Are you dealing with a disrespectful teenager?
Maybe he mutters under his breath when you ask him to do his homework.
Or maybe she slams her room door when you tell her that she can’t go out with her friends.
If so, you’re probably at your wits’ end.
You love your teenagers and you want the best for them.
But you also want them to accept that there are rules in your family, just as there are rules in the outside world.
Don’t be alarmed.
Disrespect towards parents is common as youngsters navigate the waters between childhood and adulthood.
But you can’t deal with disrespect by simply ignoring it. You need a strategy for how to deal with teenage attitude. There are things you need to do, and things you need to avoid doing.
This article explains 10 tips for successfully handling disrespectful and often rebellious teenagers.
Enter your email below to download a PDF summary of this article. The PDF contains all the tips found here, plus 3 exclusive bonus tips that you’ll only find in the PDF.
1. Understand the teenage brain
During childhood, there’s tremendous brain development. By age six, 95% of the brain’s structure has already been formed.
Picture it as a sudden development of the wiring of the brain.
The problem is that the new wiring hasn’t yet been connected to the key parts of the brain.
As Molly Edmonds writes, the teenage brain is like an entertainment centre whose components haven’t yet been hooked up.
There are loose wires everywhere. The speaker system hasn’t been connected to the DVD player. And the DVD player hasn’t been configured to work with the TV.
And as for the remote control – it hasn’t even arrived yet!
In this analogy, the remote control is the prefrontal cortex.
That’s the part of the brain that weighs outcomes, forms judgments, and controls impulses and emotions. But in the teenage brain, it hasn’t been properly connected yet.
What does this mean in practice?
It means teenagers can get frustrated easily, with themselves and with external situations. It makes them impulsive and subject to mood swings that you and I don’t experience.
That’s a heady cocktail that can turn teenagers into emotional wrecks.
Understanding that there’s a biological basis for your teenager’s difficult behaviour makes it much easier to deal with.
It helps you to focus on the behaviour rather than the person.
2. Think about the emotional needs underlying the behaviour
When teenagers are disrespectful to their parents, it’s sometimes a sign that they have emotional needs that aren’t being met.
Sometimes the disrespectful behaviour is a way of getting attention.
Other times, it’s an indication that they don’t feel accepted.
Sit down with your teenager and tell her that you’re there for her if she wants to talk about something. Remind her that you love her unconditionally.
Keep in mind that adolescents often feel powerless. As part of the process of growing up, teenagers need to differentiate themselves from their parents.
This often takes the form of adopting views that are radically different from yours.
Another important part of teenage development is establishing emotional autonomy. This usually involves taking back some of the power from their parents.
The most common way to do this is for the teenager to challenge the rules through conflict and confrontation.
While it may not entirely solve the problem, understanding the emotional needs underlying your teenager’s behaviour will help you to empathise with him.
3. Be a role model
The most important thing you can do is model the kind of behaviour you want to see in your teenager.
It’s amazing how many parents call their children disrespectful and then model the exact behaviour they’re criticising.
Remember, your children are constantly watching you as a role model.
If you’re wondering how to get your kids to respect you, you need to adopt a respectful attitude toward them, toward your spouse, and toward people outside the family.
This is especially important when your teenager is testing boundaries.
Do your best to rise above the level of your teenager’s behaviour. You can’t win by descending to their level. You can only win by being calm, consistent and modelling a better kind of behaviour.
Ideally, this role modelling is something that should start early in the life of your child. But it’s never too late!
It’s definitely one of the keys to raising a successful and happy child.
4. Understand that your teenager is developing independence
Severe disrespect towards parents should never be tolerated.
But it’s important to understand that some level of disrespect is part of the process of growing up and developing independence.
Examples of this kind of disrespect might be eye-rolling, unnecessary remarks, or ignored requests.
Children grow up in an environment where the balance of power lies with the parents. Surrounded by rules and expectations, children tend to feel powerless.
Talking back and other forms of mild disrespect are simply ways for your teenager to feel as if he’s taking back some of that power.
It’s a natural process: your teenager is learning to express himself and to have his own ideas.
And developing independence is a vital aspect of growing up.
5. Ignore mild forms of disrespect
There’s a scene in The Sound of Music where Captain von Trapp lines his children up and summons each of them with a whistle.
In the von Trapp family, the father demands absolute respect.
But that’s neither healthy nor desirable.
In fact, it’s usually best to ignore mildly disrespectful behaviour such as shrugging the shoulders, raised eyebrows, feigned boredom, or muttering under the breath.
Disrespectful behaviour in teenagers is common and is part of the process of growing up.
But blatant rudeness should never be tolerated. Ignoring it will simply lead to an escalation of such behaviour.
6. Set clear and consistent boundaries
One of the most common causes of disrespect in teenagers is the absence of boundaries.
Children who have been spoilt or allowed to have their own way often become disrespectful teenagers.
In families where there are very few firm rules, disrespect amongst teenagers is almost inevitable.
Families in which the parents do have rules for kids’ behaviour but apply them inconsistently are also likely to produce disrespectful teenagers.
Inconsistency can occur where a parent arbitrarily applies different rules on different days for no apparent reason.
For example, allowing a child to stay up till 10:30pm on one weekday but insisting they turn their lights out by 8:30pm the next weekday.
Inconsistency can also arise where two parents apply different rules. For example, one parent might insist on no more than an hour of screen time in the evenings while the other parent imposes no time limit at all.
Here are two reasons why inconsistent rules contribute to the problem of disrespectful teenagers:
- Where one parent is lax and the other is strict, teenagers learn to exploit the inconsistency and play one parent against the other
- Where a parent is lax on some days and strict on others, teenagers can use the inconsistency to question the rules
So it’s important that parents set clear rules and boundaries and apply them consistently – this is a parenting skill that requires practice to master.
Whenever possible, discuss these boundaries with your teenager before they’re set.
7. If you set consequences, follow through on them
While it’s a good idea to acknowledge your teenager’s good behaviour, sometimes you may have to set consequences for their bad behaviour.
If you do, it’s important to follow through on these consequences.
A common mistake parents make is to threaten consequences in the heat of the moment and then fail to act on them.
Believe it or not, teenagers are looking for boundaries. They want to know where the boundaries are – that’s why they test the boundaries.
When you follow through on consequences, your teenager feels safer because she knows where the boundaries are. She learns to trust you because you stand by your word.
But most importantly, she learns that the behaviour in question is not acceptable.
Here are some tips on setting consequences for bad behaviour:
- Make the consequences short term, not long term. When the consequence is short term, the teenager has a chance to learn quickly and move on.
- Don’t make the consequences too harsh.
- Don’t add punitive statements (such as “I told you this was going to happen”) to the consequence. Let the consequence speak for itself. Punitive statements will arouse feelings of anger and resentment in the teenager instead of allowing her to focus on the bad behaviour and its consequences.
8. Don’t make it personal
When dealing with a disrespectful teenager, it’s easy to get caught up in your own emotions. When you do that, you’re likely to make it personal.
But that’s a mistake, because what you need to be focusing on is the behaviour, not the person.
When you focus on the behaviour and not the person, it makes it easier for everyone to stay calm. It allows both you and your teenager to avoid getting emotional.
9. Avoid unnecessary arguments
Engaging in an argument with a disrespectful teenager isn’t going to have a positive outcome. Arguments have a tendency to escalate and get out of control.
When we get angry we say things we later regret.
Instead, stay calm and remember that you want to focus on the behaviour and not get into a power struggle.
But this isn’t always easy, because adolescents experience a whirlwind of emotions.
Remember that as an adult you’re better able to control your emotions than your teenager. It’s an advantage you should put to good use.
10. Avoid using “you are” and “you should” statements
When confronting your teenager about unacceptable behaviour, avoid making statements such as: “You are such a selfish/lazy/uncooperative/rude person.”
Also avoid making statements such as: “You should stop using your phone so much/work harder/pay attention in class/be more responsible.”
Remember, you want to focus on the behaviour instead of casting judgment on your teenager.
Use statements that focus specifically on the behaviour, such as: “When you ignore my requests/shout at me, I feel disrespected.”
The teenage years are challenging, both for teenagers and their parents. And disrespectful teenage behaviour is one of the most frustrating issues for parents to deal with.
Many parents wonder: “Why does my teenager hate me?” But I assure you that’s usually not the case.
The tips in this article will help you navigate these difficult waters.
In particular, target the behaviour and not the person, and develop an understanding of the teenage brain and how it shapes your teenager’s behaviour.
Focus on one tip at a time. When you have that aspect under control, implement another tip.
Gradually, you’ll see an improvement in your teenager’s behaviour – and family life will become more harmonious!
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Oghovemu Okpu says
“Focus on the behaviour; not on the person.” Daniel, it’s just the truth; a great insight for parents who want to get the respect of their teenagers. Thanks for the insightful post
Daniel Wong says
You’re very welcome, Oghovemu.
Behaviors define the relationship. When the behaviors affect every aspect of life the separation become nearly impossible. Mine rebellion became a revolution and then a call to anarchy. Our whole family disociated. We suffer the fallout daily
Paul I agree with you…when the behaviors affect every aspect of life, then separation becomes nearly impossible. It is hard to help defiant teens.
The teens destroy things / people around them and defiant teens son
I feel you on this. The teens destroy things / people around them. I don’t know if our relationship will survive this.
I’m dealing with a completely defiant pre teen! His older siblings have been too easy!and it’s like he’s extra mouthy to make up for them! But it is affecting the whole family and I don’t think I have ever cried so much! 😭
Janey, I’m crying too as I’m reading to get some guidance and comfort after arguing again with my teenager son. He was so perfect! Then he turned 16 and became so disrespectful. I already went through the worst with his older brother’s teenage years. From the age of 12 to 18 his brother never stopped getting in trouble. Now far away from home in College I miss him. I guess I just have to be grateful! It’s part of the job of being a mom. If I knew 😭
OMG! I totally understand how you feel Vanessa. My child has become someone I don’t know at all. I will always love her but I really don’t like her right now. Some days, my sweet daughter will appear but most days, there’s a brat with a bad attitude. When we go shopping, she comes home a leaves the clothes in a bag in the floor for a week. It would be longer if I don’t tell her to pick it up. OMG, cleaning up after herself is a fight waiting to happen. She’s my only child but IF I KNEW!
Ugh. This is the same with our Stef! Doesn’t do any chores, doesn’t clean up after herself. So aggravating. Today she put clean clothes in laundry basket for me go wash. They weren’t worn clothes…she just didn’t want to hang them backup. She will now be doing all of her own laundry
Do we have the same daughter! Ugh same issues with my daughter…. She makes the biggest mess through out the whole house and let me not talk about her bedroom! Cant get her to do anything. Shes on the the phone talking and texing all day. She talks back so much and we’ve been good on the verge of a physical fight but luckily it has not gotten and i wont allow it. She is my only child as well and turning 17 yrs old in Oct. I really dont know how my mother did it with 4 daughters. Aside from all that she behaves obsessively towards her lil boyfriend. The extreme stalking she does over the phone and she literally spends all day consumed with what ge is doing. I’ve already had many talks with about that and when he disappears for days shes perfectly fine but the moment he gives her attention aging she starts back up with the crazy obsessed behavior. I just dont know what to do anymore 😢
Milli madike says
My son os smocking and not sleeping at home when you talk to him he act as if he is listening. He
is absent at school am rely disappointed coz he is very sweet and quite boy
A Boxer says
Vanessa, I feel the same. My 16 year old has become a very entitled person, selfish and barely speaks to me. They are all off school now due to Covid 19, and he stays up late, and lays in until about noon. Difficult situation, but I am just not allowing myself to lose control of my emotions. I also have two other children (13 and 14), home-schooling these two and working is making me pull my hair out. I cry a lot about the difficulty of trying to get them to do the right thing. My 13 year old this morning asked for pancakes, then when I made a gorgeous breakfast (pancakes, strawberries, bacon and a cappuccino), he refused to come and have it. It is just sitting there getting cold, while I am boiling.
I feel your pain. I have a 16 year old and a 13 year old. Both are staying up so late due to no school. I tried making a schedule but gave up as im still working and couldnt keep loosing sleep. My 13 year old is so rude and i lost it and told him exactly what i thought of him. It didnt go down well. I’m at my wits end. Just locked his xbox and took away his phone. He called me “retarted” im trying so hard not to respond.
I will study this article and hope i can be helped.
Mike Arona says
We’ve got the same problem with our 12 (nearly 13) year old son. He also calls me ‘retarded’ and that’s one of the milder insults! I try and stay calm but he pushes and pushes until I lose my rag. I’m currently hiding in my bedroom because I can’t go near him – one more insult or hurtful comment and I will get a belt and thrash him.
We have a good relationship in between his outbursts and he is quite open about some of the things bothering him. However he is manipulative and acts very spoilt (although we’ve tried our best not to spoil him). Threatens to kill himself if he doesn’t get his own way (I don’t think he’s serious about killing himself – frankly he is too self-centred to actually harm himself… but nonetheless it’s pretty frightening to hear that from your child).
Our best parenting strategies don’t seem to work. He’s been difficult almost since the day he was born.
We’re also struggling with the home schooling. He’s been telling us all the work is done, then we receive an email from his teacher this week saying only about one fifth of it has been handed in. His brother is the opposite, and quite compliant/conscientious. It seems to be more nature than nurture.
Pretty much every day is ruined for the whole family at the moment due to my son’s behaviour. We have a generally nice time (as far as we’re able on lockdown) e.g. going to the beach, but as soon as he doesn’t get his way he is very abusive and makes sure everyone suffers.
Trying to set boundaries. The only thing he cares about is his computer and he currently loses his internet access for 24 hours each time he is extremely rude/abusive. But he still doesn’t seem to understand that a tiny bit of effort and politeness will allow him to pretty much do what he wants!
Also I’m arguing with my partner because she tends to give in – she is not very well at the moment so she often hasn’t got the wherewithal to stand up to him. Whereas I am trying to provide the necessary discipline, keep an eye on school work all whilst working full time.
Living a very similar life with my three kids currently. Retarded would’ve been the nicest thing my 14 year old son could have called me in his episode last night. Two very important things…don’t take it personally and make a boundaries/rules and consequences list with the top 4-5 issues. If this happens then this will be the consequence. Remember, a consequence doesn’t necessarily have to be punitive.
As a 16 year old I’m trying to help other parents and provide maybe some helpful insight.
I believe your son wants attention, threats to kill himself is a form of manipulation and personally I believe you might get some sort of response by sitting him down and not letting him leave the table until his work is done. Say you will be taking ALL electronics until the work is completed every single day, and after you check it, give it back to make him understand that good behavior means phone time and privileges. If you genuinely feel scared that he would hurt himself, try some type of therapist since there might be outside influences contributing to this behavior. I have anger issues myself which can make it very hard to understand the effect I have on people, but going to therapy and understanding myself more has been helpful for my family and I.
Good luck and have a good day
Kellyk K says
This sounds like me, having a terrible time with my daughter. Absolutely awful!! Swearing, won’t do her school work, had to ring the school, and an intervention officer because she’s throwing things… took her phone and her tv for her to just empty the contents of her bedroom down the stairs 😳 this lockdown is taking its toll 100%, kids are suffering and the parents help !!!
Hi, I’m just found this website and I’m finding I’m not alone. My son is 18 a senior in High School. He is my 4th child. Since he was born he also has been difficult. I never spoiled him. Treated him the same way as the other three. Since his freshman year he began making very bad decisions. Grades started to decline, quitting sports, staying out late, etc. Naturally these are all signs something is going on. I searched his room – found marijuana. Then I was missing money and so was my daughter. But, one of the problems I have is my husband. He has never punished him, never asked him if he was doing drugs, or just what has he been up to. My husband just doesn’t want to deal with any of this so it’s all on me. As my sons high school years went on he got worse. I was always searching for drugs found lots of packaged pot, found Xanax. He became a dealer. Had so much money and continually lied to me, treated me like shit, swore at me. I actually had to call the cops on him. I locked myself in my bedroom and he was banging on the door trying to get in. After that I left the house for 2 weeks. It goes on and on
Me too.. my younger sister always treating to kill herself. Both my parents are old. As an elder sister, I am incharge to take care of her and my parents. It is sad the way she rudely behave to me. I pray she will get a life lesson and make her realize the meaning to have family.
Every single thing you said is my 15 almost 16 year old to a T! Wow! It’s nice reading these comments and knowing I’m not alone in this awful battle. I hope you all found ways to make it through this. And hopefully we will come out on the other side as well. Some days it really doesn’t seem like we will, and I live with the constant thought that he will move as far away as he can as soon as he can. Hopefully not.
I could have written this about my 14 year old !!!!
Samantha Bailey says
This is my 13 year old son also. I know his attitude is terrible at home but he assures me everything is great at school. I’ve just had a phone call from the head of the school explaining it is in fact the opposite. He is late to every class and shows up without the necessary items. Then has a dismissive attitude when it is addressed directly. He does the opposite of what is asked of him and in some cases just blatantly refuses. I honestly feel like I’ve tried everything but the phone call has left me feeling played and manipulated. Not sure how to help him.
Hi Harry, as a 16 year old I’ve been trying to respond to parental comments in need to hopefully give some insight into the teenagers mind!
The term “retarded” shouldn’t be tolerated, and at the same time everything has been upended for most children and both adults and kids are struggling. Calm conversation with your teenager will definitely help and phrases like “I feel like you’re angry with me, is that accurate? How can we resolve this and make each other happier” will help. I’m sorry you’re at your wit’s end, what I suggest is writing exactly what you’re thinking towards your son on a piece of paper, then burn it to help release the emotions!
Raina, thank you for your comments and providing your point of view as a young person. You have much wisdom. I wish more teens would be willing to speak up.
My 13 is so rude, thinks it’s not okay that we control her life, that she be able to do whatever where ever how ever with whoever and thinks we are to ruin her life. I get comments like you think by taking things away I’m going to do better or respect you the more we take away the more definite she is set out to be. She also has mastered when I have rules and consequences that she throws in my face I’ll just do it at my dad’s or he will say yes so whatever! When dad wants to be a friend not a parent with no rules how am I ever going to get this kid to respect our home her rules and chores. She little would not do what we told her to all day and told me no or literally just stared at me when I spoke and did nothing. To cry act like she’s going to hurt herself then her dad comes to pick her up and in a matter of seconds her tone changes, her tears were gone, and said ready dad like we didn’t just have a 6-hour melt down and not doing even her homework.
So lately okay if my grades are better and up I should get to do what ever I want when I want and if you think I’m doing that your crazy and blow us off.
The other day I heard her tell her dad when ask what are you doing today she replies nothing like always and she never gets to see her friends. When I just took her shopping spent way more than I wanted on her and bought her friend a 50 dollar bday gift and because she was three hours late coming home the day before thinks it’s okay to go to a friend’s and because I said no told her dad how she just sits in her room doing nothing and being with her friends makes her happy and she is not happy with being here and how mean I am. I couldn’t believe how ungrateful and rude she acted towards me and rubbing in my face how her dad and her get along just fine. I just can’t deal with the zero effort she puts into everything other than what she is interested in or cares about. HELP ME NOT LOSE MY COOL AND HURT HER WITH MY WORDS RIGHT BACK AT HER!
Well as a kid her age, I see where this is coming from but the way she handled it is very disrespectful. You have to talk to her, something tells me she’s either too reliant on her friends or there’s a toxic relationship at play. Try to notice her calls with her friends nonchalantly, is there any rudeness of just mean behavior from her friend or is she/he/they just manipulative, trust me I’ve dealt with these things. The last thing you want to do is overreact and lash out at her, try to give reasonable punishments like extra chores or other stuff like that.
have a good day
Sounds to me like her dad is doing parental alienation to you you ought to look that up because I’m going through that myself. Unfortunately with those kind of dads they tend to be narcissistic and make everything your fault when things go wrong. So when the child hears that or teenager hears that, they start disrespecting you too. There’s a YouTube channel about parent alienation and how to handle it. I think the guys name is Ryan Thomas oh, and he was a child of Parental alienation against his dad so he helps moms and dads deal with that kind of thing and he helps you know what to say what to do and then you get to hear stories about how their parents successfully were able to handle that. Anyways, I hope that helps!
We have been going through hell for 3 years now with our son. He is 18 in a few weeks and I can’t see anything changing, he will have to go.
It’s like living with a parasite, he eats everything in the house, lives like a pig, doesn’t respect rules or boundaries and won’t do anything to help.
He was kicked out of school at 15 and has refused to do anything since. I have asked everyone and anyone for support, CAMH s said he was happy doing what he was doing, school tried but they came to there limit with him, police tried but he wouldn’t engage, the same with targeted youth service.
I’m now lost and stuck in the middle between his dad, who hit his limit along time ago and my son who hates, doesn’t respect or care about either of us.
Laura Mullad says
Just stand up and leave. That’s what I did. Same situation, same story. Has been going on for 8 years and no end in sight.
I just walked away and think it’s the best thing I could do at this point. Good Luck.
My son is 16 and will be 17 in December..I am a single parent and my son does not respect me or follow rules. Of course I believe that I spoiled humans gave him everything to compensate for not having his dad around. He tells my mom that he hates me and doesnt want to be around me He does not shower, clean his room, or do homework. Hethreatems tojump off the balcony if he doesnt get his way and is extremely abusive towards me. I realize that this is my fault for spoiling him in his younger
Years. I cry alot and feel there is no solution.Hos father lives in another country and does not have a relationship with him or my older son who is turning 28 this November.
I’m so fed up . It’s 2.30am and have just had a stand off with my 17 year old who refuses to turn his PlayStation off and go to bed. We’re in lockdown so he thinks every day is like summer holidays and he can do as he pleases. I then get calls and emails from his school because he is not submitting work on line. I just saw red today because he just refused to do as I say. I feel so powerless. I sent him 10 WhatsApps telling him why I don’t like him. Total opposite of how to handle this situation! He’s my only son and I can honestly say Im at the end of my tether and can’t wait for him to leave home.
Tired Sis says
Jem I am with you I am so fed up with being in quarantine with mines. I have a 14 yr old and a 17 yr old and my 17 yr old son is very withdrawn but is lazy and when he does have something to say it is always something disrespectful, its never in a loud tone its just always with a deadness to it when he speaks as if he cares about nothing and no one and then he claims he is speaking his mind. All he wants to do is play his PS4, making him do his schoolwork is like having to pull teeth from a camel! I keep getting emails about work that he has not submitted online for school and im just to the point where i almost dont even care. Everyone thinks this is some extended stay vacation resort and it literally has me sick to my stomach. I have had to make a rule that the breaker goes off at night just so they are not on their phones and electronics all night so they can get up and be productive for online schooling. Its like he purposely does things to piss me off. I could sit him down and talk to him like a angel from God about expectations and encourage him and tell him dont do this dont do that and even praise him when he does do what he is suppose to and he’ll turn right around and do exactly what i instructed for him not to do and it makes me want lose my $h!t. I am really considering making him go and live out the remainder of his years with his dad cause i cant deal. I dont want to do that because his dad is a HUGE introvert and is not a good role model to him. He is the type of person that shows no emotions, love , support nothing. He lets his money speak for him by buying the kids whatever and will provide for them but interaction wise, he doesnt do. He is a foreigner so emotions are definitely not what he got as a kid and not giving to his kids. But i cant take it no more.
I completely understand all of you!!
I feel somewhat relieved knowing its not just me. Covid 19 and being home with my 13 year old daughter and her attitude is driving me crazy. She goes to bed whenever she wants, does not submit her work on time and is very rude and disrespectful! I get the emails from her teacher on missed assignments and I send them to her and she has no response. Her father (EX-spouse) is Disney dad and also believes stay at home orders means its a vacation so let’s travel to different cities every week and go boating on this lake or go biking at the beach and have fun etc.. Meanwhile I’m the wicked witch and only one that cares if her school work is done. If I don’t let her go on these trips then my week with her is horrible! Her exact words today “You just want me to be in trouble all the time and not experience fun things with my dad, you’re just old.” I seriously want to give up and not care if she submits work or not! If she fails 7th grade then maybe she will learn. I also have 4 and 3 year old daughters that are learning from her actions and bursts of anger. Sometimes I want to say just go live with your father but then that would be failing her. Patience, Patience, Patience. How much more can I have.
yes. they are very direspecful. they need to work but we give everything. when they have kids they will understand.
Same boat here. It is most disheartening to be lied to about homework. And children 15 and 17 that refuse to assist ion the home with any chores. The disrespect puts me at my wits end.
I don’t think I’ll ever make it againbrenda says
I think we have the same disrespectful teen ! I through the French toast out…wasnt going to let him enjoy it to reac him a lesson. I don’t think I’ll ever make it again.
I cry too. My 16 yr old daughter has been so defiant. And now my 13 year old son is getting lippy. I feel like i won’t make it through these years
Same here. It sucks when we as parents try to raise our kids better than we were. Then you start thinking, maybe a little strife builds the right kind of character. My son says he’s okay being the villain. He’s wrapped up in ignorant rap music, has no future ambition to succeed. I have to actively drug test him for drugs and the potency levels, or he tries to pull some crap like add water to his pee , to dilute it and give me ice cold pee. When I call him on it, HE ARGUES WITH ME for 30 min about it being straight from his body. We are all avoiding him right now, cause he’s so combative and rude, just plain exhausting. We are currently looking into boarding schools for him. He’s 16 and has no ambition to do anything, except make us
Kelli orton says
I have this too. He is so rude and disrespectful. Almost like he hates me. What have I done.
Kelli Orton says
I literally go to bed crying. I try everything and sometimes I get so mad I just want to smack him.
Y’all! I am in the same boat. Devestated and depressed. I have failed my 18 yr old in some way, despite trying to do my best. I don’t see A way out. Feel like he just wants to be rid of his family. Ugh. Not sure how to punish him , boundaries at this point. Goodness.
This is how I feel about my stepson. His parents never had boundaries and he is now 18 and snaps and mouths off all the time.. his dad and I are in therapy to figure out how to handle it but nothing is helping…
sharon bates says
i wish we had given my horrible 15 year daughter some bloody good smacks as she has been growing up she is spoilt and horrible. its too late to smack now. totally our fault
Mine is now 19 and also regret not giving her a smack when she turned 14 and became a different child. Spent another sleepless night worrying about her bad behaviour and poor decisions.
You shouldn’t hit your child. It’s been proven many times before that hitting a child will cause only one of the following responses.
neither of these are good cause you are gonna be teaching your child to be afraid of you or to think of you as an enemy. Or they just might accept it, think they deserve it and develop mental problems and have scued morals later on in their life.
HITTING IS NEVER THE RIGHT CHOICE.
Can’t you see? You’ve done the same thing but verbally. That’s why your kids hate you and do everything you don’t want them to.
And they probably behave poorly because they wanna see what they can do. They’re going to be adults soon and they want the taste of it. They wanna be independent. Which also results in poor decisions.
or of course, you’ve been a mentally abusive parent but chose not to accept cause it’s easier to say “I DiDn’T PhYsICaLLy AbuSe YoU As A yOuNg ChiLD aND tHAt’s WhY….etc.”
Cause, in the end, you make it sound like they should be thankful they weren’t also physically abused, way to go.
Get a hold of yourselves. Stop blaming anybody or anything that you didn’t do. Talk to your child and let them tell you what’s the issue, don’t be emotionally manipulative and actually get to the bottom of this if you care for them. Let them speak, take them seriously and treat them like an adult at that moment. NO mocking, NO yelling, NO making them feel bad.
Be an adult and grow up. Stop acting all high and mighty and focus on how to solve your issues not who’s fault is it cause sure as hell that doesn’t solve your problems.
I hear you there. My 15-year-old daughter is totally disrespectful, spoiled, and horrid to be around most of the time. Once in a while, we have a really good day, but they’re few and far between.
I agree with you! I feel like I completely ruined the relationship with my almost 17 year old daughter because as a lil girl I overly protect her from everything and never wanted to spank her or punish her but I also never had to she was just perfect in my eyes. As she starting growing up we were like sisters, we would argue like sisters talk to eachother like sisters ect. And now she is always rude, disrespectful and is so frustrating to get her to do anything! I feel like is too late to get her to respect me.
Monica Rodriguez says
I am going thru the same with my son I dont even have to say a word he just pops off at the mouth for no reason I just come out of my room he sees me and pops off I cry in my room thinking where did I go wrong I have one older son who has given me so much trouble with the law and this one and I have two more kids my 16 year old son is respectful and my daughter too but is about to be a teen I hope she dont start just feel like he hates me 😢
I feel the same way. I go head over heals for him and doesn’t appreciate anything. At times he hardly speaks to me. I’m very sad and ask myself what have I done wrong, except fulfill all his needs.
Agree, we are dealing with the same thing. So heartbreaking.
Yes i feel you. I have also a complete defiant child. Easy to get angry and throw outbursts. When he argues, he calls me names. He loves to stay in front of computer and in order for me to make him move around to do household chores, i have to pay him every day that he is working for it.
I call this behavior a cancer on my family
Same here! I’m sorry you went through this ! Has it gotten any better? My family and I are Hoping for relief soo n 🙏🏽
As a teen myself… just listen to them
I feel the same way.
I don’t know how to help anymore. We have a loving home, provide for our kids, our time and devotion is to them, and the family, all of it , a big one, a happy one. I don’t understand thee rebellion and constant caos, and terrorizing and swearing. unnecessary anger over everything, unapproachable. She is a sweet child, It’s so painful to a mother. She rejects me and all I say, My husband, her father feels sorry for her and rewards her behind my back when he shouldn’t, is like nothing I have ever seen in my life, I can’t decipher it..It has no logic. According to professionals there is nothing clinically wrong with her. They say she is highly manipulative and extremely intelligent, but she wont apply to school, and fibs severely. This manipulation is turned against the parents, and yes most relationships don’t survive it. My girl is 14 and now is the worse she’s behaved, I literally can’t step out in public with her, but she’s been acting up since about 5. So I say I’m letting go and let God, but I’m so distraught by all this and worn out, yet I still can’t let go and let her behave so disruptively affecting us all and her little sister is always upset over it. There’s got to be another way than letting them get over their tee years. By that time they will be used to this behaviors., I was a teen and never behaved that way . It’s unacceptable. Kid’s now days don’t care. Please pray for us and I will pray for all of you. Thank you for listening it was not a good morning here today. Peace to all and many blessings
Sounds like home 🙁
Ugh my parents do everything this says not to do. They do this to my 13 year old sister. My mom or dad will always say that she can’t go out with friends, but then she ends up going out with friends. They always give in and let her get her way. I try to tell them that just makes it worse and teaches her to get her way, but then they get mad at me for “telling them how to parent”. Obviously I’m no parenting expert but I’m always the one on the outside looking in, so I’m the only one who sees what really goes on. It’s so frustrating. I want to help my parents but I can’t.
Aspen, that is alot of responsibility to be taking on at your age and it shouldn’t be up to you to do the parenting. This obviously effects you on a grand scale and I feel you’re not being heard. You should not be in the middle of a war between your Sister and parents and I have a feeling you might end up being resented by your parents if you continue to speak up about their relationship with your Sister and unfairly too. Your parents probably know you are right but may feel as desperate as you do. You must remember that as parents, we don’t always get things right; we’re learning too and when we have a million other things to content with, its easy to get rid of the ‘problem’ just for some peace and quiet! You sound so mature, Aspen but this frustration is not healthy for you and playing referee is not in your ‘job’ title. Your parents are clearly doing something right because you sound incredible. Just do you Aspen, concentrate on your own goals and your own path in life and drop that added weight.
Take care of yourself
Mrs. GUPTA says
My daughter is growing age she is 17 yrs.
I m single mother as well as working .
I unable to handle my daughter attitude. She is happy if I fulfill their demand.otherwise she annoyed with me.
What I will do.
Hi daniel, I hope u can help me . My 42 yr old daughter had a heart attack last week due to stress her 2 teen girls . she’s home now but needs to stay calm but younger 14 yr old doesn’t seem to care always on phone won’t do anything when ask eg get up in time for school n breky to catch the bus an little chores like tidy her clothes up on bathroom floor and when she does speak to her mum she tells her sometimes to f–k up or off an when her mum cries there no emotion from the girl at all . It appears or seems over the last 6 months or so this behaviour has caused no end of drama in the home and the stress has most likely contributed to my girls heart attack an she and I are at our wits end to figure out what to do bc nothing she an her husband have tried numerous ways to deal with it . If there’s anything u can suggest or try please help . Cheers mag
Hi I’m going through this problem with my 11 year old son he lives with his dad refused to share custody .and my son refused me to pick him up do anything with him! Always wants his dad with there with us .we’ve been separated for 3 years it’s been a hard wall between us I m so seeking help because I really don’t know what to do anymore it’s all negative attitude from both my son and his dad no one’s wants to allow anyone to be an intervention in there lives to help us .
You have to take your ex to court to get custody Arrangements with a mediator that the father cannot deviate from
I am going through a difficult situation with my elder son. He is 15, he plays games on computer day snd night, he is in 10th grade. In India 10th grade is important. We are not pressurising him, our worry is that he never gives respect. I don’t know what to do.
Greg W says
Thank you for writing this…I’m a Psychiatric NP and have open and productive discussions with my daughter all the time…I need some advice on how to randomly have my wife run across this article and read it. If it came from me, I would likely be accused of searching out an article that supports the ideas “I have…”. I put that in quotes because if I never received the training and degree I worked so hard for, I would probably need to read something like this and work hard to conceptualize it and follow its recommendations right now…
I have laughed my head off about the remote hasn’t even arrived yet, that’s exactly how they work, I learned a few of this in the process and some.changes happened, but with your inputs about how their mind works, I salute you. Thank you Mr Wong.
I agree with the statement, “Focus on the behavior; not the person” as a 14-year-old girl. I think it is an excellent way to parent your children and I am all for it. But some of the parents on this website are terrible. I’ve been scrolling through comments for about half an hour and they disgust me. I read some comments saying things like “I hate them”, “I’m ready for them to leave”, “I’m done trying”, and “I should have smacked them a long time ago”. How could a parent, who raised their child and gave their child life say things like that about them? Y’all are cowards. You need to love your child UNCONDITIONALLY, even when they make you mad. Because that is what parenting is about. Its not about feeling sorry for yourself, or hating your child. Its about unconditional love and care for them. You are supposed to be there for them when everyone else leaves them, when they are at their lowest. Their actions are a cry for help, because they are in pain, and its YOUR job to help them through that pain. But most of the time you are the cause of their pain.
I recently got into an argument with my mother because she decided randomly to not let me have my phone in my room. I’m already not allowed to have any social media, and she installed an app on my phone which can see everything that I do, including all of my text messages. She didn’t give me any reason for not allowing me to have my phone in my room except for “Because I said so”. I spent that night crying myself to sleep not because she took my phone, but because she broke my trust in every way possible. My parents are divorced, and a few weeks earlier I confided in her about the way I felt at my dad’s house. I told her I hated it there, because all they ever do is judge me, and restrict me, and make me feel terrible about myself. I told her about how I cant even have my phone in my room or at night, and she AGREED with me on how stupid that was. She said “what do they expect you to do?”, and “I’m sorry you have to deal with that”. I told her how at my dad’s house they say things to me like “you look like a b****”, and how they made me feel unimportant and disrespected by saying “Im the parent and you’re the child”, “I’m right and you’re wrong”, my mother told me i dont have to go there, and i could stay at her house and not have to go there. I CRIED to her about how i felt there, and she comforted me. She sat there, listened to me, and made me believe that she felt for me, and she made me believe that she wanted it to get better for me. But one day, she just flipped. She gave me punishments and new rules without giving a reason why, and when i asked why she said, “because I’m the parent and you’re the child”. Thats when she made the rule that i cant have my phone in my room or at night. for no reason at all. I asked her over and over and over why shes doing this and all she said was “because i said so”, and “I’m the parent and your the child”. What hurts the most is that i explained my pain to her, and she took it, and used it against me. She used my words against me. I told her how the statement “Im the parent and your the child” made me feel. I TOLD her how that stupid rule made me feel trapped. She broke my trust, and betrayed me more than anyone ever could have. She is my MOTHER, and she has singlehandedly made me cry more than anyone else ever has. Last night, when i cried myself to sleep i made a vow to NEVER trust her EVER again. She broke my trust is so many ways, and i will never forgive her for what she did. Our relationship will never be the same after yesterday, and I will always remember how she made me feel. When she wonders why I’m so distant or “where her little girl went”, that little girl is dead, and my mother is the reason why. She killed her little, sweet, kind girl. And that little girl is dead, gone forever. Let this be a lesson to all you parents, dont do what my mom did.
Parents are human, not perfect. Just because you can’t have your phone you’re now determined to ruin your relationship FOREVER. She sat and listened to you, she gave you time and understanding and encouragement. She gave you options. She is your parent and you are the child. She knows more than you and understands more than you. You are not able yet to understand her reasons, but why not just talk it through rather than stuffing it all in a bag of bitterness, carrying it around and plotting revenge. Seems like that would be very draining.
I find this article is very practical. While it is interesting to take note of the disrespectful to us. ” focus on the behaviour rather than the person factors, it should be noted that understanding the teenagers brain is a large role. Think about the emotional needs underlying the behaviour is the topic i liked the most. There is Where one parent is lax and the other is strict, teenagers learn to exploit the inconsistency and play one parent against the other- this is clearly of fundamental importance..
Daniel Wong says
Great points, Ushaarvind. Thanks for sharing.
Aris Chang says
Dear Ushaarvind and Daniel,
I absolutely agree with you in the matter of ‘There is Where one parent is lax and the other is strict, teenagers learn to exploit the inconsistency and play one parent against the other- this is clearly of fundamental importance..’
My strictness become worthless when my wife get in between .
Is there anyway I can explain to my wife how do we cooperate to have better son?
I don’t think it’s always wrong when one parent is lax and the other is more strict with a teen.
Even as adults we go to those people who give us what we want or need and avoid the ones who do not. It can actually be a helpful life skill to develop. especially at a job. Maybe on the really big things parents need to be united but on many of the day to day things in a teen’s life if they go to one or the other parent to get what they need/want I don’t think its a bad thing .
Aris I think your relationship with your wife is key. Make sure that you are not seeing her as the enemy! Blame and tension are easily picked up by the kids who then reflect that in their behaviour. Whether you are strict or lax is not as important as havng a peaceful and loving home. Let go of some issues if necessary – compromise is a good thing to model too!
Need advice. My teen is disrespectful, late for school, not keeping up on work at school, she is not responsible at home. No respect for her mom on time picking her up. She does not respect her parent. She played one parent on the other. Should she have job? Kid also says she is going to run away. Not sure what happened to my sweet teen. Please some advice. Thanks
Oh really I have the same problem with my 13 teen year old son, I love him to death but he is driving me crazy. He talks back to me and be rude, from been and example for best in everything in school now I have teachers calling and saying he is not behaving well. He is my world and my everything but I am struggling to make things work. I don’t say that I may have not done mistakes on parenting here and there but I have dedicating my life to make things possible for him and to make his life as easy and good as possible, is that a mistake? Everything I have prayed for him is to be respectful person in this world and all I see is opposite of that going on. He doesn’t seam to care what I say because his response is just aha aha aha, he looks like doesn’t want to see me at all, does he really hate me? There are so many questions in my head which I can’t find answers for. He is my first child and of course I am learning to leave with this stress of not knowing what to say and how to behave with my teenage son, but is breaking my heart to see him so distanced from me when he used to be my best friend ever, he still is for me but I don’t think he feels the same. We used to talk about everything, now almost nothing 😭😭. I don’t know what to do I just want my son to change but reading the previous comments above it looks like is going to be long process 😔😔.
I love him no matter what it is just to hard for a mother to see things going wrong in her kids.
I’ve definitely had challenges with my kids, but something that has worked well for me is to take the time when they make a mistake and use it as a learning opportunity.
I went to a site called http://www.preparemykid.com and they have a video that talks about how to teach kids life skills…
In essence, I find out what mistake they’ve made; I often share a story about how I struggled with it; I relate why it’s important to something my kids find important; and then I let my kids talk about how they would do something different and we have a discussion.
I’ve learned more about my two boys in the last 8 months than I thought possible!
Daniel Wong says
Thanks for sharing, Estelle.
That’s heartening but please know that even when parents are consistent and raise 2 children the same they can both react quite differently. Never underestimate gene combinations. It’s not all nurture. I have polar opposite – defiant/compliant kind/cruel kids. Raised the same. Same parents. Consistent parenting. It’s devaststing but we feel like we have only one child at this point. Glad this website/article helped you though.
Thank you for putting this idea forward because I’ve seen first hand how children in the same family and with the same upbringing can turn out completely different. If you look at one of my kids, you’d come to the conclusion that I’m an awful parent. If you look at me other kid, you’d think I was an amazing parent. They’re very different and have been from the outset. Nurture has an important role but it doesn’t account for everything.
Could not agree more, those whom thi k it has to do with the parents need to rethink. My children are chalk and cheese. One 18yo whom is respectful and always has been, one 17yo girl whom is far from it. One parent, you would think one had been raised by someone else.
I can relate completely! It hurts so much as me and my 18 year old son used to be close, now there is a constant atmosphere 😢
Estelle, I followed your lead and really liked that site too just now. I took the quiz and watched video #1.
Maria L Moore says
This article is what I needed to read today .It helped me out a lot. Sometimes you forget what its like to be a teenager !
Dena Gill says
I so needed to read this today. I almost threw my disrespectful 19 year old out today, and was gonna take his key. I’ve taken some of the disrespectful things he has said very personal and this gave me a different outlook on things. I’m definitely about to let things fall where they may and show him some tough love. It’s tough being disrespected by someone who needs you, but has too much pride to admit it.
Dena, I feel your pain and frustration. I am going thru the same thing with my 19 year old son. I couldn’t take the disrespect as a single mom and I had to put him out. The decision I made was a tough one, but I believe that there are boundaries that should not be crossed with showing respect for your parent.
roger zaba says
I’ve had to show my 16 year old son the door last night in some very cold weather as his actions towards everyone and everything are so disrespectful.even though we live in a relatively small city in Ontario,Canada not only does he admit to being in a gang he is very proud of it and i can’t put my new family in harms way even though this absolutely heart wrenching and breaking . but i’m at whits end and not sure what else to do with him
Just because your teenager is cruel,selfish,mentally ill…doesn’t mean you should abandon them!This is not the advice you want but it’s the advice you need. You can’t ever go back from something like that. Leaving your child like that is like throwing them in a dumpster along with all the truly wonderful memories you’ve created together!it may not feel like theirs any hope now but your child probably feels alone,unwanted and lost in the world. Having their parent throw them away like a piece of trash is the worst thing in the world to them. The people they thought they could trust ,shut them out .They can only go down a fast spiralling slope now!Go to a family therapist. Send them into care, where you can still visit them.Just talk.Whatever…You may just be saying this as your stressed out , or you may be serious but it is a VERY serious thing to even suggest. I know how you feel.my sister was mentally ill and still is but she was a dreadful teen.she would break things,hang out with the wrong crowd,shout abuse towards my whole family.however , she’s better now she knows when she’s wrong.this is because she had a united front from the whole family.You need to be strong .You need to be in it until the endgame!I hope your in contact with them still but if not think about it .The way you’ve phrased that you can’t let son hurt your new family is astonishing!no wonder why he felt angry.he didn’t have a united support.when my sister was upset my dad or my brother would take me out and distract me whilst my mum tried to help my sister.i knew what was going on and she knew why we were going but we came back and she was never alone.my mum never threatened to throw her out.she ran away once but we spent the whole evening looking for her.we let her calm down at my aunt’s house for a week and then let in with open unjudging arms.This is what you need to do!
You can not speak on what they should or should not do. Clearly from the posts the parents were desperate. You shaming them is not helpful.
Rose Greene says
Agreed as well. There are times when a line has to be drawn. There is not enough information here to say this parent is wrong. It is not true that a parent should NEVER kick a child out. Especially when those “kids” are adults.
Once you kick a child out, you are burning that bridge.
I agree. It’s hurt you cannot come back from😥
I agree with a lot of what you said to the mother in Canada that threw her 16 year old out in the cold. I pray she didn’t just toss him out & abandon him! the way she worded her statement, makes it sound like, he doesn’t feel he’s part of that family. like she’s in this new relationship & he got set aside 🥺 & then she wonders why he is so proud of his gang family!? because he’s looking for guidance & exceptence & he’s not getting it in that house so he went out & found it. unfortunately in the wrong place. I understand if the saver gang activity has been going on for some time,& she makes him leave due to the protection & safety of any other children in the home. but only if that was the case& even then she should have found somewhere safe to send him& at least try to get him help. but unfortunately unless her statement was written out of pure frustrating & venting ( which still isn’t very respectful, but we all make mistakes & sometimes say things we regret) it’s probably been a family problem for a while & she ment those words, because she’s lost control & instead of finding a way to deal wit it, she turned away 🥺 our children fallow our lead. we all make mistakes, but if we can change, they can to& soon fallow the improved example.
Thank you so much. As a 16 year old those words were exactly what I wish everyone could hear. We are so fragile and if we feel like you’re picking “a new family” over us we will be angry and retaliate.
I understand this and I feel the same way about my 16 year old daughter. I don’t think she can handle college but I’m going to encourage her to enroll somewhere far away so she can’t come home on the weekends! Hope she graduates high school, it’s touch and go right now and doesn’t look promising. If she doesn’t then I guess she’s OUT at 18, if we make it that long!
I know this was last year. But today I feel so low and down due to my son being so disrespectful. Reading this has ease me abit
I went through hell with my adopted daughter. Drugs, disrespect. We stood by her paid off her dealers. Put up with death threats. Supported her. She didnt care. Destroyed our home, kept going missing. Built up debts on our address. I made the heartbreaking decision she had to go. I had to get the Police to move her from our doorstep. She was gone 8 weeks, pleaded to come home promised she realised how much she needed us. She had changed. I relented and let her back. 6 weeks down the line we are back to square one. Destruction, treating my home like a doss house, no job, has no respect. Missing for days arguing. We tried but cant win. Her days are numbered. I feel for all of you out there, who has to make that decision.
I just had to make the same decision, my daughter was ruining everything in my life tearing up crap to breaking things n stealing and manipulating everything n trying to do reverse psychology on me, but she picked that up from going to her dad’s house so it’s hard but I can’t do it no more. I’m losing everything I’ve worked hard for! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. I can’t do the disrespectful comments n insulting comments as well as threats, ungratefulness and the unappreciated feeling when she says things…..like kids in this day in age needs discipline, even when they get older… I was so mad I would have smacked her jaws talking to me the way she did. If you only knew how many thousands I’ve lost and it’s way up there, almost half a million… I’M DONE! SHE IS 19. So let her learn, maybe she needs to hit rock bottom or turn 35-40 before she has any respect! I have thought this over n I gotta think about me for once in my life because I’m 41 and I’ve been focused on 3 kids by myself, no help at all. So I can’t deal with the drama no more… I’m gonna have a stroke!
Joyce Pratibha says
Hi Daniel I find this article very useful but I have many issues about my son and the situation that me and my son are facing. I have two boys and the most I’m worried about is my second son. I’m a single parent .
Chan Mincy says
I can relate Joyce I’m I the similar situation. It’s so hard not to take harsh consequences when they don’t respond to reasonable reactions to their disrespect. However i can say ice been guilty of being inconsistent.
I’m a single mum, and my 14 year old, has mental health issues ( so much so, she thought suicide was a great way to get away from School bullies).
Sometimes, it’s very hard to read her, whether she’s being disrespectful because she’s a teen or being disrespectful, due to having a bad day mentally.
It’s an absolute struggle and I’m hoping that one day, there’ll be light at the end of this very dark tunnel.
Thank you, for this article, I really needed to see it
I feel your pain here. My 15 yo daughter has been bullied since 5 years old. We get the fallout from this at home. Very very difficult to be treated with disrespect when we are the only ones she actually trusts and relies on. At wits end. No matter how we try to reason with her.
Of course now there is a boyfriend on the scene, we are not important anymore…
Alison Massyn says
Hi there, I have read your articular.
I have a 14 year old daughter and I’m beyond my witts with her, she has failed her grade last year so she is repeating her grade 8 again this year, last year every Friday she was sitting detention after school as she will be slipping classes or school, she will be caught smoking, she has even took on some teachers at her school.
She has bad friends that I don’t approve off but she stills hangs out with them- last night I told her she will break off her friendship with some boy that is use all kind of substances and she then put a status on her whats app that says she will rather loose her family then to end her friendship with him.
she does what she likes- i had her at a psychologist as she has been cutting herself on her both legs and her arms if she doesn’t get her way. I’m on breaking point with that child as I have no idea what to do anymore.
Hope you got some answers for me as I really need what to do- as her little sister of 8 years is seeing what she is doing.
I was reading this post for obvious reasons dealing with 3 daughters myself… But I’m always struck by someones story that surprises me (but likely shouldnt) about a girl my own daughter’s age. I feel for you with the situation involving hurtful stubborn attitudes from your kid. …and thats what they are: kids. No matter what they say about “I should get to decide/ its MY RIGHT! / its 2019!…” and on and on, they will run amok if not reigned in. …i think about when i was a 15 yr old… I was pretty sheltered but it didnt take long to go completely off the deep end and get involved in really risky situations. I left home with an older boyfriend hitchhiked out of town and also did drugs, living wherever i found someone to laugh with. As a result ive had 3 daughters at an early age with that “great guy” who turned into an abusive womanizing alchoholic and almost killed me. I love my kids and dont regret our life togeather but i try to learn how i can be honest with my daughters and still teach them appropriate boundaries and respect.
To get to the point i think its really important to remain involved with a young persons interests and activities in a fun way. Dont get me wrong -bc my kids dont have a condoning, lenient-of-modern-day-ridiculous-youth-behavior at all, and whims and opinions arent given priority over respect or responsibility. But i think that if i had been able to go see people i wanted to see WITH my parents around things wouldve been different. I wish i couldve seen my parents having more friends that were a natural part of our life who werent exclusive to only the adults and who i could see my parents laugh and cry with and go to environments where i could meet people who were actually into doing something interresting that i liked …. As a young teenager, i wanted to be outside bc i had energy that was not accomodated for in school, but i was burnt out from doing work, so i gravitated toward others who were laid back and not stressed about fulfilling too many high expectations. So i ditched class to play volleyball on the beach with a friend…. Who later handed me my first go at smoking…
Im trying to re-do our own situation now, and even tho i took them out of the classrooms in these filthy public schools here to homeschool them using an online academy with the same curriculum, I STILL feel like they’re losing interest in learning good things and being influenced by wierd friends from school and the whole world around us! … Im looking for support bc my friends and family mostly dont have understanding about any of this and I want to try “unschooling”. Maybe its something that would help u and your daughter. Its a lot of time and energy to parent and its not always possible for everyone to be there 24/7 but i think someone has to be. I want my own kids to be able to stop worrying about everything people say you should and actually be able to focus enough to decide ” What do I actually want to do? Who do I want to be?” And help them do it!! If they want to lay around eating lollipops and playing video games, well i guess we live in a day and age where you can actually write a business plan and make money doing that so they should…. But then there will be another dream that comes up from their hearts… And if I was in your shoes u know what i would do? I would take your daughter down to the most cracked out spot in town and pretend to hang out for an hour or two and talk to those people the way u would anyone else. I guarantee whoever does bad drugs may still think they feel good, but seeing what you’d look like in 20-50 more years of that consumption with make you want to stop more than your parents telling you they’re bad. Even if you try to say oh whatever theyre not like me, that impression will stick when u see someones teeth rotting out and they look like a skeleton who cant hold a conversation…. And then help her find a friend that YOU like and tell them to go with you to go compare the best ice cream shops or fries in town or something. Or go make funny faces at eachother trying on sunglasses at hot topic( thats what i used to do as a kid). Either way, i dont give my15 yr old daughter cell phones, dont let her go anywhere alone or allow any of them to indescriminately use the internet. I tell them if they have a plan for interresting and productive projects to make use of their time everyday, that i will facilitate that idea. Remember how you have to constantly occupy a 3 yr old? I guess older kids are only different bc theyre more selective with what they’ll do, so i figure maybe it works better to give at least some options to them; but knowing you will choose something appropriate if they dont. I also am honest in telling them “Hey if I cant trust you my job as a parent doesnt change and Im not a quitter! If I can’t work, then we might have to move into a crappy little apartment where you wont have any space of your own! Family is intended as a team. So we’re in it together.” And you dont have to think the people on your team are necessarily better” than others but you’ll lose at the game of life if you help the team fail! Right?…
As for self harm i would take her on a tour of the psych ward too and tell her, no matter what “classifications” we can be seen as, our life choices are ultimately up to us and we all should consider why we were created. Our life is not our own. Did we make it? No! We were created uniquely as an expression to others, of the love that should light this dark world!
I dont mean to go on and on but I figured it would be better than describing my own frustation over my daughter’s disdainful attitude to respond to someone else in a real way 🙂 Take away your daughter’s ability to keep you in the dark about her activities and conversations. Tell her she cant be a gracious rep of the fam, she can’t go out. If she needs someone to talk to tell her she can be part of choosing someone you both trust to spend time with. Tell her to spend time outside and stretch or take a walk after getting up and in the afternoon. Go together. Its proven that depression and anxiety is mitigated by merely observing more nature. I myself still feel trapped everyday and tormented daily by navigating all the idiots and rules of a city. I still have hope for my family and want to get out there and learn and explore together. Life can be so cramped until we start looking outside ourselves to the amazing things there are to do and see. Like stargazing with a telescope!( granted half of it is trying to figure out how to set it up but thats ok!) I know theres hope for you and your daughter. Tell her shes beautiful and ask her what she’d actually like to do each day tell her to be part of what you like and be together. Ill say a prayer for your family Alison❤ If you will, please pray for me that i can have confidence to take our lives and my daughters’ education to the next levelGod bless you. – Laurel
I am a available to listen anytime. My daughter is 14 and we are going through the cutting and trips to the E.R. to keep her safe. I don’t know when this will get better.??!! I’m so sad that i don’t ha.ve my sweet girl any longer. email me at K a l ean ge l2000 at Yahoo
Cali Blue says
I am just like you Laurel and the programming is so strong to make our families splintered so we are all left alone claiming sovereignty of our separate lives. I grew up in the 70s with parents who were very preoccupied with self and their main purpose was to “socialize” me and make me independent then punish me for acting like the society I spent 90% of my time in alone. Schools entraining children to follow orders and march in line all day leaves zero patience to perform the same at night and we all reach our breaking points as humans with rights stripped away. The sheer competitive force of every single event in a child’s life from grades to sports to video games against the context of battling legal and political “adults” to the sucky tune of negative news reigning as the most important thing shaping our world is not a world I want my child or self to participate in. Quantum physics is the reality and that means we are all individually contributing to the whole by falling in line. Kids see the incongruity and impossibleness but unfortunately the parents have already been forced into the game hook line and sinker so rebellion ensues and the only outlet a powerless teen has is to seek understanding from someone equally persecuted and confused. So yes just to experience nature, be kind to each other without competition as the driving force. To develop true compassion and the adult rebellion necessary to support their need to live as freely as possible while developing true character with spiritual values also not defined and imprisoned by religious dogma. It’s a tall order but the most important mission a 21st century parent can embark on. We can’t transform their resistance until we embrace our own 💜
Please help my son is a cutter and puts our life in hell everyday. We have tried to understand why but. It continues to get worse. The blame The poor me. The you do not want me.. Im so lost
Daniel Wong says
I’m sorry to hear that, Kimberly. I hope he’s open to receiving help — if he is, please reach out to me here (https://www.daniel-wong.com/contact/)
Z Brown says
Yes I can relate. I have a teen with mental health disorder. She is moody. she acts like I dont do anything nice or enjoyable for her. Constantly challenges my authority.
I’m really struggling with my daughter right now. She is disrespectful to me and worse towards to my husband. Basically dismissive. I’ve taken things away as punishment, but it only widens the divide and creates hostility. I want us to grow closer, but I don’t know how.
What do you do first if you have a broken relationship with your 13 year old daughter? There is no talking to her. It always ends badly, yelling, disrespectful, Says there is nothing to look forward to, not a good set of friends, constantly going against me, never says positive things. It seems like gloom and doom daily. Although I am glad I am not alone it’s sad that so many of us have teens like this. I am at fault too. I don’t model the calm parent because it’s gotten way beyond this. I need to know of an intervention plan. I’m in the thick of a storm which has grown out of control. What do I do?
I have a 6 .5 year old seeing all this. I know it’s detrimental to our family to continue on like this. Dad is in and out of the picture so that’s not going to help me. I need to know in steps what to do? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Daniel Wong says
Hi Eronica, thank you for sharing. I’m sorry to hear about the challenging situation. It’s a complicated state of affairs, but I’m confident that if you try out the tips in this guide (https://www.daniel-wong.com/resolving-conflicts-guide/) the situation will improve. Hope this helps.
Good Article and good insight though writing on papers about mitigation is easy though to implement suggestions is a real challenge for parents
Thank you for sharing all this tips with us. It is very hard I miss my sweet girl before she became a teenager. She is very disrespectful and rebellious. Our relationship is totally broken it is even hard to talk to her because she doesn’t even let us get close to her. Do you have recomendation on how to improve relationship with our daughter?
Daniel Wong says
Hi Diana, thank you for sharing. I’m very sorry to hear about the difficult situation. I’m confident that if you try out the tips in this guide that I’ve created (https://www.daniel-wong.com/resolving-conflicts-guide/) the situation will improve. Hope this helps, and my best wishes to you and your family.
I have every intention of dropping my teen off at the nearest shelter on her 18th birthday when I am no longer legally responsible for her. At that time I also intend to move , change my phone number and leave no forwarding address. I have a right to a life free of verbal and physical abuse for how ever many years I have left on this planet
Lol, l can relate but we are not at the point of me divorcing her yet. She herself says she wants a break.
My gf has a 15 year old daughter, who is a complete asshole. She was raised by over entitling grandparents, as both my gf and the kids sperm donor were addicts and in and out of prison. My gf has reformed, sober close to 3 years now and has had custody of this brat for 18 months now and it’s tearing our relationship apart. This kid is a liar, a manipulator, lazy, combative, sneaky, defiant, demanding and has no responsibility or accountability. Her room is disgusting, clean and dirty clothes piled on the floor so high you cannot see the carpeting. She demands her food made a specific way (that’s right, she refuses to make her own sandwich or get her own water) if it’s not made properly, she will refuse to eat it until you do it right…. (ie; cut the crust off and divide the sandwich into 4 equal quarters.) She comes in from school, where she is defiant and refuses to do her work, skips classes and is suspended for her attitude constantly, throws her shit on the floor, goes to her room and demands to be served her food in bed, then will not throw her trash away or take her plate etc to the kitchen, says it’s my job because I’m hers and her mothers slave. And if I tell the kid no, or refuse to make her food, the gf says I’m immature and need to grow up and pick my battles. This kid literally sleeps in trash and crumbs because she’s too lazy to throw her wrappers away or eat at the table. If she’s in the living room, she eats candy or whatever and throws the wrappers on the sofa or floor and refuses to throw it away. She will not eat anything and starves herself until she gets McDonald’s or Taco Bell or KFC. She’s indignant, a complete slob and my gf will not do anything about it. There are no rules, no consequences and if she does take her phone or Xbox, she caves when the kid cries or does something cute. I’m at my wits end and I’m about to leave the relationship because of a teenager. How do I deal with it? I love this woman but I literally want to shake some sense into both of them and my frustration is off the charts.
You need to run away and start taking care of yourself instead. Life is too short to live a miserable life.
I Have 18year old boy who does not respect me. What ever I say to him does not show any signs of respect or change in his behaviour
Instead he do the opposite..
M Jaya says
Hi. It gives me a lot of pain when I read about conflicts between teenagers and parents leading to relationship issues in the family. I too have a daughter aged 17 and a son aged 11. Many a times I feel that its easy to get along with my son because he is not yet a teenager. My daughter has changed a lot in the past three years, showing disrespect for all the elders who care for her in the family. She sometimes behaves very badly with the little one also. I am not very strict and so is my husband. We agree to most of her wishes but then how to make her understand that as in school, we too have some rules to be followed at home. I have my parents who have stayed with us from the birth of their grand children and took very good care of them and what are they getting back now. Nothing in return they expect, but at least this girl should show some respect and value what they say. As of now, only her friends are important. She is also threatening us that she will go away from home very soon.
I have just read all these parents’ reflections, I did not know that there are so many parents suffering and feeling just like I feel. I have a 15 y.o. only son who has been increasingly difficult since he was 11, rude, pure poison, manipulative. He knows when he crosses the boundaries and he becomes very sweet and nice so he is forgiven by my husband who serves him like an old servant.
The most painful thing is that the boy refuses to study. He does minimum homework, forgets to submit his assessments, teachers send me emails. When I ask him to do his homewrk he abuses me verbally, “get lost” etc. We pay for a private school and most of our money goes there. Just to give him a chance. We went to psychiatrists, psychologists, we were advised he is on a border line, not exactly on the spectrum. Our life is hell, every evening we have screaming sessions. My husband always finds an excuse for this boy and protects him. I feel there is not life, just survival, I am bullied emotionally every day. My dream is to send him to the boarding school, anywhere to have some peace of mind. Please do advise. Thank you
It sounds like my 16-year-old. Have you found a solution?
The life we’re living couldn’t be called life. It’s a hot mess every day.
The main bone of contention is studying and school. He won’t study; his grades are poor, very poor. If he keeps it that way, he’ll fail the grade. He won’t discuss the problem; he doesn’t want our help; he just wants to be left alone and live a virtual life online. We even took away his devices and the internet and promised to give them back once he finishes his daily homework, but he refuses to go to school out of spite now.
Anna, Your situation sounds exactly like mine. I have a 14 almost 15 year old, who doesn’t do any school work. He doesn’t do any assignments whatsoever. I’ve had teachers sending me emails telling me that he is behind on every assignment and I can’t get him off of that darn computer. He has lied repeated to me and his father when we ask if he got all his work completed. It’s like he just gave up all the sudden and now he doesn’t want to go to school at all. He will lock himself in the bathroom until 3pm. I spoke with his vice principal and he scheduled a meeting with the child youth councillor. I too am at my wits end. The sad part is that he has an above average math skill and gifted at music as well. But he has let all those gifts go down the drain and goes online until 3 or 4 am. We tried to shut off electronics and take away his phone, but he went into a full panic attack, so we caved. I fear for his future. I just want him to get his grade 12 diploma so that he can get a job down the road to support himself. I really don’t care about the grades. I’m thinking he may have adhd or be boarderline, but he’s never been tested.
Alex sounds like me when I disliked my new mother. As a parent now I understood why my Dad remarried. Basically if you spoil him he will know you are trying to win him. Perhaps your husband can talk to him about his hate. And you can pray for some tips.
My 15 year old daughter is challenging authority regularly with the latest being an 800 word verbal presentation on her chosen topic: “Schools Should Have Shorter Hours” 😉 Um, not if I can help it! This leads me to wonder whether or not frustration and boredom within the school system plays some part in all this rebellion. But she will do anything to avoid cleaning her room, leaves the bathroom in a mess, puts me down with unkind remarks, takes whatever she wants without asking, spends most of her time on Snapchat app. with pals who “understand her” until I threaten to confiscate the mobile & then she gets verbally abusive to the point that she will wrestle it back from me in a power struggle. My husband is a shift worker so not here after school on weeknights, I go it alone mostly so I can completely relate to Alex above & other distraught parents. I never had issues with my 18 y.o. son except the fact he would always avoid homework with loads of o/due assignments – still managed to obtain his VCE last year though and is working now in a trade.
Sandra Patterson says
I like your tip about making sure that you don’t make statements that are too punitive, and cause anger rather than focusing on bad behavior. My sister is having a lit of trouble getting through to her oldest son, he is really doing a lot of things that are going to end up hurting him. I think this article could help her, but I think he should help him by going to a professional that can help both of them out.
S Ghosh says
I have a son 19 yrs old. Good at study. But has addiction towards TV and Mobile. Stays in Hostel. Remains engaged in Mobile through out the night. Despite several counselling and threat he is not listening. Though we have asked him not to come home for study-leave because it will be very paining to see this disobedient behaviour. Even then he has come at home.
We have disconnected TV. Despite Final Semester Exam he remains with mobile mostly enjoying TV serial ( like comic, investigative etc) , movie etc.
We are very sure he is not with any relationship or in drug abuse. It seems he is not serious or lacks maturity.
In Indian cultural we have tried all means to make him understand. Still not showing any sign to come out of mobile.
What about spanking? I think that worked with me and my sisters as we learned to respect and feared consequences if we disrespected. I think parents are getting softer with every generation. I do believe in talking it over as much as possible but I refuse to be a doormat to teenagers.
Danielle Thyen says
This was a great article. After reading the comments, I thought I might recommend a book that has given me a lot of hope in dealing with my 15 year old son. It is called “He’s Not Lazy” by Adam Price Phd. It helps explain a lot about the boys who just refuses to put any effort in, as far as school goes or relationships at home. I would recommend it for anyone with an under achieving son, who seemingly lacks motivation or goals. Best wishes to all.
My 13 year old daughter was diagnosed with bipolar disorder last year. They put her on meds and it seemed to help but not so much lately. She has become extremely disrespectful and has no regard for me and her dad. Some people say I’ve given her too much. I just tried to be a good mom. And give her everything. But I can not deal with the disrespect no more. Tonight I told her to go to her room and she called me a stupid dumb bitch. And completely lost it. Please help me I can’t keep going this way
Daniel Wong says
I’m really sorry to hear that, Crystal. I can only imagine how frustrating the situation is for you. Just to let you know that I’ve written this guide (https://www.daniel-wong.com/resolving-conflicts-guide/), which you should find very useful in getting through to your daughter. Hope this helps.
Cherrie Bartolome says
I am in the same place. I try all avenues possible to connect and somehow just ask a respectful relationship with my 16 year old son. Being calm when we talk, staying on his positive side. But the ignoring my feelings being hurt continues. Should I just give my son some space? The more I try to talk, the more he gets agitated.
Grace van der Molen says
Reading each and every comment here..makes me feel that i’m not alone in my ‘misery’.
Like many here, having trouble with disrespect & not respecting rules. For the 2nd time now. First with my 17 yo, now exactly same going on with his 11 yo brother.
Despite the ‘details’ of each situation, mine included, i cannot stop thinking that we all (parents) seem to somehow the used has ‘doormats’ by many of these kids??
Each case is different, i know..but many things are similar: we, the parents get screamed at, insulted, not respected. We receive demands like they are little ‘kings and queens’…’all they have is considered a ‘God given right’ (mobile, comps, clothes, money, party, etc…etc). No sense whatsoever of ‘deserving stuff’ , being thankful, helpful, respectful…
And than there’s the ENDLESS theories on what we, the parents should or shouldn’t do to handle this little ‘dictators’.
We have to remain calm, no mater what. We cannot expect nothing. No way at all we can even touch 1 single hair on their hair – that’s abuse.
Sometimes i feel like we – the parents and grownups in general – have lost sight of reality.
While we have all kinds of obligations towards them.. there seems to be very little being expected from them, towards us.
Personally, i feel like a total idiot, having an 11 yo totally dictating the moods in my own house, from the moment he wakes up..till the moment he goes to bed.
Theres screams, bonking doors and disrespect for whatever thing he doesn’t agree with. (brushing teeth, whats for breakfast, clothes, mobile, tv…whatever you can imagine).
Rule is ‘dont do’ something..he pure and simply does. You comment… the hell breaks loose.
And there we are..the parents…spectators to this ‘screaming + bonking doors + kicking stuff’ act, by an 11 yo… being treated like garbage…and we cant do a thing about it??
Telling him to stop..makes no difference. Punishing, makes no difference. Telling him to sit down or whatever else..no difference..and he doesnt do it anyway. Considering ‘making him’ sit down or go to his room? ‘oooh..that cannot be, he will fight back and than it will get physical..and thats a big ‘not done’.
So…what can we do???
I feel like a total clown here, having my life dictated by a little spoiled disrespectful kid.
And yes..theres many articles – like this one – to be found on the internet. Endless advice.
But nowhere to be found..is ‘practical advice’, like..what do i do when my kid just screams like a wild Gorila, bonks doors..kicks stuff..and 23h..while his baby sister sleeps..neighbours sleep… etc
What do you do than?? let him be?
‘Remain calm’ is not really a good tip. it seems good, but doesnt really help solving the ‘details’ of the problem.
He kicks stuff.. i just tell him ‘you cant do that and theres consequences to that’? LOL
Been there..done that. Its a JOKE. They just go on.. for as long has they feel like. While you just have to ‘put up’ with all the kicking and ‘vomiting bad words or nasty comments’.
I feel like a punching bag. A garbadge can for all their ‘trashy comments’.
In the meantime..they are ‘kings and rulers’.
Am i the only one who feels like this is the ‘world upside down’??
All is allowed to them. We – the grownups – just have to ‘sit it out’ and ‘get the beating’.
No questions asked. No attitudes.
Because..OMG..what if we traumatize them?? A slap in the but..making them sit down….thats abuse!
But…what is this all..towards US?????
Not abuse?? Its OK??
Sorry. Very lost in all these endless theories… and when the real situation happens… theres no theory that really gives a practical, ‘hands on’ solution.
I couldn’t agree with you more!!! I’ve had about enough of my 13 and 10 yr old sons! I am a single mom to 9 children and only been divorced for almost 2 years and it’s been a living hell with these two. And to make matters worse my 9 yr old son decides to join in on the action and hellish attitude! I’ve never felt so helpless and defenseless in my entire life! Their dad is a #1 classified Narcissist and I’m scared to death that they’ll turn out like him! I cry and cry (of course not in front of them) and hope for mercy. I need to breath. I have other children that look up to them. I’m about ready to wash my hands off to them. The silly circus laws protect hellish children like these instead of helping us parents that try to do right by them and teach them character. Wow.. Smh.
Dear Grace van de
I TOTALLY feel your emotions. And i have been there…nothing works, they do what they want and in MY surrounding family? I have to let her be because heyyyyyyy what can you do?????? its your daughterrrrrrrrrr
the worst? the adults closest to me do not help the matter but repremend me for not
where is this world heading to?
Grace van der Molen says
*finally* someone that thinks and lives the same has i do!
We are subject to all of their bad moods and anger issues… and thats all OK (normal, part of the teenage years..it passes..etc)
And what about *us*? Our traumas? Our feelings?
I live in a very (extremely!) permissive country, where kids ‘rule’. Rules, limits..i try to teach my kids that..but ‘the surroundings’ ruin every attempt!
Quite difficult to be * the only one* demanding a minimum of respect and rules. (‘no one here needs to do that’ is the most common reaction i get)
Kids come and go..no questions asked and pretty much do what they feel like, when they feel like. (and this at a very young age he..im not talking 17 yo or so.)
Basically..’home’ is like their Hotel, where they come and go has they please..and Mum is the cleaning lady/cook at their service.
Helping out? Ridiculous.
Talking politely? ‘not of these times. everybody curses and swears Mum’
Asking permission for something? aaah…what?? you nuts?
‘Forbidding’ something?? ‘Are you crazy? thats worse..they will do it anyway’ (And im talking big issues, like drugs, drink, etc..not ‘watch tv or not’)
All this and much more, i hear from my kids and adults around.
‘In the end, this phase will pass, they will grow up and everything will be ok’ is the Lifes moto of adults here.
Therefore..adults have a *great* life..because they just let them do what they want anyway.
‘All for the sake of peace’ i heard recently. (From a Mum of kids with ‘no rules’ – her own words – and that talk like their mouth is a garbage can. ) But hey..she has peace.
Almost impossible to be successful in doing things my way..with such surroundings and influences… and even worse..listening to all this, with kids around…and kids using it against me on every attempt of ‘limits’ i make. 🙁
Enough to make any normal human being go nuts….
I am having trouble with my 15 yr old. No respect self centred I am constantly worried what he will do as he smokes pot too 😤
This is getting me down so bad I have done the calm approach ( won’t work) punishment doesn’t work I’m at my wits end with this. His dad doesn’t care but my partner does everything for him but he disrespects him too . Any advice would be great?
hello, i have two teenage boys my 17 yrs is Ok but my 16 yrs is very disrespectful, i have his games xbox and his phone and his new stuff because my rule is simple school and be in my house No later than 7pm on school days, you have to understand same times we give them every things and really they don’t see that.my 16yrs talks back to me and slam the door ..and forget about his homework he doesn’t care , i get phone call about from the school,
here same simple rule.. trust me and I’m awful Parent.our kids need to understand we r the Boss .
print a large latter to your kids .and leave a his well .
1- talk back to me you will loose every thing your stuff .clothes, games, shoes and than bed you will be in your empty rooms.
2-thers a good road like going to mall , gym and be with a good friends . is ok , they need a space . tell them , in my house at 7pm ..i know we have to check where they are , as me i don’t care, and i don’t want to know , because they are teenage we did our job to raise them , now our kids thinks know every things start the age 11 yrs to 18 yrs .is ok let them be .in my latter
3- school work you don’t care and i’m not worry , i will call law officer, and i’m series about it .
4-work at my house cleaning your room and give them a a day like my latter , every saturday i let my 17 yrs and on sunday is my 16 yrs. be in kitchen to do dishes and cleaning the sitting room, they should do it , i know is hard , but remamber WE ARE THE BOSS.KEEP TELL THEM IS MY HOUSE NOT YOURS . and if they says No, that he will make his own dinner , it happen like 3 times with my 16 yrs son ..i cook for the famliy, and not him. Yes i did .
5- I LOVE YOU MY SONS . keep remain them is called tough love
Sierra Dawn Quinn says
These comments give me relief that I am not alone. I am so confused with my 12 year olds behavior. He is just downright mean.
What I notice is that all of us, parents, are desperate to share our stories, then feel relieved to read similar ones and learn we’re not the only ones who suffer. I feel the same. But what about the solution? How to end this misery and what to do to help our disrespectful kids and ourselves. Is there a solution at all? Whatever we do, things get worse. We tried talking it out, making plans, offering help, understanding the teenage phase, using tough love, taking things away. It simply doesn’t help. It creates an even bigger divide between us. I have a 16 and 14 years old boy. The younger one is wonderful. The older one is a trouble-maker and confrontational. I’m desperate for some practical advice. Can anybody share what works?
Curious if you received a response about asking for help? I have two boys the same age and having the same issues with the older one. I’ve reached out to a therapist, the school and outside support and nothing seems to help.
Sallie Higgins says
My straight -A, Eagle Scout, 18-year old son turned into a monster. His senior year, he is failing and telling me he hates everything about me and will never see me again once he’s gone. I’ve worked hard to support him, and continue to do so. Very disappointed at what has transpired and hope he grows out of this phase before he destroys his life. I would have to say, after reading this post, that I do feel relieved that I am not alone. However, something is wrong with our society. Apprenticeships and getting kids out of the house and in to some sort of productive, valuable and viable trade or employment-related immersion instead of high school would likely make for better experiences than what seems to be the ‘norm’ for 21 st century America.
I appreciate what you said about underlying needs driving the behaviour. I suddenly have my 18-year-old and their significant other living with me due to Corvid-19 ending university early and there is a constant tinge of dislike and disdain if I give a suggestion, try to coordinate use of the kitchen or ask for help with dishes.
Help! I’m hurt! My son actually tells me he hates me! I treat him like a king! Always on my toes when he wants anything, he’s 15 now.
Grace Rathod says
Stop treating him like a king even king know boundaries, you need to step your foot on it and tell him who the parent is I am a single mum and its very hard I am always having arguments with my 14 years old, wish it wasn’t like that way
Daniel, our son has been smoking weed since he was 14 and is now days short of turning 17. We have asked him numerous times to not get high in our home but he has consistently rejected our wishes and continues to get high at home and finds ways to make contact with the kids who support the smoking weed thing. Very disrespectful. Tried counseling and that did not work. We have supported him, tell him we love him very much, give him hugs and try to understand him and this stage but my wife and I are now being impacted by his behavior that has caused issues in our marriage.
Grace Rathod says
I am a single mum with two kids and its extremely hard parenting, this article helped although wish I had read it before because I do get my own personal emotions involved and take it personally which I shan’t. I feel like a bad mum
Meghan Coronado Hansen says
I think that you should have a family meeting and take turns saying what they feel and just listen to them
What a relief to read these comments, knowing I’m not the only one. My 16 yr old has changed basically overnight. We were so close, but now nothing is good enough. I’m a single parent, always have been and it has made me realise how I have neglected myself , my own needs. I think it is time to start focusing on myself as my 16 yr old seems to have it all figured out and I suppose that’s the goal? To raise them to be independent? I guess I feel a bit left behind, used.
Thankgoodness there is other parents going through the same thing. Teenager 14yr old daughter is not very nice. Demands things, if she doesnt get her own way she breaks my things and my home. Scratches you and your family up with her nails… Been with her dad for 25 yrs… Some days she wants to cuddle and kiss me, but shes left me feeling so deflated that i dont feel like i want to hug her. She hurts me. Recently found self tattoeing needles and ink in her bedroom, also self piercing equipment that her older sister gave her.. Im furious. Also older sister and boyfriend give her alcohol. Before covid virus she was walking out of school, not doing her work.everytime we argue or disagree she walks out the house, slams and kicks doors til broken. Refuses to do homework at the moment unless we pay her. Its horrible and its ruining family life. Oh and chased her older brother with a kitchen knife. I dont want to live like this.
I agree. Years ago I always thought it´s parents fault. Now I know how hard it is.
My son is now 18 and I know it´s my fault that he is now so spoiled. His dad dies when he was 4 and I felt i had to make him feel good and now he treats me like trash. Just nice when he needs money. Everything what I am, everything what means something to me is trash. I try hard to don´t asked him for nothing, because his first word is always NO and I will not.
Today I told him to go outside and work and live on his own, if I´m so stupid and horrible. In september he will go to another towns university. It´s tough to try so hard as a single mom, trying to give it all and now this horrible disrespect.
He even told me he hasn´t has a perfect childhood because he saw me crying a few times. And I don´t cry often, maybe 1 or 2 in a year. I don´t cry, I just feel tired.
He is definitely running the show and walking on you. I am sorry this has happened. You were trying to be a good Mom.
Jocelyn alimboyogen says
How can i deal with my 13 year old son if someone is always there e to consent his bad attitude
i have a 13 year old daughter that i currently hate at the moment im at the verge of giving up!!and just let her ruin her life…shes been doing bad in school for the past year,now since COVID-19 she havent been doing no types of school work she just want to sit on her computer and social medias for days,when ever im trying to talk to her she acts like shes deaf and hear me or understand what im saying to her, my last straw is i caught her texting a 18 year old boy on IG saying very grown rude things even sending explicit pictures i asked her about she lied and said someone hacked her account it wasnt her…i got mad so angry i started calling her names and told her i hated her|which i dont )so i calmed down told her to delete it started encourging her told her i love her and asked her why she did that, now recently i just found out she went behind my back and created another account. shes a liar,sneaking, mischevious, spoiled and stubborn and i dont know what to do!! i really feel like giving up on her
Please don’t give up on her. I am 16 now and I was in her exact position, pictures, lying and this all stemmed from self hatred. I needed the validation from someone else that I was good enough and thats most likely why she’s doing what she’s doing, she feels the need for someone to make her feel like she is wanted. On the other side, the 18 year old boy most likely knows that she is not 18+, he is manipulating her. Please please please don’t say things like you hate her because while I know you don’t mean it it will make her feel the need to run to these boys who want her body and they will say things like they love her and she will feel wanted which is what she wants. There are underlying issues here and I’m very sorry if I am overstepping I just recognize my younger self in your story and I want to help both of you by sharing what helped me.
Your daughter’s entire life has been upended, she has no motivation and the only thing that feels stable to her are these boys and electronics. I would take rigid control over her internet use because it is such a dangerous place and engaging with those boys could end up in legal issues. Delete all her social media, block adult websites and get her a basic phone for communication for you and a few friends. She could be giving these boys her phone number, so check the area codes of her contacts and use a yearbook or school directory to have her show you who her friends are exactly. The internet is so dangerous and compelling for a 13 year old as it was for me, it’s so incredibly difficult to help yourself after being sucked in.
I hope you read this, your daughter loves you and she’s just using what she can and who she can to cope with the current situation (COVID-19)
young do says
well I am a 13 year old teen and whenever I have conflict with my parents, I read teen parenting articles because they make me feel good and I think about how it would be if my parents once tried to read these articles and help themselves. I acknowledge myself as a rude daughter but I have a reason for that too. I was smacked and slapped when I didn’t put up my bed properly when I was 12 years old just because maybe my parents were frustrated. I also know that I have been a very disrespectful daughter since my birth. But because they have physically abused me, I feel like I have become an abuser too. I beat my younger brother (8 years old) whenever he frustrates me or whenever I am angry. And today my parents mentally abused me by saying they will cancel my school and I have to become a housemaid if I didn’t attend my yoga classes tomorrow.(I hate yoga classes. they make me feel insecure) . They also told me that I take out my anger on my brother whenever I am angry.( they didn’t know it happened because of them. I am trying to stop my abusive behavior towards everyone now. I am so sure that my parents are never going to change. I don’t know the point of me writing this comment but I just took all my feelings out here today. BTW thanks Daniel Wong for such a good article.
I’m relieved to know we’re not the only family going through hell with a teen. It can make you feel so alone. For me, if my daughter makes poor choices with school and doesn’t want help, I try to use the Good Luck response.
This means I think or say, “Well, I’ve never had a child fail 10th grade before, good luck with that.” The responsibility and consequences for her actions fall in her lap, not mine. Then I can relax and not carry the worry. I know that’s easier said than done. Now I just need help with the zillion other issues we have!
Mary, if I was a teen and you said “good luck to me”, I’d be pissed off and resentful toward you and find everyway to rebel against you. I find your response to lack validating your daughter’s desire to be independent and to figure things out for herself. Of course, I don’t know you, your daughter, or the situation. But, I do know that validating a teen’s feelings and having that offer of support might make a teen feel more secure and might help them to be more open to cooperating if their plan fails and they realize they need help. But if their parent goes to an extreme and cuts them off with invalidation, then the teen might feel frustrated because the person they loved and trusted has already dismissed them with “Good Luck” with no option for a middle ground of problem solving and assistance.
Carol Lau says
Thanks for the article and thanks for all the comments left. It is therapeutic to read through the comments because it makes me want to yell out loud: “I AM NOT ALONE!” Good tips on how their brain is wired in order to understand why they act so impulsively. Our job as parents is to set the guideline of what is acceptable behavior and what is not. Somehow, I feel like this generation cannot digest the word RESPECT or they refuse to see how important “RESPECT” is.
Enilda Rentraw says
The tips in the article are very good for many parents I’m sure, but seem pretty impracticable and impossible to follow as a working single mum of three at the end of my tether. I can’t see anything to praise anymore with my 14 year old boy. Not getting up for school, not doing homework, going out when I tell him he can’t go out (I always explain the reason why he should or shouldn’t do something), bullying his sister, verbal abuse and many other things we all have to deal with on a daily basis, he now refuses to go to important appointments, I have explained the consequences of not going, for me, the NHS, and mainly, him. Many times I took his phone away (and other devices)but the last time I did he took mine and hid it, woke me up again and again by banging on the walls and clapping his hands, I am sooo tired because of work and all this, he even put his alarm clock in my room for 3 in the morning!!! until I gave him his phone back. How am I supposed to follow the tips in the article? I cry half the time, wonder how I make it to work most days, I am depressed and broken because of his attitude, am told I shouldn’t cry in front of the kids, I should stay calm, I should help him, but I myself need help before I can help him! It seems like a lost battle
Oh, you are narrating my life right now. “I will always love her but I really don’t like her right now.” My beautiful, joyful, funny daughter has turned into such a monster, and I feel like I don’t even know her anymore. It seems so very sad that she has turned me into “the bad guy” and we just can’t seem to reconnect. We have always been so close, and now I can’t say one single thing to her without her talking back. Breaks my heart.
I have a 13 year old daughter that has broken my heart this year as well. She was a n easy child until about 6th grade.
We are living on eggshells in my house because we don’t know which way her anger will swing from one minute to the next, and I can assure you, we only get about 5 minutes of peace from every hour in her presence. She is an inch taller than me and outweighs me by 40lbs and she is trained in 4 martial arts. I am a small person under 110lbs. So no, I’ll never hit her and neither will anyone else without repercussions. And I’m okay with that. I put those tools in her box! No one will ever hit her and not pay a price for it! I made it a purposeful intention not to raise a delicate flower but a warrior.
It’s not just the basic disrespect I expected during this time of development, I’m a former 9th grade teacher now a registered nurse, I know very well what kids are like at this age both from many hours of college courses and from experience. This is beyond that, and I don’t know what to do.
With my daughter, who was an honor student, it’s hatred and disrespect that I’m struggling with. This is not just eye rolling and door slamming; it’s constant hatred and an absolute lack of disrespect for authority, as well as minipulation. Every conversation ends in an insult to me no matter how basic. My daughter is the meanest person I have ever met in my life…and I raised her. I can’t even imagine treating my parents this way.
But all I can think about now is, “what have I done wrong? How did I fail?” Surely this is my fault?
She lies, about turning in her school work, refuses to do chores, lies about her friendships and social media. She refuses to help around the house, declines to go to her jui jit su workouts. Throws tantrums.
We were walking a delicate line last year and the pandemic just train-wrecked us! It has really made everything worse. My job as a nurse has become more demanding physically and emotionally so I’m not as available as I should be when my kid needs me more. My daughter handled it well for awhile but I can see the toll it’s taking now. We decided to do an online school program and it’s great academically but it’s destroying her social and emotional development.
I’m a nurse…a covid nurse since March 2020, the first day we opened an isolation ward at my hospital, working too many hours in a ridiculous work scenario and I’m not physically or emotionally available at home like I was previously. I have not had 1 single scheduled day of PTO since this started. But my daughter is also not 4; she is a teenager, and I shouldn’t have to feel guilty for having a career that saves lives. Right? But she is also going through the change and this pandemic and she needs me too!
But I grew up with an absent Mom who worked 60 hours a week just to put food on the table and I practically raised myself, why does my daughter need more? I am still here way more than my parents ever were.
Why does she need so much extra that I didn’t have? Why does it feel like today’s parents have to work more and parent even harder? My mother would have slapped me across the face for speaking to her like my daughter does to me. My father never would have allowed me to get away with treating my mother this way or neglecting my school work and chores. What did they do differently? My father is dead or believe me, I would be asking him and not you all.
I am of the love and logic mind; I’m going to let her fail and I’m not going to rescue her. She needs to learn that consequences mean something. I’ll keep trying to bridge the gap but I refuse to fight everyday about homework and chores: I don’t know what else I can do. Taking things away, phone when she is quarantined seems cruel but we do it some, Xbox- controllers get taken a lot!!
I thought I was prepared for puberty and maybe I was and we would have been okay, but this pandemic really screwed things up! Especially since I’m a night shift hospital nurse flung into covid care emotionally and physically drained and not able to work from home or even take any time off.
My 15-year-old has become very rude and disrespectful. She always had some boundaries and some freedom. Now she hates me. She has completely removed me from her daily life. I don’t know what’s going on. Every time I ask and I get answers like “you are invading my privacy”, “this is my body and I will tattoo as I want”. When I asked her for a discussion in a very calm way she said “your daughter does not want to talk with you mommy”. I asked why and the answer was “do you wonder why now”. I am blamed that I am not respecting her and and don’t trust her but I try my best and know that I am not behaving with her in wrong manner. That day we had argument and she went to sleep in her friends house without taking my permission. I was told that she does not feel that she has to take permission from me as its her life. What shall I do? Should I ignore it or make her face consequences? She is good in studies and helps in household work. Does not ask for lots of pocket money. Will I lose her completely if I make her face consequences? Please I need more advise.
I can identify with what a lot people are saying here.
I love my kids more than anything, but there are often times I like my dog better than I like my kids…..
Even when boundaries are in place nothing works if your kid is wilful, aggressive and stubborn.
I actually want to throw my 14 year old out he is so disrespectful, he swears and slams doors when he doesn’t get his own way he games and talk to friends till early hours of the morning.
I can’t sleep because i can hear this all night and I have tried taking away the phone and gaming equipment but the aggressive and violent outbursts are just not worth it.
We argue every single day over his selfish behaviour but there is nothing i can do, I totally understand why parents put their kids in to boarding school! Wish i could!!
I have decided I don’t like teenage children and right now i hate being a parent.
I can talk till the cows come home but nothing changes, I hope when he finally grows up and has kids he has ones just like him and realises what hell he is putting me through.
I totally get that. My daughter’s 15 (soon-to-be 16). She has ADHD. She’s definitely stubborn and disrespectful. I get that she’s not respected at all when she’s with my ex-husband so that probably is part of it. She swears at me and calls me names. Just yesterday she kicked and hit me and pushed me away after having requested help with her Powerpoints project for science class. My daughter watches the stupidest YouTube videos on MY phone since hers is NEVER charged (conveniently). She never asks. She has no respect at all for privacy. I try to be respectful to her, but she’s disrespectful to me and my mom to the point that when my mom is babysitting my nieces, it’s getting to the point that when they ask if they can come to my house, she wants to say No because she doesn’t want my daughter’s bad behaviors rubbing off on them. My nieces are 7 (soon-to-be 8), 6, and 3.
Jeri Hadel says
I am really tired of hearing ‘it’s normal teenage behavior’!! I call B.S. I am 69, work full time & single. I have a 13 yr old. We got adopted in 2015 but he has been mine since the day one. I held him first in the hospital. My daughter is the bio. She saw him last at 10 mo. I have a 35 yr old son who was a gem growing up. His dad left when he was 12. So this is not my first rodeo. Being both in the middle of this new age & the pandemic changes by the moment. He thinks things should be the same for both…like, why is it ok for you but not me…doesn’t get it at all!!!He wants for nothing, unlike my older kids as I struggled then as many did. He came at me last night in a very aggressive way. Hates me & says…I’m not talking to you for 2 days! Really…2 whole days of peace. Of course that lasted the night. I am on the last last nerve.
I am in the same situation with my granddaughter. She calls me horrible names (profanity) when she doesn’t like what I say. Calls me an idiot or retard if I don’t let her do something. If I take her phone, she sneaks in my room and takes mine and won;t give it back until I give hers back. Calls me on her phone from her bedroom for me to bring her things. I don’t do it and now I won’t answer the phone. She calls me “peasant” after she requests things. She is sucking the life out of me. She refuses to go to school and won’t get in the car. She hasn’t been to school in about 2 months. I finally gave up and she is going to learn the hard way with the consequences of her actions. Of course it will be my fault, but I know the truth. This is all abusive behavior and I call her out on it, telling her she is bullying. Her response in a baby voice is “Oh go cry about it”. Her parents are MIA and I have no family near me for support. I am trying to ignore her so I don’t give her power over me, but I feel like I’m going to seriously lose my mind. I’m worried about this behavior escalating and things getting worse, which it always can. Let go and let God? Looking like a good option to me.
Joan Smith says
I am going thru this with my 14 year old granddaughter. I have to watch her because her mother left last year and my son works. She is home schooled when she feels like doing it . She does have some mental health issues which have gotten worse since her mother left. I don’t know how much more I can take her mental abuse. The only time she is nice to me is when she wants something. If I don’t buy the item or do as she wants the abuse starts all over again. I don’t want to leave her alone all day because I’m afraid of what will happen . I tried once and she pierced her nose. I am at my wits end. I also got into an argument with her the other day and said somethings I shouldn’t have but don’t know how to say I’m sorry (even though it was the truth) .
Pls help me . My sister’s teenage son is constantly misbehaving with my mother over silly matters. And he expects that we as adults should not tell him any thing?????
When we make him realize his mistake , the situation turns into fight which indirectly affects my mother…
What makes me more angry that my sister remains silent at the moment when he misbehaves. Isn’t this her duty to correct her children.????
And everybody tells us to stay quiet.
Coz this is not new….
His father(my sister’s husband) misbehaved with my mother since marriage….. Now it’s been 15years. And this s no joke …
My sister’s family is mentally torturing my mother, my younger sister and me. What should I do.
My girlfriend is 14 years old and she has suddenly changed towards me, she doesn’t give me any of her time like before, she’s rude, she reply in a harmful and hurtful manner, she gives me a bad attitude
What should I do?