A teen's brain isn't wired to help him focus on respect, consideration or thoughtfulness. Instead, it's up to parents to make teens aware of appropriate behavior and hold them accountable when they are out of line, according to information from Dr. Wes Crenshaw, a licensed psychologist for couples and families, in an article on the Lawrence Journal-World website. Dealing with a rude teenager ranks as an unfavorable task for many parents. However, unless you meet the issue head-on, you risk raising a teen who will become a rude and disrespectful adult.
Think about the way your family treats one another and people outside your family in general. If disrespect and rudeness run rampant within your family, begin by treating others with polite respect to set an appropriate example for your teenager.
Check with other people in your teen's life, such as teachers, coaches and employers, if applicable. It's vital to know if your teen reserves his rude comments for you or if he's rude in general. If he's only rude to you, try to find the cause. For example, he could be imitating the way you treat him or he could be lashing out in anger in response to your authority.
Shut down your teen when he makes rude comments to you. Teen behavior expert Mark Gregston suggests, in an article on the Parenting Today's Teens website, that parents should disengage with their teen -- walk out of the room, hang up the phone -- when he begins making rude comments. This sends a message that the behavior is unacceptable.
Approach your teen about her rude behavior at a neutral time -- not while she's making the comments. Tell her that you love her, but you will not allow her to talk rudely to you, to others or about others, without consequences. Explain why rude comments are not allowed. For example, tell her that speaking in a rude manner is destructive to her and the people around her because it undermines important values such as respect.
Explain to your teenager what qualifies as a rude comment. Give him specific examples of his own behavior to clarify your expectations. Also, ask your teen to consider how he would feel if someone made a rude comment to him. Give him a specific example of a disrespectful comment aimed at him to help drive your point home.
Inform your teen of the consequences of rude comments. For example, tell her you will take away her cell phone for a set period of time or restrict her after-school or weekend activities.
Enforce the consequences immediately when you hear your teenager making rude comments.
Tips & Warnings
- If your teen angers you with his caustic retorts, give yourself a timeout before replying. If you reply while you're angry, you're more likely to react rudely.
- The first time you shut down your teen, calmly tell her that you're willing to talk to her at another time when she is willing to treat you with respect. It's important that she doesn't interpret your behavior as rude. In addition, it helps keep the lines of communication open.
- Don't let rude language slide, whether it's directed at you or someone else. As a parent, it's your responsibility to deal with your teen when she's in the wrong.
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