Rude teenager: what to do?

"He's really gone nuts!" - I often hear in counseling sessions.


The rudeness and insolence of a teenager can drive a parent wild and stir up a storm of emotions, from helplessness and despair to fear and rage.

It can also lead to feelings of guilt: "I must be a bad parent to have caused this...?

You're not a bad parent, you're just an ordinary parent of an ordinary teenager. Being rude and swearing is a stage of puberty that all teenagers go through.

But the response to teenage rudeness is in your hands.

Often teenagers are rude on purpose to get you off your chest. Two or three rude words - and you're already "turned on": shouting, threatening, slamming the door. The teenager conditionally "rubs his hands" and thinks how else to add fuel to the fire.

As much as you would like to put the teen in his place, do not give in to his provocations and do not get involved in this scenario.

The best thing to do is either ignore the behavior or give feedback: "I don't like being spoken to in that tone of voice. We'll talk later when you're in the mood."

Think of everything your teenager says in these situations as the babble of a young child who doesn't really understand himself or herself screaming in a fit of anger and hormonal swings. Don't take this as a serious statement that can render an adult helpless.

Are you not provoking your child's hurtful words by saying them first? Make sure you are not being rude yourself, or saying unpleasant and degrading words to the child.

Ask yourself: "If I wanted a child to swear at me and start being mean to me, what should I do or say?"


The answer to the question will tell you how you are actually, willingly or unwillingly, provoking your teenager to be rude.

Maybe you started giving orders in a tone of voice that is not subject to objection? Asked a question that was too personal? Entered the room without knocking? Criticized his choices or decisions? Were your remarks dismissive, demeaning, judgmental, accusatory?

When you become aware of provocative stimuli, you will be more in control of your speech and behavior. And with this you will reduce the number of cases of rudeness and boorishness of the teenager.

I can already hear the objection, "It's easy to say don't pay attention to rudeness, control your speech and be calm. But what if you're already at your limit?"

I understand you: when you have no energy left, and your own child is rude and puts up with nothing, it's hard to hold back. As well as remembering that your teenager deep down loves you and needs your love and support. Huge resentment rises and you want to say "a couple of weasels" in response. And so a series of mutual accusations is launched, which leads to a scandal.


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