A child’s disrespectful behavior can be a parent’s greatest “button-pusher.” A dad recently shared his frustration about his 14-year-old daughter’s disrespect: “I told her she couldn’t go to a party until her room was picked up – it’s an absolute mess – and she just exploded. She yelled, told me she hated me and slammed her door. I was so angry and shocked. I told her she was never going to another party until she turned eighteen!”

This dad isn’t alone. Ask any parent and they’re likely to have at least a few instances in which their child was disrespectful, rude or inconsiderate – even outright defiant. Sometimes disrespect comes along with adolescence; other times a child may show disrespectful behavior from an early age. Either way, it’s a behavior that can push any parent’s emotional buttons!

“As hard as it is, remember: your child’s behavior is a reflection of him – not you.”

The Nature of Disrespect

As adults, we expect our children will respect us: our feelings, our home, our authority. And society expects children to be respectful. The phrase, “Children are to be seen, not heard,” comes from a long-held belief that children should be compliant, quiet and do as their parents say. Yet anyone who’s been around a child for more than an hour knows this often isn’t the case. So how can we reconcile our expectation of respect with our child’s need to test limits as they assert their independence? Just how far is too far?

There are several reasons a child may behave in a way that is “disrespectful.” First, he may not realize the behavior is disrespectful. For example, questioning a parent’s decision may strike adults as rude, but to a child, it may simply be a way of getting his needs met: I want to go to my friend’s house. My mom said ‘No.’ I want to figure out if there’s any possible way I can change her mind, because I really want to go. So I question, I argue, I do anything I can think of as a way of getting her to say ‘Yes.’

That child is acting in the moment, focusing on getting what he wants, not really paying attention to the fact that his behavior is actually backfiring and digging him a bigger hole. Kids also have difficulty asserting or expressing themselves appropriately when feeling angry or frustrated. Adrenaline kicks in and eyes start rolling, voices raise, feet get stomped and doors get slammed. Ever find yourself saying, “Stop it right now, before you make things even worse for yourself!”?

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Some kids have difficulty managing the stress and emotions they experience when faced with a limit or being told “no,” and just can’t keep themselves from crossing the line. Add in adolescence and hormones and you’ve got the potential for emotions and irritability to escalate quickly.

Finally, in today’s world, kids see disrespect and “talking back” modeled for them in the media all the time. In fact, most media send the message that the kids are usually smarter than the parents!

Responding to Disrespect

Most parents face mild to moderate disrespectful behavior from their kids from time to time. But what’s an effective way to respond?

1. Decide Which Behaviors Need to Be Addressed

Most kids have engaged in mildly disrespectful behaviors, such as rolling their eyes at a parent, at least a few times in life. Sometimes it’s as they’re walking away. Sometimes they do it before they realize, “Oops, mom’s still standing in front of me!”

This is an example of a behavior that you may choose to “let go,” and instead focus on larger issues of disrespect (such as yelling, swearing, slamming doors, screaming “I hate you,” depending on your child’s age.) Who hasn’t heard Mom say, “If you keep making that face, it’ll freeze that way!” Sometimes it’s hard for a teen to hide their discontent – and honestly, isn’t it that way for all of us? On the other hand, if your daughter rolls her eyes at you every time you turn around, you may decide that enough is enough and this behavior warrants a conversation. As a parent, it’s a judgment call, but most parents agree there are times when you’ll want to “pick your battles.”

2. Don’t Take Responsibility for Your Child’s Disrespect

One of the reasons a rude child is so upsetting to us is that we often feel it’s a reflection of our parenting. If you’re sitting around the Thanksgiving table with Uncle Bob and Grandma Jean and your son blurts out something rude or inconsiderate to you, it can trigger feelings of anger and embarrassment. “What kind of parent will other people think I am if my child is acting this way?” As hard as it is, remember: your child’s behavior is a reflection of him – not you.

3. Define for Your Child What Disrespect Is

Talk to your child about which behavior is respectful and which isn’t. We often expect our kids to know things without spelling them out. Kids who are younger tend to think in terms that are “concrete.” You have to actually tell them “When you yell at me, it’s disrespectful.” Don’t assume that just because your child has reached adolescence, he has insight into how his behavior comes off to other people. Sometimes it’s even hard for us – as parents – to pin down. There are times it may be a tone of voice or just the way something was said that sounded like it had “attitude.” Again, decide if those are things that can be let go from time to time or if it’s frequent enough that it’s a pattern that needs to be addressed.Also, let your child know which behaviors will result in potential consequences: “The next time you yell at me, there will be no friends over for the weekend,” or whatever your consequence may be. Remember to keep consequences realistic and short term when the issue is only mild to moderate disrespect. You want the “punishment to fit the crime,” so to speak. And what you’re really doing is showing your child that when she treats others disrespectfully, she’s not likely to get many nice things done for her in return.

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4. Give Your Child Alternative Problem-Solving Skills

If your child is handling her frustration or anger in a way that is disrespectful or unacceptable, talk with her about different ways she can express herself appropriately. You can actually role-play different situations with your child. Have her play the parent and you play her. Give her the words she can use to let you know she’s disappointed or unhappy. Because in life, she’s going to have to express being unhappy or frustrated – not just to you, but to others such as friends, teachers and eventually a boss or spouse. It can be valuable to ask yourself, “How am I teaching my child to treat others? Am I modeling for her how to treat others respectfully?” But ultimately, it’s your child’s responsibility to manage her own emotions and behavior by using the tools you provide her.

5. Provide Positive Reinforcement

Recognize times your child does behave in a respectful way toward you or others and make sure he knows you’re aware of it: “You know, I really enjoyed talking to you this way today. I hope we can have more conversations like this.” Even if he was only respectful for a moment, notice and acknowledge it. You want to reinforce the behavior you want to see more often. Focusing only on behavior you don’t want to see won’t accomplish your parenting goal: to teach your child to behave in a respectful manner toward you and others.

A Final Note

The tips in this article are intended to help parents deal with mild to moderate disrespect. Sometimes, particularly with children who are oppositional or defiant, disrespect can escalate into a pattern of verbal abuse or more serious rule-breaking. Yes, breaking things in your home or destroying property, staying out past curfew or not following the house rules is disrespectful. But those things are also part of a more serious pattern of conduct and behavioral issues. Even though a child’s disrespect can be a frustrating problem, often what we see as problems are also opportunities to teach our children about values and life skills.

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About and

Kimberly Abraham and Marney Studaker-Cordner are the co-creators of The ODD Lifeline® for parents of Oppositional, Defiant kids, and Life Over the Influence™, a program that helps families struggling with substance abuse issues (both programs are included in The Total Transformation® Online Package). Kimberly Abraham, LMSW, has worked with children and families for more than 25 years. She specializes in working with teens with behavioral disorders, and has also raised a child with Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Marney Studaker-Cordner, LMSW, is the mother of four and has been a therapist for 15 years. She works with children and families and has in-depth training in the area of substance abuse. Kim and Marney are also the co-creators of their first children's book, Daisy: The True Story of an Amazing 3-Legged Chinchilla, which teaches the value of embracing differences and was the winner of the 2014 National Indie Excellence Children's Storybook Cover Design Award.

Comments (71)
  • Mamalama
    My teen who has ADHD struggles with completing school assignments even with extended deadlines. When we monitor and ask her if she has done them she gets very defensive, and tells me that’s all I care about. I stress our because I receive emails from teachers telling me More about all the work she is missing. When I try to calmly discuss the situation, it always turns into a yelling match, and hurtful accusations that we don’t care about her and all we care is how she’s doing in school. Her words are very hurtful, especially because all I want is for her to be independent and successfull when she goes to college next year, and no one is telling you to do things because they don’t really care if you flunk out. I don’t expect perfect grades, just passing grades. Please help! Any suggestions are appreciated!
    • Denise Rowden, Parent CoachEP Coach

      Thank you for reaching out. We hear from many parents who have similar concerns about grades and academic performance. We have several articles that focus on how parents can motivate and help their child. Two articles in particular you may find helpful are https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/sinking-fast-at-school-how-to-help-your-child-stay-afloat/ and https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/10-ways-motivate-child-better-school/.

      Try not to take the things your daughter says personally. Many kids will lash out verbally when they're confronted due to the frustration it causes them. Carole Banks discusses this in her article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/disrespectful-child-behavior-dont-take-it-personally/

      We appreciate you being part of our Empowering Parents community and wish you all the best moving forward. Take care.

  • lunchlady
    for some time, the disrespect of high school students has worked on my spirit. I am a mature adult and try to be kind and thoughtful everyday and I might add I have been a LL for 9 years plus. The past two years it has increased with childrenMore having no boundaries, no consequences to the students of bad behavior and more.
  • Alicia Ortego
    Respect is not just a vague concept. This is an important life skill and the sooner kids will learn it, the sooner they will learn to build successful relationships. So, I admire the work you have done here teaching parents the importance of respecting their children and nurturing these skillsMore in their kids. I am really grateful for the parenting tips you have collected here.
  • Mumstheword

    I have a 13 year old daughter, who is so loving by nature. She gives me a lot of kisses and cuddles throughout the day, tells me she loves me etc. The problem is, she treats me like I’m here to cook when she is hungry, to give her clean clothes and to buy what she wants. If I’m not doing what she wants, when she wants, she speaks to me like something she’s stepped in.

    She rolls her eyes, mutters under her breath, shouts at me, speaks to me in a terrible tone of voice or ignored me altogether.

    I am consistent with my punishments. She loses her phone time, gets grounded and, can’t have friends over for the night. The problem is, she cannot and will not accept her punishment as a consequence to her actions. She whines like a 3 year old and cries, because she’s not getting her own way and what she wants. It’s almost too much!

    In the past 18 months, she has also lost all pride in her bedroom and become a total slob. She will throw ironed clothes on the floor, rather than hanging them in the wardrobe, she will climb over things to get from one side of the room to the other, and I end up spending a whole day in there, cleaning it. Help

    • Denise Rowden, Parent CoachEP Coach

      I think that you would benefit from reviewing our free personal parenting plan — a set of our specially chosen and best articles and resources covering angry outbursts, consequences, disrespect, oppositional defiance disorder, physical abuse, and adult kids living at home. It is a great way to review our content and resources online. Here is the link: https://www.empoweringparents.com/personal-parenting-plan/

      Thanks for reaching out. Be sure to check back and let us know how things are going. Take care.

  • Ode70
    Really admired all your problems solve comments
  • caught in the middle

    My husband has been diagnosed with a degenerative brain disorder. He has trouble with his memory , says exactly what he is thinking and becomes agitated easily.My 15 year old son is having a difficult time understanding his fathers behaviors. My son is often rude to both my husband and myself.

    More often my husband.My son often slams doors, and stomps through the house. He is constantly bragging about his sports achievements, or how popular he is. I understand my son is afraid and confused with our situation.My time is monopolized by my husband and his medical condition. I feel I am torn between my husband and my son and their constant arguments.How can I get my son and my husband to treat each other with respect and stop the constant arguing.

    • Ginny

      @Caught in the middle

      My question is do you discipline your child or does your husband do it? Maybe step up and help him especially if he is disabled. Your son should in no way disrespect you or especially your disabled husband that is where I would draw the line of utmost disrespecting someone that has the issues your husband has. I know it's probably hard on both you and your son but just imagine what your husband is going through. Your child is just that your child so if they are arguing it means your son is being disrespectful to your husband of something he has asked him to do.

    • Christine
      Dear Caught in the middle. As a wife we are to have our husbands backs in the instants of our children being disrespectful to us especially if our husbands have our backs in the discipline process of our children. Sometimes hard love is the right love for our children especiallyMore if your husband has a disability to which he cannot help. Sometimes us wife's have to just step up and step in even when it's hard to be the disciplinarian.
  • Frustrated father

    I have a 10 year old son. Last week he told me to F-off. He lost screens for a day and all felt fine. Then on Father's Day, our family was supposed to go on a family bike ride after his morning 1hr screen time. He said he wouldn't go on the bike ride because he would be gone for four hours. Then it escalated into him telling me to F-off again and smacked me (not painful, but a symbol of his level of disrespect).

    Our parenting style (count to 3 before consequences, losing screen time, etc) is obviously not working.

    Ideas please!!!

    • Denise Rowden, Parent CoachEP Coach
      I can understand your frustration. It can be quite disheartening when your child is verbally disrespectful or abusive to you. You may find this article helpful:https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/disrespectful-child-behavior-dont-take-it-personally/. Thank you for writing in. Take care.
  • tiredmom
    My 14-year-old son has been struggling with problematic behaviors since early head start. He's going to high school this upcoming year and I am really afraid he'll be kicked out. He's been suspended every year of his school career. I've tried everything. I have a B.S. in mental health andMore human services, I've worked with troubled youth, I hold him accountable.....NOTHING is working and I am just so tired. It's exhausting just being around him most days, (although, I love my son with all of my heart). Please help me. Why doesn't anything work?
  • vietchinamom
    What do you do when your daughter is rude, yells and goes to her room and when you try to talk to her about the behavior when she is calm it just starts all over again with yelling and slamming doors
    • Denise Rowden, Parent CoachEP Coach

      Hi, vietchinamom. That's a great question. Sometimes a parent may need to withhold a privilege until their child is able to have a calm problem solving conversation. For example, the next time your daughter becomes belligerent when you try to have a conversation with her, you could say to her something like "I can see that you're not ready to have a conversation about what happened earlier. That's OK. We do need to have a conversation, though. So, until you're able to talk about your behavior in a calm, respectful manner, you're not going to be able to use your phone (or another privilege). Once we've had the conversation, you can have your phone back." This is usually an effective way of motivating your child to have a problem solving conversation.

      Thank you for reaching out. Be sure to check back and let us know how it goes. Take care.

  • Mom of three
    My son is 16 yrs old he has a older girlfriend they have been dating for about 9mnths. He has recently everytime I try to talk he has a attitude towards me. Today I was telling him something and I said nevermind because he acted uninterested. Then he shut doorMore and locked it. I told him you do t need to lock your door. So he said what ever Im not trying to argue. I was not arguing I was stating what he wasnt going to do.
  • Step Parent
    I have a step child - he is 25 years old. He disrespects his father - disrespects me. We have caught him stealing - tearing up things that don't belong to him and now he is living off of my husbands mother 84 years old. He has a job butMore doesn't pay rent. Now he takes things and uses them without asking either of us because he knows we will say no - in the past he has never returned anything he borrowed or he tears it up. You can't believe anything he says because everything is a lie. AND to top it off the X wife promotes his behavior. (She is the same way) WHAT TO DO?
    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent CoachEP Coach
      I’m so sorry to hear about the challenges you are facing with your stepson right now, and I’m glad you’re here reaching out for support. I hear your frustration with his behavior, as well as the lack of support from his mother/your husband’s ex-wife in addressing his choices. More In situations like this, it can be helpful to focus on where you have control, which is over yourself and your own actions. At this point, I recommend talking with your husband during a calm time, and coming to an agreement about boundaries you are willing to set and enforce with his son. Remember, because your stepson is an adult, anything you choose to provide to him is considered a privilege, including a place to live. You might find more helpful tips in Rules, Boundaries and Older Children Part II: In Response to Questions about Older Children Living at Home. I recognize how difficult this must be for you right now, and I wish you all the best as you continue to move forward. Take care.
  • Overwhelmed Nana
    My granddaughter is being disrespectful....See talk under her breath to her teachers an use a tone that's disrespectful...Her mom(my daughter) is at width end...I live in a different town and communicate with my granddaughter over the phone which is not getting through to her...Any opinions/suggestions...Can't afford a therapist so that'sMore out
    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent CoachEP Coach
      I hear you. It can be so difficult when you have a child who behaves disrespectfully, yet you live in another town and are limited in how you can directly address it. As outlined in the article above, sometimes disrespectful behavior stems from a lack of appropriate copingMore skills to handle a given situation. Something you could try during your phone calls is having a problem-solving conversation with her about what she can do differently when she is speaking with others. I recognize how challenging this must be for you right now, and I hope that you will write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family. Take care.
  • Andrew0115

    I talk with a lot of parents, and they tell me their kids talk back to them and disrespect them. I’ve seen it too. I’m not sure why, but a lot of kids don’t have the respect for adults like they did when I was growing up.

    I also think kids don’t learn communication skills like how to talk to someone if you’re upset or having a bad day, or how to have an adult conversation if you disagree with someone or don’t understand them.

    I’ve worked with a lot of kids, and they mean well, but many of them just don’t know how to express themselves or their feelings and emotions. The interesting thing is that they only need a small push in the right direction to do well.

  • Vanessa
    Hi I have a 13 year old Daughter she is mild Autistic She is disrespectful and answers bad..At moments she can be a sweetheart. Another thing is that she is very greedy with her brother. I have try to make her understand that is the only brother she has .AndMore that she cannot be behaving that way.. What can I do?
    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      Disrespectful behavior is one of the most common issues we hear about from parents, so you are not alone in experiencing these challenges with your daughter. As outlined in the article above, it can be helpful to decide which behaviors you are going to focus on, which you areMore willing to let go, and to explain your expectations to your daughter in a clear, specific way. Given your daughter’s diagnosis, you might work with her treatment providers to help you develop a strategy to address her disrespectful behavior toward you and her brother. If you are not currently working with anyone to help you with your daughter’s behavior, try contacting the 211 Helpline at 1-800-273-6222. 211 is a service which connects people to resources available in their community. I hear how challenging this is for you, and I wish you and your family all the best moving forward. Take care.
      • Geneva Blanchard
        Thank you for acknowledging that the authors are lmcsw's not physicians or nurse practitioners or psy-d educated or licensed diagnosticians , at least in your comments your somewhat humble.
  • Steve
    Hi, my 14 year old stepdaughter threw me down a couple of months ago when I told her to go to bed. Her mother, my wife, was away on business as she normally is a couple of weeks out of the month. I told me wife and sheMore sort of blew it off. Any advise would be appreciated. Thanks, Steve
    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      I’m so sorry to hear about your stepdaughter’s behavior and actions toward you. I’m glad to hear that you have tried to bring this up with your wife, although you didn’t get the response you might have hoped for. At this point, it might be helpful toMore talk with your wife during a calm time, and come to an agreement about how both of you can respond to aggressive behavior from your stepdaughter in the future. You might find some helpful ideas in How to Manage Aggressive Child Behavior. Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family. Take care.
  • Wanda Wooten
    My 10 year old granddaughter lives with me because of CDV and drugs, at times she is very disrespectful to me and keeps her room so messy and constantly we are in a battle because of this and she is very disrespectful. I get it in my mind that it'sMore because what she lived in and given to her . I need help I'm at the end of my rope.
    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      Disrespect can be such a challenging behavior to address, and I’m glad that you’re here reaching out for support. Your granddaughter is fortunate to have you as a stable, loving presence in her life. As outlined in the article above, it can be helpful to talk with yourMore granddaughter during a calm time about what is included under the umbrella term of “disrespect”, so she knows what you expect from her. If her room is a big source of conflict between you, you might find some useful tips in 4 Tips to Help Get Kids to Clean Their Rooms. Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your granddaughter. Take care.
  • Mom0128
    Hello, I received a text from my teen's friend 's mother saying my 14 years old son has been sending texts to her son using really bad language. I'm speechless since I never heard a bad word from him. I'm embarrassed and I don't know how to deal with it.More Please help!!!
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      Mom0128 I hear you.  It can be very embarrassing when another parent approaches you about your teen’s behavior.  It’s not uncommon for kids (and adults) to have different styles of communicating depending on who they are talking to.  At this point, I encourage you to talk with your son aboutMore your expectations for his language, regardless of his conversational partner, and have a https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior-i-cant-solve-problems/ about what he will do differently moving forward.  You might also consider checking his phone randomly to make sure that he is following the rules.  Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your son.  Take care.
  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
    Ashley Kellerman I hear how frustrated you are right now with the current situation with your boyfriend’s teen daughter, and I’m glad that you are reaching out for support.  At this point, it could be useful for you and your boyfriend to https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/my-blended-family-wont-blend-help-part-i-how-you-and-your-spouse-can-get-on-the-same-page/when it comes to the rules of the house,More and expectations for his daughter when she comes to visit.  Something else to keep in mind is that giving harsh consequences, or taking everything away, doesn’t tend to be effective in changing behavior.  This is because kids with nothing, have nothing to lose.  You and your boyfriend might find some helpful information in setting up effective consequences in https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/how-to-get-your-child-to-listen-9-secrets-to-giving-effective-consequences/.  In addition, it generally tends to be more effective when the bio parent takes the lead in enforcing the rules for their child. I recognize how challenging this must be for you, and I hope that you will write back and let us know how things are going.  Take care.
  • Help1967


    I'm really sad, I've walked out tonight with my case, left my husband and older daughter in the house looking after my defiant argumentative 11yr old son.

    It's been going on for weeks, I've grounded him many times took his phone and Xbox off him and stopped him playing out, unless it's his football club.

    I sometimes fear him and get anxious when he starts, I know it's all about boundaries he can't help himself , he's so loud to, always has been.

    We argue now and it resulted it me swearing at him because it's gone on to long , I'm not proud of myself , I never had this with my daughter she's in her 20s now and she was always lovely.

    I left tonight to stay in s local hotel as I hate him at the moment . He's defiant , lies, thinks he's cool -?(he's not) he hates me and wishes I was dead, only likes me when he wants stuff. He doesn't understand the difference between what a adult can say and do and not a child .

    My husband to weak and mild too, hasn't helped.

  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport



    sorry to hear about the challenging behavior you are experiencing with your

    daughter. I’m glad that you are reaching out for support, both in your

    community as well as here on our site.When parents are faced with numerous behavioral issues, it tends to be

    most effective to pick one or two to focus on at once, rather than trying to

    address everything at once.Based on

    what you have written, I recommend focusing first on potential safety issues,

    such as https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/my-child-is-using-drugs-or-drinking-alcohol-what-should-i-do/ and https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/signs-of-parental-abuse-what-to-do-when-your-child-or-teen-hits-you/.I encourage you to

    continue working with the local supports you already have in place to help you

    develop a plan, and keep your daughter safe.I wish you and your family all the best as you continue to move

    forward.Take care.

  • LisaWiden
    My 14 year old has friends over and one of his friends always does weird disrespectful things in the house when he is here. This time I caught him in the act and I told him I am tired of you doing things everytime you are here. The firstMore incident was in the summer when this kid and another friend were outside and he was throwing onto the driveway an full can of iced tea and water bottle and then empty ones. I told him we don't act like that here. I called his father and told him. This time I noticed a candy wrapper thrown on floor in kitchen and I heard running back and forth into kitchen. So I sat in steps in foyer and he was looking for candy wrapper which I had picked up and then I saw him throw something at the wine rack while laughing and carrying on with another kid. I told him I am tired of you doing things everytime you are here now go in the back room. Out of the kitchen. What is this behavior and what should I do
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport



      parents struggle with how to respond when their child’s friend is not following

      the house rules, so you are not alone.While

      you cannot control your son’s friend or his behavior, you can set limits and enforce

      your house rules.For example, in a

      calm, neutral tone, you can say something like, “We have a rule in this house

      that throwing things is not allowed.Stop it.”Jennie Wallace outlines

      more tips in her blog, https://www.empoweringparents.com/blog/disciplining-someone-elses-child/.Thank you for your question; take care.

  • lost parent
    I have a 17 year old daughter who has a 5 month old baby boy. I blame myself for spoiling her so much that I find myself giving in because it is my fault. She is disrespectful to me and my husband actually to everyone. I bought her a carMore and now she has been skipping school for several days and thinks theres nothing wrong with leaving school if they are not doing anything in class. She acts like she can do whatever she wants without consequences and now I am worried about my grandson. I have punished her in the past, grounding her and taking things away. I've tried everything  besides beating her, which I will not do of course. But I am at my wits end with her. is it wrong that I want the authorities to take her to a juvenile detention just to teach her a lesson. I want to do this but I am so scared to lose her and my grandson. I don't think I can handle my life without being in contact with her or my grandchild. Please help me..
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      @lost parent 

      I hear your concern for your daughter’s behavior, and how she might react

      if you were to set firm limits with her.Something that we often talk about is that it’s not about who’s to

      blame, or whose fault it is.Instead, it

      tends to be more effective to focus on who is going to take

      responsibility.If you have found that

      your typical pattern of responding to your daughter’s behavior is not working,

      then you can adjust what you are doing.You might find some starting points in our article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/its-never-too-late-7-ways-to-start-parenting-more-effectively/.Please be sure to write back and let us know

      how things are going for you and your family. Take care.

  • No names
    I have a 11year old boy he will not listen to anything I say he tells lies all the time he steals out of my purse at the put a lock on my purse I don't know what to do he sees a therapist every week but it's not helping
    • No names
      I need help i feel like I am going to have a heart attack
      • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

        @No names 

        It sounds like you

        are dealing with quite a few challenging behaviors with your son right now, and

        I’m glad that you are reaching out for support.  Something that can be

        useful is to https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/in-over-your-head-how-to-improve-your-childs-behavior-and-regain-control-as-a-parent/, and picking just one or two to

        focus on.  In this way, you can avoid feeling overwhelmed with making

        changes.  From what you have described, one place to start might be your

        son stealing from your purse.  You might find our article, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/kids-stealing-from-parents-what-you-need-to-know-now/, helpful to read

        next.  Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are

        going.  Take care.

  • Hope911
    I have a 14year old this summer he began to sneak out. Now he sneaks out n dont return home to police catch him. Longest was 8days.he been locked up 11days for hitting co worker at behavior program .broke in store. I need help by parents who have been thruMore this.I tried everything counseling group for behavior school behavior group big brother program +. Help
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      I recognize how difficult this situation with your son must

      be, and I hope that other parents who have been through similar situations will

      reach out and share their experiences with you.  In the meantime, I

      encourage you to talk with the police during a calm time to talk about how you

      can work to hold your son accountable when he is doing things like sneaking out

      and breaking into stores.  We have a downloadable worksheet which can help

      to guide this conversation with the police; you can find a copy https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/how-to-talk-to-police-when-your-child-is-physically-abusive/. 

      In addition, in many communities, there are programs commonly called PINS/CHINS

      (person/child in need of supervision) in which parents can petition the court

      to help them when a child is repeatedly breaking the rules and engaging in

      risky behavior.  You can get more information on the process in your

      community by contacting your juvenile justice or family court clerk.  I

      can only imagine how challenging this situation has been for you, and I wish

      you and your family all the best moving forward.  Take care.

  • Kim22U
    Hello! Do you see a trigger for direspect with that additional Jab - it's an absolute mess? Can you remember they have a child's brain and not an adults? Does your child have an emotional volcabulary they know how to express? DO YOU have one? Dad your life is anMore absolute MESS. They may not have the brain copacity /developmentto not be reactionary emotionally yet. They kids!!! I'LL ALSO BE DAMNED if I don't have fragments left of the extreme abusive behavior my parents distilled in me and PTSD awful coping megagnisms. YOUR NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR KIDS BEHAVIOR???. Really if you're responsible have a relationship be emotionally available with solid boundries admit a mistakes. Sure as hell don't spank your kids or your asking for eternal disrespect and defiance. There is loads of peer reviewed research. DO NOT STRIKE your kiddos. Seriously apologize to them if you have and LISTEN if they are willing to talk in depth about it.
  • TinaQuinlan
    Why does it always go down to the mother . A lot of times the other half is in just as much of a loss . Doesn't know what to do because she/he loves all of you .
  • MagXee

    I am a father to three teenage children, all of whom have disrespected me for years. It has caused me and continues to cause me enormous problems. I believe it's down to my marriage to their mother, during which she disrespected me and I just took it. The kids learned that Dad is a doormat, takes all manner of abuse and still does everything you want! We separated in the end. However, I am changing the view of me as slave, 'best friend', gopher etc. I am trying something out and so far it seems to be working. This is what I am trialling: If they swear at or are disrespectful to me, even once, I ask for their phone or internet dongle, saying either that it will be a half hour ban for more minor grievances or a longer, but distinct, time period for more serious offences. They then refuse to give it to me. Staying calm throughout, I say that if they do not give it to me right now, I will double the ban. And, crucially, I have learned the hard way that I have to MEAN IT and follow through. So far, I get the phone. Then no amount of pleading, apologising, begging will bring it back earlier. And if they carry on being disrespectful, I tell them I have extended the ban to x hours, maybe proportionate to the amount/level of disrespect (punishment fits the crime etc). This renders them impotent, since they know that: a) if they continue the disrespect, the ban will extend, and b) I mean it and it will happen like I said it would. Sometimes I say, 'you will get the phone back - when I decide.' So if it's a power struggle they want, they've handed whatever power they thought they had straight to me. Sometimes they will try to play me at my own game and take something of mine. As long as it isn't something dangerous or personal, I'll say, 'Fine, have it. But you've just extended your ban.' I'm hoping to make them understand that it's THEIR actions that lead to the consequence, not mine - I am only the consequence setter. It's an attempt to teach them that the best power they have in a situation like this is not to begin it in the first place.

    If that helps anyone, do let me know. It's in the testing phase here in my own house!

  • Countrygirl66
    Do you have any advise for grandparents who are dealing with a grandchild who will not respect your rules in your home. In fact the Father has been known to b involved. E.g. grandchild ask if they can have the desert you prepared for after dinner, you say they needMore to wait and the next thing you see is that grandchild walking out of the kitchen with their father with the desert in hand. This has happened on more than one occasion.
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      This is a common

      scenario faced by many grandparents, so you are not alone in this

      situation.  You have the right to set and enforce the rules in your home,

      and you might consider having a conversation about your expectations before the

      next visit.  As discussed in https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/grandparents-and-parents-disagreeing-11-tips-for-both-of-you/, open, honest

      communication with the parents about your boundaries during a calm time can be

      useful in resolving conflict.  I hope this has been helpful; take care.

  • LEZEL1234
    Hi all am a very upset worried mum of a totally out of control 14 year old girl who is soo rude doesnt like consequences and SCREAMSSSS back if given any .....no matter what she does she does not want consequences, runs away to far away places in strangers cars,More she has been into alot of problems, doing drugs alcohol i mean weed, runs away and NEVER EVER keeps in touch with me or her father....just disappears and expects us not to call the police and report her missing.....recently I have heard she has been having oral sex with different guys , no one wants to date her ,,,,she is very pretty though....I guess it is because of her ways ...her reputation she has created of her self.....If i take away her phone for running away for 2 days .....she flips even more. she is in counseling but it seems to be no good for her......what should i do....we have been in the country for only the past 4 years she acts like she knows every one she makes all the strangers her friends....doesnt care of being sex trafficked or kidnapped or killed in someones car .......am so so worried ....Please help I am on the verge of opening up a pins petition on her which means a person in need of supervision.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      I can hear your distress. Considering the choices your

      daughter has been making, it’s understandable you would be worried. Filing a

      PINS petition could be a good idea. As James Lehman discusses in the article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/is-it-time-to-call-the-police-on-your-child-assaultive-behavior-verbal-or-physical-abuse-drugs-and-crime/, when your authority as a parent doesn’t

      seem to be enough, sometimes it’s necessary to bring in a higher authority. A

      PINS petition may help you gain back control, which may give you the

      opportunity to help your daughter develop more effective coping skills.

      Typically, a parent will need to petition the court for this type of service.

      You could contact your local clerk of courts to find out what steps you would

      need to take. In the meantime, it may be helpful to speak with someone on the http://www.1800runaway.org/

      (1-800-786-2929) to develop a plan you can implement when your daughter takes

      off without permission. Thank you for reaching out to Empowering Parents and

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


  • Sean99
    I'm surprisingly not a parent but an older brother whos desperately worried at the conditions his sisters in. My sister has always been disrespectful toward my parents, along with being anti-social, but now things just got out of hand. My family went to this one party and my sister keptMore pushing my parents buttons by wanting to leave as soon as possible. Despite many warnings they gave her, she just pressed on.  Finally when we went home my family lectured her and even threated to take away her cat cat if she doesn't change. My sister just exploded!!! Screaming that they are being abusive along with other things. Just right now they are still arguing, can someone provide some help please!!!!!!
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      I’m sorry your sister’s behavior and the resulting stress to

      your parents  is causing you such worry.  It can be tough to watch

      the people you love struggle. We are limited in the advice we can offer you as

      her sibling. There is a website that may be able to help, however. http://www.yourlifeyourvoice.org/ is a site aimed

      at helping teens and young adults find effective ways of navigating the tough

      times they can sometimes face. They offer a Helpline you can access by calling

      1-800-448-3000, http://www.yourlifeyourvoice.org/Pages/ways-to-get-help.aspx, as well as an online forum and chat. I encourage you to

      check out the site to see what they have to offer. Good luck to you and your

      family moving forward. Take care.

  • Patriciah10
    My 10yr old grandson is often oppositional and defiant, calling his younger sister names, being rude and disrespectful to his mother and me. I have put the "there is no excuse for Abuse" sign on the fridge. He has taken it down several times and after he went to bedMore I found he had replaced it with his own "eat s@#t b@#$h". What to do? I suspect he's done this because we had a conversation earlier about swearing and why I find that sort of name calling particularly offensive. I've removed his sign but should I talk to him about why he did it, ignore it?
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      You ask a question we hear often as Empowering Parents

      coaches, whether it’s better to ignore a behavior or address it. In the situation you

      describe, I think

      it may be better to give the note as little attention as possible. Continuing

      to respond to

      his behaviors in this situation is only going to give the note more power than

      it deserves. In this particular instance, I would simply replace the “no excuse

      for abuse” note and make no mention of the note he left. This doesn’t mean your

      grandson’s behavior is OK, and, his verbal disrespect is something that needs

      to be addressed. One thing we would suggest doing is responding to his name

      calling and disrespect by setting the limit and walking away.  You, and

      other members of the family, can say to him something like “Don’t talk to me

      that way, I don’t like it” and then walk away or leave the room. You can hold

      him accountable later on with a task oriented consequence, for example, loss of

      one of his electronics privileges until he can go for 2 hours without being

      disrespectful. You can find out more information for what steps you can take to

      hold your grandson accountable and also help him develop better ways of

      responding in the article The Surprising Reason for Bad Child Behavior: “I Can’t Solve Problems”.

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

      questions. Take care.

  • HelpPls

    I have a 13 year old daughter who is out of control.  She has refused to go to school all week.  Refuses to get out of bed till she wants, swings punches at me if I try to drag her out of bed.  Tells me she is bigger than me and can bash me.

    Recently her dad moved out due to us separating 15mths ago and last month I had to get a VRO on him.  Due to threats. 

    Ive taken her electronics away and will stand by this till she goes to school this the only thing I can think to do.  

    She constantly abuses me due to the breakup, I guess she knows how to upset me.  Im very down atm so Im crying a lot in front of her too I just cant hold it in anymore.

    The stress is unbelieveable.

    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      I can only imagine how stressful this situation is. You have

      a lot on your plate right now and, from what you have written, it sounds like

      you are managing the situation as best you can. It would be best not to get

      into physical power struggles trying to make your daughter go to school.

      Instead, continue to have a clear expectation around school attendance and hold

      her accountable for not meeting that expectation by continuing to withhold the

      electronic privileges until she does go. You can’t make her go to school and

      trying to physically get her out of bed in an attempt to get her to school runs

      the risk of one or both of you getting hurt. That isn’t going to help the

      situation and will probably prolong the power struggle. School is your

      daughter’s responsibility and she needs to face the consequences of she’s not

      taking that responsibility seriously.  Remember as well there are probably

      natural consequences for not attending school; she may have to make it up in

      summer school or may have to go to school for an extra year. Sometimes you have

      to allow your child to http://www.empoweringparents.com/blog/school-and-homework/allowing-your-child-to-fail-can-also-mean-giving-them-the-opportunity-to-succeed/, as tough as that may be to do.  As important as

      school may be for your daughter, it’s more important for you to start finding

      ways of taking care of yourself. You’ve been dealing with a lot of tough issues

      recently and anyone would be feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. Finding ways to

      recharge when your child is acting out is an important, though often

      overlooked, part of being an effective parent. Your self care plan could

      include taking a

      walk when feeling stressed or doing another activity you enjoy. You could also

      take some time each week for reaching out to others, either by phone or in

      person, such as meeting a friend for coffee. It also may be helpful

      to find more structured supports in your area, such as a parenting group or

      counselor. The http://www.211.org/ would be able to

      give you information on resources in your community. You can reach the Helpline

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

      sharing your story. Best of luck moving forward. Take care.

  • femjay1228
    What happens when you have tried all of what is listed in the article, and nothing seems to work?
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      You ask a great question. It does take longer for some kids

      to learn more effective ways of solving problems. One way a parent can help

      their child with this skills development is through having problem solving

      conversations that focus directly on the disrespectful behavior. As James

      Lehman points out in his article The 3 Skills Every Child Needs for Good Behavior, learning how to effectively deal with frustration and

      disappointment is a skill a child needs to learn in order to turn his/her

      behavior around. It’s also going to be helpful to develop an effective response

      to the behavior in the moment, as Carole Banks explains in her article Disrespectful Child Behavior? Don’t Take It Personally. For example, when your child is

      being disrespectful, you might find it helpful to set the limit and then walk

      away. You can say something like “That behavior isn’t going to solve your

      problem” or “It’s not OK to talk to me that way; I don’t like it.” And then

      leave the room. You can always follow up later with a problem solving

      conversation and possibly a task oriented consequence during a calm time. We

      appreciate you writing in. Be sure to check back if you have any further

      questions. Take care.

  • louie
    I have twins 17years old, a boy and a girl,yelling and screaming has become part of our daily routine, don't remember as kid having this issue,we have good values as a family,but the verbal abuse is mentally tiresome,there is not one day that goes by that there no fighting andMore yelling,slamming doors, kicking walls,or throwing thing or name calling,When does this stop.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      It can be tough for parents when siblings don’t get along.

      Truthfully, sibling issues can continue well into adulthood. This doesn’t mean,

      however, that you are powerless to address the behaviors you are currently

      seeing. One thing that may be helpful is sitting down at a calm time with each

      of your children separately and talking with them about ways they might be able

      to handle their conflicts more appropriately. We have several articles that

      offer tools and techniques a parent can use to help siblings get along. Two in

      particular you may find helpful are 6 Ways to Stop Sibling Bickering and Rivalry & Siblings at War in Your Home? (Declare a Cease-fire Now!). We appreciate you writing

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

  • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

    Natalie Triplett

    It can be tough when it seems as if all you and your parents do

    is fight and argue. It can be easy to feel as if things will never change. I’m

    glad you decided to reach out to Empowering Parents for help and support.

    Something you may not be aware of is there is a website available which

    actually may be able to offer you help specific to the problems you are facing.


    is aimed at helping adolescents and teens figure out effective ways of talking

    to their parents and also dealing with various other issues. They have many

    different types of support, from online forums and chat, email or text, and

    also a call in service. Their website and help line is staffed with specially

    trained counselors. I encourage you to check it out to see what help they can

    offer you. Good luck to you moving forward. Take care.

  • Hi, my name is Sasha. My son is 6 years old. I feel as if I am on the verge of a breakdown and at the same time I feel silly for it. My son is sweet. He's very kind and very helpful. When it comes to helping another, 90%More of the time his answer is yes. But when he's doing something inappropriate he downright refuses to follow directions 60-80% of the time. He does things like yell, "I hate you" and "I hate you guys"(when it's me and his stepfather talking with him). He says no forcefully and stares at me as if he's asserting his dominance. I don't know why he things he can do this with me. We had a rough start living with my mother until just last year. She under-minded me at every turn and helped to grow bad behaviors. Before I started working full time when he was 3-4 he was highly independent and afraid of nothing. Now he's afraid of the dark like never before and also afraid of ever being in a room alone. I've tried to combat this issue because sometimes I need privacy to work and study, but he fights me on this at every turn. He's frustrating his teachers at school for not following directions and also talking out of turn, too loudly, or too much. It's severe. I will tell him not to do something and the next minute he's doing it and when I try talking to him to ask him why he says "Because I want to." I'm very confused by him. All the advice I'm given is "spank him." I would do anything necessary to help steer him on the right path but his father was spanked often as a child for the same behaviors and he grew to become physically abusive. I don't want the same fate for my son. He's my first child and I know we aren't all perfect, but I don't have an example of proper parenting and discipline in my life and could use some input. I took him to a therapist and he gave me this packet full of information on a system to change him that included posters and charts and having everyone in the family focussed on his behavior. It seemed like a bit much. At the time it wasn't possible because we still lived with my mother. But now that we're away from her and the behaviors persist, I want to see change more than ever. Also, I myself have not exactly been consistent because I haven't found anything to be effective. Not time outs. Not taking away his toys. Not even light spanking when he was younger. I don't want to beat him. People are telling me he has to fear me. I do not want that for my son. Please help.

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      We hear from many parents who feel
      helpless and overwhelmed when a child is continuously refusing to follow
      directions or do what he is told.  You are not alone in trying to address
      this type of situation.  Something to keep in mind is that kids your son’s
      age lack impulse control, and do notMore have a high frustration tolerance. 
      In addition, kids frequently act out in inappropriate ways because they lack
      effective problem-solving skills.  This is why we do not recommend using
      physical punishments (such as spanking) or fear-based techniques, because they
      are not effective at teaching kids what to do differently the next time they
      are in a similar situation.  What we recommend is sitting down with your
      son during a calm time, and having a conversation with him about some steps he
      can take to http://www.empoweringparents.com/ask-once-and-your....  We also find that
      kids your son’s age tend to respond well to incentives for appropriate
      behavior, so you might consider trying http://www.empoweringparents.com/free-downloadable... again to track his compliance.  I
      realize that this is a difficult period for you, and I hope that you will write
      back and let us know how things are going.  Take care.

      • Hope911
        My son is 14 in this summer he began sneaking out n not returning to police catch him. The longest would be 8days n he would have friends clothes on n really dirty n smelly n sleeping in vans or lying to friends parents sayin I said it was fibeMore for him to stay. Its getting out of control were he jumping off the secound story window. Breaking in abandoned stores jumping off roofs getting chased by police. These past three months he been locked up five times just for me to get a call to pick him up.he knows now when police find him its ok because he will get out sane day .smh he even was on house arrest n ran away police foubd him n again released him once again. Im a nurse in had to let my career go because of goin to work in have to leave saying my child was in sone bs in have him downtown in for me to pic hin up or tell call c.s.b my child is bringing me down with his behavior.tired,stress,emotionally drain, loding my mind in feel all alone.his father passed when he was 3
      • Eve

        My son began acting very similar to the lady with the 6 year old when he about 4 to 5 and started school. He didnt use disrespectful language just the behavior and lack of impulse control. I used the chart reward based behavior modification aproach and although it only worked half of the time mostly for tasks and goals it did not work as he got older. I used this method consistently and was careful in how I talked to him because he absored everything. I raised 3 kids including him two now almost done with college and he is now a senior. Do not cry in front of the child do not act weak or fall into his behavior remain firm but loving and follow through with punishment you dont have to put your hands on him some children dont respond to corporal punishment especially fearful emotional children. My son was diagnosed with ADHD wich explained all the behavior and once I learned how to deal with that I was better able to handle the behavior. My son is still a pain sometimes due to his dramatic ways and yes sometimes I get fustrated but remember its harder for the kid than it is with you sometimes they really dont even know why they have outburts or get so worked up over nothing. Parenting is not easy and I grew up rough but with help from the doctors and schools teachers and most of all God I did it and still doing it .

        You gotta hanng in there its worth it. I see my son struggle but at the same time all that due diligence is paying off he is doing great and its his greats that I harp on and just deal with the negative behavior one at a time while building bridges with him to work on it and find resolutions to what ever he needs to overcome.

        Every child is different so yah hang in there.My children also had dad issues and my husband has been their dad for as far as they can remember its ok for step dads to have imput if your ok with it and its not abusive he plays a more important role now that they are older they talk alot and as young boys turn in to young men they need that it makes a huge difference.

  • theresawinslow

    Confused Teen I wish my boys could read your comment, because everything you don't have they do and everything your not allowed to do they can ex. have friends over, go to friends, etc. I would like to know, do you still respect your parents? My boys have no respectMore for me at all anymore and haven't for some time, I am so confused about how to get them to show me respect and to at least pretend they care about me anymore.

  • theresawinslow

    My name is Theresa. I am 49 years old. I have two boys, ages 15 and 18. They both moved in with their father about two-three years ago. They were getting disrespectful before that but in the last couple of years it has gotten terrible. They only know of myMore existence when they want something. They never initiate  communication with me. When I ask them why they never call/text me they say they forgot or they don't know. They are very lazy and unmotivated. Since my 18 year old has been of age he no longer visits, it's no longer court ordered. I raised my boys as a single parent until they were teenagers, their father and them had a very strained relationship during their younger childhood because he was always in and out of jail (mainly drug related). They started knowing their father when I took them to the prison for visits. It breaks my heart that I no longer exists to them. I try to talk to them but it always ends up with me crying and screaming. We no longer have any type of relationship, we use to be so terribly close, sort of like the three stooges. I love them so much and it kills me that they no longer seem to love or even care for me as their mama or as a person. How do you forget to call your mama?

    • TamaraB_ParentalSupport


      It can be heartbreaking when we see our children pull away from
      us. Even in the best of circumstances, it can be a frightening and confusing
      time for families. It is especially hard to maintain a useful perspective on
      this when you do not have daily contact with the children you love beyond
      measure.More Given their age, it is not unexpected that you would see a certain
      amount of pulling away and distancing. This is the stage of development where
      young people separate their identities from their parents. Often, they do it in
      awkward or potentially hurtful ways. While it is not OK for someone to treat
      you poorly, it is also helpful to find ways to not take this personally. Gina
      Norma, one of our parent bloggers, writes about this in her post http://www.empoweringparents.com/blog/communicatio....  Another
      useful way to begin handling this, is to focus on the things you can control.
      It may be a good time to get together with each of your sons individually to
      discuss expectations for your relationship going forward. It is unfortunate,
      but young people their age often just don’t consider the fact that their
      behavior has a significant impact on others. Holding them accountable for that
      may help set things on a better path. This article http://www.empoweringparents.com/disrespectful-kid... by Debbie Pincus may help you get the conversation started.
      Finally, it is always important to practice good self care at times like these.
      We encourage you to seek support or get active in something you enjoy while you
      are figuring this out.  It is good that you are reaching out. Please keep
      in touch.

  • pauline_frazier

    I don't know what to do anymore about my daughter. First, let me say good things about her behavior. She has brought me closer to Buddha, that is for certain. However, who has such patience to deal with an unruly child day in and day out without losing their gripMore once in a while? I disappoint myself when I yell back at her, because I think I can do better than that and set a better example. But, of course I fall short sometimes. She seems to know all my buttons and pressing them is like a pastime for her. Today, she dragged her feet getting ready for school and made me have to hustle to get her to school even though I woke her up in plenty of time to wash up/brush teeth, eat, review her vocabulary words and even catch a little of a cartoon if she would have managed her time more wisely.

    I always stress that choices have consequences, both good and bad. Her foot dragging and yelling at me this morning (for simple things, like asking her to stop laying down in the blankets and come brush her teeth) resulted in me confiscating her tablet and computer privileges for a month. I wanted to spank her butt so bad, but I am very proud of myself. However, I did yell at her after enduring about 30 minutes of her constant abuse and defiance and the stress of her willingly making us late with her antics. The smirk on her face when I tried calmly asking her to redirect herself is what really took me over the edge. 

    It's like she was enjoying watching me stress and run around after her while I was also trying to pull myself together to get out of the house. Every morning with her is like this to some degree...an interesting exception to this rule, is when there is some fun activity that she is anxious about. In those cases, she gets ready with NO problem and with little to no cajoling. That's how I know she is just being a brat for the sake of it. I'm sick of it, and I am nearly at the end of my rope. I'm open to any suggestions. I am currently taking away her electronics and 'friends over' privileges for these actions. I'm sorry if this is all jumbled because I am still quite upset.

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      are not alone in feeling this frustration with your daughter’s behavior. 
      We hear from many parents who are experiencing a similar situation with their
      child.  Something to keep in mind is that it is very likely that your
      daughter knows all of your triggers, and http://www.empoweringparents.com/How-to-Keep-Cool-... consistently pays off forMore her in the
      form of feeling very powerful and in control when you respond.  Something
      that might be helpful for you is to come up with a plan for how you can respond
      differently in the moment so that you remain in control, and you are not
      reinforcing the “button-pushing” behavior.  For example, if she is not
      following directions in the morning, instead of repeating yourself or trying to
      “make” her comply, you might focus on getting yourself ready, do some breathing
      exercises and/or engage in some positive self-talk such as “I am in
      control”.  Sometimes, when we walk away from a power struggle, the child’s
      compliance increases because there is nothing there to struggle against. 
      If she doesn’t get ready on time, we recommend using time-limited, task-oriented
      consequences.  For example, if she is not ready to leave on time, she
      loses her electronics after school for that day, and gets a chance to earn them
      again by being ready the next day.  You can find more information on
      consequences in our article, http://www.empoweringparents.com/How-to-Get-Your-C....  Thank you for writing in; please be sure to check back
      and let us know how things are going for you and your daughter.

  • JLogan3o13

    I read this article (and many others) with great interest, but keep finding myself saying "but we've tried that!". I have two boys, 11 and 3 - the 11 year old has been defiant and oppositional from the moment he learned to talk. He is my pride and joy, butMore as a father I hate to say I almost don't want to come home in the evenings because I know there will be a fight of some sort.

    The problem I encounter is that he just doesn't care about anything. We set reasonable limits, he ignores them. We offer choices, with well-explained consequences, he does what he wants and informs us he'll "do his time". In therapy, when the therapist asked him what he expected the outcome of his defiance to be, he stated matter-of-factly "I'm just waiting for them to break; then I'll get whatever I want." What 11 year old says that?!

    My wife and I purchased the Total Transformation system years ago, when my son was about 6. At that time we tried every suggestion we could find, and spent a LOT of time on the phone with the counselors. He was already making statements at school about bringing in bombs, and striking teachers when they attempted to call me. But after 6 solid months of trying the suggestions given, we felt we were getting nowhere. Now, as he is on the cusp of teen years, I am becoming seriously concerned what he will do to my much smaller wife, or his little brother, in one of his fits when I am not around.

    So what does a parent do, when nothing seems to work? I don't want to lose my son, but don't know how to reach him. Even his current therapist is shaking her head.

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      Thank you for writing in, and for being a customer of the
      Total Transformation Program.  We speak with many parents, both here on
      Empowering Parents and also on the Parent Support Line, who describe similar
      frustrations and feelings like nothing has worked.  Something I would
      encourage you to keep in mind is that theMore goal of consequences is not to http://www.empoweringparents.com/blog/laziness-and...; rather, it is a way to hold him accountable for the
      choices he has made.  The truth is, you can’t “make” your child feel or do
      anything, as that is ultimately up to him.  In addition, it may be that
      the very thing that motivates him is resisting you and pushing your buttons!
      Ultimately, it’s going to be more effective to focus on where you have control,
      and to be consistent in enforcing your rules.  I hear your concern about
      his aggression, and that he might hurt someone in the household.  I
      recommend developing a safety plan, as James Lehman describes in his article http://www.empoweringparents.com/Abusive-Sibling-R..., so that everyone
      can remain safe and has steps to follow should things escalate with your
      son.  You might consider working on this with your son’s counselor, or
      your local crisis team or local law enforcement during a calm time.  I
      would also like to remind you that, as a customer of the Total Transformation
      Program, you do still have access to the Parent Support coaches to help you
      develop a plan to implement the program effectively with your son.  The
      contact information is in your program materials.  If you are not
      currently subscribing to the Parent Support Line, I would be happy to offer you
      a courtesy call.  Thank you again for reaching out to us for support with
      your son; we understand how challenging it can be to parent a child who is so
      defiant.  Please be sure to keep us updated as to how things are
      going.  Take care.

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