunate enough not to know what "real life" is like for so many people in this world.More (Abuse, Neglect, Poverty, Lack of Emotional Support, Overwhelmed single parent households, Drug-Addictions, constant arrests, expulsion from schools, etc. You know, real issues to be worried about.) If all he is doing is acting like a  crazy pimple-faced teen on permanent severe PMS, he sounds totally normal and healthy.
  • TypicalTeenager42

    Struggling2deal

    One useful tip- if he hates all the food you cook, why not kill two birds witih one stone and teach him to cook?

    Even if he resists it, he may like it- or find out foods he prefers. Even if he dislikes it, you will be imparting useful lifeMore skills to him which many parents neglect to teach their children. It will benefit him, even if he thinks the idea is stupid, because he will not be totally clueless like many young adults are when they first move out and live on their own.

    If you get lucky and he likes the idea and ends up liking to cook, you win bigtime and so does he.

  • TypicalTeenager42

    cmc1212 Sounds like you are doing an exceptional job learning.  Also don't forget- children can be spoiled rotten and still turn out to be exceptional adults.

    It is more important for you to be the opposite of your parents, than to be anything like them. So I applaud you, both beforeMore and after your growth. Sounds like you were always a great parent, even before you learned to be a bit more assertive.

  • I have two boys, aged 13 and 16. My 16 year old son when through puberty at 8 and he has looked like a man since he was about 14. I am struggling with the amount of time he spends on his computer games. Apart from school and eating mealsMore (which he sometimes doesn't come down for even though I say he should) he spends around 12-14 hours on his PC or TV  He has anger management issues as well. We have had him see a counsellor at school and are now about to seek help through our GP to see whether we can get a child psychiatrist involved.  Despite talking to him about this he doesn't see that there is a problem and should be allowed to carry on. I am at the end of my tether and feel such a bad parent. I know your article says don't blame myself but I do. I have said I will take things away but his argument is he bought all his things so  have no right to.

    • TypicalTeenager42

      @clarkey
      What is wrong with him spending 12-14 hours on his PC or TV? He's a freaking teenager.
      What is wrong with anger management issues, unless they effect his peers (which they probably don't.) Teenagers are suppose to have anger issues and backtalk their parents.
      Sounds to me like you have aMore typical, normal teenager. He isn't doing drugs, he is staying inside. He isn't getting girls pregnant, he is staying online. He isn't riding 120mph on the highway with no seatbelt, he is watching netflix.
      Sounds very safe, healthy, and typical.
      You don't sound like a bad parent. You sound like a good one who doesn't realize how healthy and normal this is.
      I spent 24 hours a day on my PC and TV from 13 years old until I was in my mid 20's. I ended up growing up, becoming an extremely successful adult who owns his own business while also being a part time mentor to troubled/poverish children. I am a spiritual leader at my church and was an assistant youth pastor for years. I love others and try my best to spread positive, healthy beliefs and attitudes in our world.
      I now am a college graduate in the field of psychology, applying that degree to help unfortunate children and improve our society while also using all that time on my PC to learn programming- an extremely valuable and profitable skill where I own my own business working on computers. I also, thanks to those 12-14 hours on the PC, know how to fix all the broken hardware of my clients- saving them money and helping them destress so they can be like the typical teen and spend 12-14 hours playing video games all day.
      So yea, there is nothing wrong with being a computer geek, a tv nerd, or someone inside.
      No drugs. No danger. No teen pregnancy. Learning skills that are invaluable for the technology-centered future.
      Don't worry. He will be fine. You're doing great, as long as you don't try to force him to be what you think is healthy, just because you don't understand technology. No offense intended. Just do your best so he will become a man which surpasses what you wanted for him. Don't force him to be something he is not or do something he doesn't want to do. He will resent that, and THAT will cause anger.
      I mean, I don't know how bad it is. However, the children I help have it so much worse- at first glance it seems like a first world problem to be honest. He will probably grow up to be just like you or his dad- which I assume are normal, good adults.

      • HarvBrown
        TypicalTeenager42  There is some possibility that excessive TV and screens can end up positively.  Many of the founders of the computer revolution were geeks, Microsoft, Facebook, etc.  Yet my experience is that most of the time the excessive screen time is pure waste.  Video games are a type of drug, theMore kid gets hooked.  The game manufacturers have learned how to suck the child in, how to make the child addicted.  As a responsible parent, I want my kids to read real books, and to interact with real people in a positive manner.  Also, to get out into the open air, exercise, breath the fresh air and feel the sun on their skin.  However, I can understand that busy parents also need to use screens as a substitute baby sitter.  All of us need a break once in a while.  But generally, screen time needs to be limited in order to allow the child to read books, play with other kids, and interact in an appropriate manner.
      • JakeEagleshield
        TypicalTeenager42 Wrong,sport. Teens are NOT supposed to back sass their parents or any other adult, As long as you are still a child,yes,teens ARE children,who depend on your parents for.......Everything,you do not have that right. If you are seventeen years,none months,twenty nine days and 23 hours old,you are still aMore CHILD!
  • hi. this was a great article though i was wondering if you could help me more specifically with my 4 year old.  he is quick to anger when things don't go his way, and when this happens, he can become extremely rude and disrespectful (i.e., name calling, yelling, trying toMore hit).  we've been working on empathizing with him, and then talking out solutions after he's calmed down.  we've also walked away when he's being mean, taken away things until he can calm down and apologize, and had him miss out on fun things he wanted to do because of this.  much of what we do works very short term, and he never seems to remember the solutions we talked about.  we are at a loss of what to do, but we really don't want to have a child who is acting like this as a teenager or an adult.  that being said, we should note, that he is actually quite respectful with other people, and no one who has ever watched him or his teachers have ever noticed any of these behaviors.  however, it is a concern in our home, and we'd appreciate any help you can give.

    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      @sp1980
      It’s not uncommon for younger
      children to lash out when they get frustrated, upset, or angry. Young children
      have a low tolerance for frustration and limited skills for dealing withit
      appropriately. The fact that your son is able to exhibit appropriate behaviors
      in school and with other peopleshows
      he does have some effective problemMore solving skills and also gives you something
      to refer to when you are sitting down and problem solving with him after he has
      acted out. Walking away as you have been doing is a great response for in the
      moment. Setting the limit by saying something like “It’s not OK to hit me” and
      then walking away offers both of you the time to calm down away from the power
      struggle. When things are calm you can then go back and talk to him about the
      choices he made when he was upset. You might ask him what he would do if the
      situation had happened at school. While it’s understandable you want your son
      to develop empathy, trying to appeal to his sense of empathy isn’t an effective
      way of helping him develop better behaviors. Instead, appeal to his self
      interest by utilizing a time and task oriented consequence, such as loss of a
      toy or privilege until he can go for 15-30 minutes without hitting, kicking, or
      saying mean things. You want to be sure that whatever you use as a consequence
      is something he is able to earn back. Taking away special  or one time things isn’t effective at helping
      him learn the behaviors you want him to have. We have several articles written
      by Dr. Joan Simeo Munson that are specifically geared toward young children.
       You may find these particularly helpful. You can find a list of those
      articles here: http://www.empoweringparents.com/author_display.ph.... Good luck to you and
      your family moving forward. Take care.

  • ljm1972

    I have a 14 yr old boy and I'm struggling so much lately. He is so so dis respectful to me, constantly swears in my face, trashes his room when things do not go his own way.  I treat him no differently to his 15yr old sister and she isMore golden, but even she has had enough now of the constant rows and shouting.  Iv tried talking calmly to him, no good, iv tried removing his phone, laptop, x box, he doesn't care, iv stopped his friends coming round, again he is not bothered.  He tells me im a crap mother, all his friends mom's are so nice etc.  Iv been a single mom for 11 yrs now and neither of my children have ever wanted for anything, they have holidays each year, latest gadgets, clothes etc and have never been short on love from me and their family.  I feel like a complete failure with my son and the advice im getting from my daughter and my family is to send him too his dads to live for a while, not only to try and get my son back on track but for my own sanity,  I just feel if this happens and he goes Iv lost my son and it breaks my heart but i do not know what to do.

    • ljm1972  Is there something else going on, maybe girls, not making the basketball team, bad grades...maybe he's angry that his father is not there.  I think sending him to live with his dad will be good for him, having the male influence is very important.  Don't worry, you won't loseMore him...in fact you'll probably get him back.

    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      ljm1972
      Being a single parent can be tough; being the single parent of
      an acting out, disrespectful adolescent even more so. Many parents in your
      situation are unsure of what to do and wonder if sending their child to live
      with the other parent is a viable option. It may be helpful toMore think about what
      it is you would hope to accomplish by having him live with his dad; you might
      even consider sitting down and making a list of the pros and cons of that
      option. Ultimately the only people who can make that decision are you and his
      father. It is still going to be important to develop a http://www.empoweringparents.com/How-to-Create-a-C... within your home, as James Lehman
      suggests in his article http://www.empoweringparents.com/disneyland-daddy...., for times when your son comes to stay with you or if he
      does end up moving back. What this means is determining what expectations you
      have and how you will hold him accountable when he doesn’t meet those
      expectations. From what you have written, it sounds like you have a clear idea
      of what behavior is not acceptable in your home as well as a list of available
      privileges you can use as consequences. It may just be a matter of implementing
      those consequences  more effectively. One way you might be able to do this
      is by using time and task oriented consequences, as Megan Devine explains in
      the article http://www.empoweringparents.com/authoritative-par....
      Implementing consequences this way looks a little different from simply taking
      away a privilege. With a time and task oriented privilege, a privilege is taken
      away until your son is able to behave respectfully for a specified amount of
      time, like 12-24 hours. This allows your son the opportunity to practice
      appropriate replacement behaviors and earn the privilege back. I hope this
      offers you some ideas you can use for your situation. We wish you and your
      family the best of luck moving forward. Take care.

      • TypicalTeenager42

        DeniseR_ParentalSupport ljm1972
        "Ultimately the only people who can make that decision are you and his father."


        Um, what about the 14 year old?


        He is more than old enough to have a say in which parent he would rather live with, and why.


        The Pro's and Con's list is a good idea, if sheMore does it WITH her son.


        Hell, if he doesnt like the idea of going off with his dad, just communicating her doubts towards him, letting him know she is contemplating it, is not just showing honesty and openness communication- but could scare him enough to straighten up by realizing it is more serious than most teenagers would probably think (and scoff at).

  • fawnpatrick

    I am older than my fiance. My daughters are in their late 20s. His daughter is 18 and is a ringer with her choices and behavior as one of my daughters. When I look back I can see clearly my mistakes in parenting and know if I handled situations differently I strongly feel my daughters life would be different and mine.  Problem is when I see his daughter going down the same path and see him handling it the way I did I want to jump in and save him the heartache I feel everyday when it comes to my daughter.

    My daughter has told me if I would have just been tougher with her instead of giving into her threats her life would have been different and she is right.  I took the approach when raising my children to always listen and understand their feelings.  

    His daughter is straight up rude. Never happy with whatever you do or give her. She lives with her mother who is no help with raising or setting bounders with this child.  There is never consequences for her actions. Always sweep under the rug. When he does act on her behavior he is not consistent with the punishment and when I point out to him that he is back sliding that is when the famous words come out " she is my daughter" but when it is time to buy her something, pick her up and when he needs advise she is "ours". 

    When she is rude or disrespectful to me I expect and apology but there never is one. I am always told that I need to lighten up and let go but I am not going to back down anymore to children. Did it for years and not going to do it anymore. Not to my adult children or to his teenagers. 

    I have set up a room in our home for her to come and live with us but she doesn't want to because their are rules.

    • TypicalTeenager42

      fawnpatrick

      "My daughter has told me if I would have just been tougher with her instead of giving into her threats her life would have been different and she is right."

      Wait...if she turned out so bad, and doesn't know what she's doing (repeating the same mistakes you made) then how could she know whether or not you did what was right? That doesn't make sense. Just because a child said "I would have turned out better if you did this to me." doesn't make them right, unless they actually have experience in the field of psychology. Does she possess a degree or training of some kind? Exceptional insight into her own character maybe?

      "I took the approach when raising my children to always listen and understand their feelings.  "

      You would be a very bad parent to do anything differently. I think you are going too far in the opposite direction. Listening to your children is a requirement for good parenting. Understanding their feelings is the same. Listening & Understanding is irrelevant of action taken, discipline style, parenting style, etc.

      If you think you did what was wrong- sure, do what was right. Listening & Understanding their perspective is a requirement do what what is right, even if the result was opposite of your mistake.

      TLDR: Your mistake wasn't because you tried to listen and understand your child. If you made a mistake, it was a mistake which had nothing to do with listening/understanding.

      No one has EVER had negative results from listening / understanding another human being. Communicating with them is a requirement for good, not the cause of bad.

  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

    sh6wn 
    It can be very
    frustrating for many parents to address rude, disrespectful behavior from their
    teens; you are not alone in dealing with this type of behavior.  It sounds
    like you are dealing with a lot of different inappropriate behavior right
    now-cursing, refusing to do chores, talking back, and even putting her hands on
    you. More One thing to keep in mind is that it is pretty normal for teens to
    act entitled and self-centered.  During this stage of development, most
    adolescents act as though they are the center of the universe because they
    don’t have a well-developed sense of empathy yet.  That is not to say that
    you cannot do anything about her behavior, though.  Something that might
    be helpful is to http://www.empoweringparents.com/My-Childs-Behavio..., so that way neither of you are feeling
    overwhelmed by the limits you are setting on her.  From what you described,
    we recommend focusing on her becoming physical with you.  You may find
    this article helpful in addressing this type of behavior: http://www.empoweringparents.com/when-Kids-Get-Vio...  In addition, we do not
    recommend using the tools described on Empowering Parents to address issues
    such as bedwetting.  Instead, we encourage parents to consult with their
    child’s doctor in order to rule out any underlying medical issues which may be
    contributing to this type of behavior.  We appreciate your reaching out to
    us for support, and we hope that you will continue to write in with updates on
    your situation.  We wish you all the best moving forward; take care.

    • TypicalTeenager42

      RebeccaW_ParentalSupport sh6wn
      Yay, a professional response! :)

      Good response.

  • My child is very rude to us. Any issue turns into a heated argument and he must have the last word. Recently, it is getting more frequest and he has lost interest in going out, has little friendships that last longer than a few months, and seems to have sooMore much negative talk always ready and available. We are worried he is depressed but he's an awesome athlete, student, etc...

    • oldenglishbreakfast
      Just because he's a good athlete doesn't mean he's not depressed. You just need to look at society elite athletes and see their depression to know that it can happen to anyone. Depression doesn't is not a respecter of persons.
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