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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Do Your Kids Disrespect You? 9 Ways to Change Their Attitude
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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™.
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This hits hard. I’m dealing with my 9 year old who has been diagnosed with ADD. He is unable to regulate emotion, has become very disrespectful, and doesn’t understand discipline. I feel completely gutted by the entire situation. I have a 4 year old as well, and trying to juggle both of them with their age gap, seems impossible. It’s very hard to handle when my 4 year old is well behaved majority of the time, and then sees and hears his big brother acting up. It’s hard!
I feel the disrespect, frustration, my 9 year old shows comes from his Dad..they both have the same personality traits. And it’s just exhausting. His Dad can exhibit the same behavior at times, and the kids witnessed that through out the years. I’m afraid it’s affected my oldest in a negative way. I try to reason with my son, and tell him his behavior is not okay, and I feel it goes in one ear and out the other. As parents, we both love our children very much. And it’s just spiraling here lately. It’s very stressful.
I have a very disrespectful 6 year old. She’s been this way since spending 6 months with her father(man shook her as a baby but childrens aid insisted I let him see her). I have an 8 year old as well, very well behaved majority of the time.
I made a big change nearly two years ago and moved in with my gf. Things were wonderful until I had to send them to their dads for 6 months because of CAS. Anyway, the 6 year old has come back showing little to no respect. She is constantly making my gf cry/angry out of frustration with her poor behaviour…I’m at a loss for what to do as I feel like no matter what I say to her she’s just not grasping that she’s being rude and disrespectful to my gf. I’m going to try reaching out to a childrens mental health facility but I’m afraid they might not work with her. She’s also showing the same rudeness and disrespectful behaviour towards me…when she has never been before spending that time with her father(I was a single mom up until meeting my gf).
Thank you for reaching out for help with what sounds like a stressful issues. We have several articles that offer helpful tips for managing this type of behavior. You can find those here: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article-categories/child-behavior-problems/backtalk/. Another article you may find helpful is this one on parenting after divorce: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/parenting-after-divorce-9-ways-to-parent-on-your-own-terms/
WE appreciate you being part of our Empowering Parents community. Be sure to check back and let us know how things are going. Take care.
Thank you for reaching out and sharing your story. I can understand your frustration. Blended families do have unique challenges and it can be tough to know how to respond when both parents aren't on the same page. We have several articles that focus on blended families and offer great tips. You can find those here: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article-categories/non-traditional-families/blended-step-families/
We're glad you're part of our Empowering Parents community. Be sure to check back and let us know how things are going.
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
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.
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
You know what sweety. Send her to her dad. She will quickly see who loves her and who doesn't. I had a friend who had to do this with both her kids. Let's just say the worship the ground she walks on after a year of it. They came back saying mom were sorry we miss everything you do for us.
It gets better love. It does. I will keep you in prayers!
@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!
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.
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
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.
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?
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.
@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!?
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!
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.
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.
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.
@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!
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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! :(
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.
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
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.
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.
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 :-(
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This article is very helpful. Thanks for shating your thoughts and ecperiences.
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 ?
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.
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?
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.
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
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.
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 Parenting Your Adult Child: How to Set up a Mutual Living Agreement & Adult Children Living at Home? How to Manage without Going Crazy. We appreciate
you writing in. Best of luck to you and your family moving forward. Take care.
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: Parenting Your Adult Child: How to Set up a Mutual Living Agreement & Ground Rules for Living with an Adult Child (plus Free Living Agreement). I hope
this information is helpful. Be sure to check back if you have any further
questions. Take care.
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, Kids Who Ignore Consequences: 10 Ways to Make Them Stick
, 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: The Surprising Reason for Bad Child Behavior: “I Can’t Solve Problems”
& How to Give Kids Consequences That Work. Thanks for writing in. I hope
this answers your question.
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 Does Your Child Give You the Silent Treatment? 6 Rules for Getting Kids to Talk.
Let us know if you have any further questions. Take care.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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).
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.
"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.
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.
Yay, a professional 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...