Understanding disrespectful teenage behavior: Answer to your problems?


Disrespectful teenage behavior at home? This is possibly how it goes!

You: How was school today?

Your teenager: Why are you asking ? Why do you need to check on everything I do !

You: I was simply asking if your day went good, not checking on anything !

Your teenager: Oh you always do! How were the lectures, what did you do, what are you wearing, when will you return… endless questions. 

It is disheartening…

… to see your child responding to you with outright rudeness, defiant or showing disrespectful teenage behavior. But you must also know that most parents with teenaged kids, face this. For starters we need to decode a teenager’s brain to understand teenager behavioral problems. From thereon we can try and work on teenager behavior management strategies.

What does it mean to be a teenager?

Teenage is the time when children start exploring the world, learn with experience and deal with situations all by themselves. It is a stage immensely responsible for shaping ones’ personality. Whatever a teenager does, experiences, feels, or deals with, leave a huge impact for the rest of his life. Therefore it is crucial to have a teenage phase, free of irrational baggage and unresolved emotional conflicts. If you, as a parent want your adolescent to behave in a particular manner and not showcase disrespectful teenage behavior, it won’t happen by forcing them. It will lead to more frustration, teenage problems and in extreme cases teenage depression.

So let’s start by understanding your teen to see why they show teen attitude and create teen trouble.

Inappropriate Parenting

High expectations, prohibitory rules and excessive punishments to exert control is exactly what will isolate your teenager and create teen trouble at home. When a kid spends his childhood in such restricted environment and later gets the taste of freedom through peer interaction, he rebels, often excessively leading to disrespectful teenage behavior. He starts comparing his parents with other parents and ends up judging their behavior as villainous. Black and white thinking is very common at this age and major concern behind teenager problems

Suppression of Frustration can lead to disrespectful teenage behavior

A teenager goes through a lot of physical and emotional changes when he hits puberty. He can go through cognitive distortions like overgeneralisation, polarisation, blaming, etc. This can lead to feelings of pain, inadequacy and confusion especially when concerns are left unaddressed and unanswered. In order to avoid consequences of confrontation, they suppress their frustration, only to explode later as disrespectful teenage behavior.

Impaired Peer Relationships may be behind teen attitude

The world of a teenager is very different. A major teen challenge is: Peer pressure and peer expectations. It is a huge concern for your adolescent if he wants to fit in. If unable to do so, he has good chances of getting bullied, humiliated in front of others which will result in low self-esteem. Many children use defence mechanism such as ‘Displacement,’ where they take out their school or college frustration on their parents. This also helps in feeding their low self-esteem a common teen attitude and teen trouble issue. Unfortunately this displacement will gradually spread in all aspects of life. They may never learn a healthier way to cope with difficult situations.

Although the 95% of the brain development completes at the age of 6, the prefrontal cortex, that controls emotions or impulses, and makes judgements, is not well connected in a teenage brain

Lack of Communication in the Family leads to teen trouble

This is the most common and neglected reason for a teenager’s disrespectful behaviour. If something goes wrong in the family the teenagers remain clueless. Nobody talks, nobody answers. Parents assume it’s their duty to protect their children by withholding bad information. On the other hand, teenagers, who view themselves as “almost adults” get angry at their parents continuous dismissive and secretive behaviour leading to teen trouble. In order to get back at their parents, they start using or doing things their parents won’t approve like back answering, staying out late, using foul language, etc. This leads to suspiciousness and hostility. Remember, if you don’t give them a proper answer, somebody else will.

S.W.A.G leading to disrespectful teenage behavior?

No kidding. Sometimes they do it just to appear ‘cool’ among their friends who view back talking with parents as an achievement of some sort. This happens because they need the social approval of a particular crowd they fancy being a part of. You will have to be extremely patient with such kids. Yelling and shouting or punishments won’t work. This all might end up encouraging them and make them push their boundaries which you certainly don’t want. Risk-taking behaviour will surface more and success in such activities will leave them wanting for similar adrenaline rush. In the long run it will affect the dynamics of your family stemming from disrespectful teenage behavior.

Here we talked about what are the basic causes for disrespectful and defiant behaviour. Find out how you can teach your teen to express himself in a more acceptable manner in How to Deal with Disrespectful Teenagers


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