Disrespectful teen!

February 12th, 2013 posted by Family Corner Staff

Photo Copyright Amanda Formaro/The Family Corner.com 1998, 1999, 2000

Q:

“My 14 year old daughter has become extremely disrespectful. We can’t ask her a simple question or comment on an everyday thing without getting an attitude-filled, smart mouthed response from her. I realize some of this is due to her age, but this type of behavior is unacceptable to us. The younger children in the family are even starting to mimic her. I’d love some advice on how best to handle this. Maybe someone else has experienced this type of problem before.”

~ Loa

Answers from our members:

LaRae wrote:

That age seems to be a time when all kids speak disrespectfully to some degree. When she does speak in a way that is unacceptable ask her kindly to repeat what she said in a proper way and don’t respond to any disrespectful speech. This way she will unlearn the bad habit she has developed.

Doug wrote:

I’d suggest that you tell her the following: “I NEED YOUR HELP. Lately you’ve been showing me a lot of disrespect. I’d like to find out why, but that can wait. My immediate problem is that the younger kids are mimicking you, and I don’t think I deserve the scorn you’re all showing me. For whatever reason you choose to treat me this way, will you please not do it in front of the kids? WILL YOU HELP ME?” You’re telling your daughter that you consider her to be an adult. By speaking to her in a civil and adult manner you’re not loading adult responsibilities on her, but rather assuming that she’s part of the adult team that must set a good example for the children, something that every child, teen or otherwise, understands when dealing with a younger child. In addition, you’ve deferred addressing the underlying conflict with your daughter. If and when she’s ready to address it, she’ll approach you and you need to be ready to have that conversation with her whenever she’s ready. It’s the first of many conversations to come. Most importantly, seek her help, don’t demand her submission.

M wrote:

Do you remember how horribly confusing and hormone filled 14-18 were for you as a girl? I do. Looking back now, I can honestly say that the disrespect and manic tamper I displayed were a cry for someone to teach me how to control what was going on inside my mind and body. My advise is to look for a way to help her. Possibly a mediator, such as a family or child therapist. When you say “therapist” everyone gets defensive and thinks that they have a problem. There is nothing abnormal about your child. However, if you want to get through to her without her resentment toward you, you may need someone you both trust to mediate. In the meantime, don’t ease up on the punishments because you feel her pain. Be creative with your punishments, don’t use the simplest things. Try things like if you can’t speak to me with respect, you won’t talk on the phone or computer to your friends for the rest of the day. And don’t make the punishment fit your anger. If you are so mad that you tell her no more telephone or computer for the rest of the week, you won’t have that punishment to use the next time….you used up the whole week! Good Luck.

Dorri Neville wrote:

You have to let the 14 yr.old be re- minded that you are still BOSS! Punishment is still a viable recourse. The younger children have to be shown by EXAMPLE! Let them see that being fresh and smart mouthed to your parents is not acceptable. Your 14 yr. old is the oldest right? She has to the example to the younger kids. It’s not fun being the oldest but the rewards are great later on in life. I know I’m the oldest and got the brunt of it all. If you loose your handle on them now it’ll be disastrous later.

Eleanor wrote:

I can sympathize with you having gotten one through that terrible age, and now going through it with another, and one more to follow. Hormones play a very big role in the horrible transformation our teens seem to take at around 13 years of age. All I can tell you, is don’t ride her too hard, and be very loving and supportive. Even though it sometimes breaks your heart to hear your daughter speaking to you like that, you have to remember she really doesn’t mean it and is usually remorseful when it is over. Having ridden out the storm now my 17 year old and I have a great relationship. I could not imagine my days without her contributing to each one. Good Luck

Susan wrote:

I agree with many of these mothers that teenage years are a rough time, remember? Although I would have never spoken to my parents the way my 16 year old speaks to me without punishment! Punishment these days is called “child abuse”, so what do we do. We, as parents cannot allow this type of behavior in OUR homes, with or without other children. I agree it comes from their friends and who they surround themselves with. But at what age do we as parents stop “picking” their friends? It is a daily struggle that can tear a family apart. I hung a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson in my son’s room; “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” Good luck to us all!

Karen Block wrote:

Wow! You just described my daughter! This has been going on for several months, with each month worsening. I have unusual circumstances in my household, however, and this is the way I chose to handle it. Her father and I are divorced and we are both remarried, I’ve been remarried for 3 years and he for 1. Without going into a lengthy story, my 47 year old ex-husband married a 22 year old woman who is still not entirely out of that stage herself. My ex makes a good living so there’s money to be spent there, not in my house. That’s one of the problems that causes an attitude and arguing. One day I finally blew my top and made her go live with her dad. That was, and still is, the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I also have a 10 year old daughter that was getting sick of her. I have always been very, very close with my girls. Now that she’s living with Dad, she doesn’t have that closeness anymore. Girls don’t talk to their dads like they do their moms, so I know she’s on her best behavior there. I also know she’s missing the closeness she had with me and my other daughter, so our weekends together have been better, but the attitude is still there. I feel that this was a drastic measure prompted by God and there will be many, many lessons learned as a result of this, for all of us. In the meantime, my house is in more harmony than it’s been in a long time, my youngest daughter has relaxed and, at this point in time, she’s absolutely wonderful. I pray for my 14 year old numerous times throughout the day; I’m not thrilled about the environment she’s living in right now, but I feel that by not allowing her to come home until she has an attitude change will hopefully break the habit. And I believe that their attitudes are exactly that–habits. They start them because of their age and hormones, see their friends do it and get away with it, in my case her stepmom does it and gets away with it, and it becomes a habit more than anything. In the meantime, on the weekends, we talk about God and his expectations, read scripture, and after four weeks of living with her dad, she has gotten into the Bible. One good thing has come out of this! And I know there’s more to come! I have to wait, be patient, do a lot of praying, and listen for God to tell me it’s time for her to come home.

Chris Stout wrote:

Join the club of “I don’t like my Teen”. I love her but I sure don’t like the way she acts toward me. But I help myself by realizing that this is normal for her age group. I see how the other girls do the same things to their parents. It is disrespectful, however, it isn’t really her way of life. I take pride in knowing that my daughter is very well liked in school, by peers and educators. The parents of her friends absolutely adore her. So she can’t be all bad. It’s something that she is going through and I know deep inside her, well not really that deep, she loves me, respects me and knows that I will be by her side in rain or shine.

Linda wrote:

Remember that this is NORMAL behavior for 14-year-olds. I’ve been through it with both a boy and a girl. I thought 14 was the hardest time of all. On one hand, they are expressing their need to pull away from their parents and to be “different” in looks, manners, attitudes, etc. And yet, they are still young enough to want Mom and Dad to be “at their beck and call.” Show your displeasure when they act disrespectful, but try not to let it be your only communication. They need a lot of alone time at that age. They also think their friends know more about them than their parents–which is true in certain areas–and they rather like it that way. Their social/school lives seem (to them) more important than getting along with their parents. Ride it out. Be consistent. They will come around.

Maria wrote:

My husband and I are experiencing the exact same problem with our 14 year old daughter. Doesn’t it seem that when the hormones start to hit our teenagers between the ages of 12 and 15, we parents suffer mercilessly? It almost makes a mother want to run for the hills! The best advice anyone can give is to take it one day at a time. Let your children know that disrespectful talk and actions will not be tolerated under no circumstances. But at the same time, try to spend more time as a family … without battles. Make a battle neutral period. Take out games, rent a movie, have make your own sundaes, whatever you choose. Try to make happy time to mix in with the bad. Remember that despite that nasty attitude, you have a wonderful daughter who’s going through a rough change period. If things get too hard to handle, call in for intervention. Family counseling doesn’t mean that parents are unable to do their job. It means the contrary, that they take their job seriously, and they’re very concerned about being the best parents that they can be.

Sharon L Miracle wrote:

She may be struggling with pressures outside the family, but that’s still not an excuse to treat parents and family members badly. Take away ALL privileges until this behavior stops, and explain to her why you are taking them away. She needs to respect you and know that you will not tolerate this behavior.


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Family Corner Staff (674 Posts)


  • shanya

    i looked this up to decide i punishment for what ive done today. im a 14 year old as u all describe and i have mi hormones act with me all the time. i have to watch mi mouth around mi mother and watch what i say before i say it. i try not to be disrespectful but sometimes i dont even notice i do it. the more u get on to the child about it, the more they be aware of it. trust me i know. usually mi mom would spank me, take away things and privilages,and other things i dont want to share. suddenly shes gotten married and mi step father calms her more than before when im in trouble and sometimes i push mi luck with that. Now that im older and have another parent in the house, she’ll ask him what the punishment should be or ask me to make mi own punishment for myself. this creates a whole mind set for us because we’re disciplining ourselves. we take more notice of what we do.
    just thought u should know coming from an actually teenager.

    • http://craftsbyamanda.com/ Amanda Formaro

      Thank you for sharing that Shayna! It’s always great to hear from all sides.

  • seriously!

    move out and be done with it.

  • Young Elisse

    Coming from a 14 year old, I have to say that even though we may be disrespectful and distant towards our parents, it isn’t as though we are TRYING to act this way. We can’t control it, and often enough, our words and emotions express themselves before our conscience and politeness do. What is worse is that when my mother noticed these signs, she seemed to take them the wrong way, and is making me feel very guilty about them. For example, last night, I was at a family friend’s house, and I came home at around 9 pm because Their son and daughter were helping me with my homework and also my quiz that is coming up. The parents drop me off at home (we live about 5-10 minutes away from each other) and I greet my parents. My mother goes ahead and asks in a sarcastic manner, “Oh, so you do remember your mother?” Of course, I’m confused, and she must’ve seen it on my face and said, “You should have finished earlier and came home sooner!” I felt slightly angry at her words, after all, I was trying to get my work done and studying to make sure that I would know what I needed to on the quiz, not purposely avoiding the house or being outwardly defiant about anything. I sometimes catch myself being disrespectful, but like I said, I don’t really notice it until it is too late.

    I hope this helps, seeing the problem from a teenager’s point of view.

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