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3 Parenting Strategies That Don’t Work With Disrespectful Teens

At some point in parenting our tweens and teens, we will most likely deal with our kids’ disrespectful behavior and negative attitudes. It’s a very common problem all parents face when raising their kids through these tough adolescent years! If you haven’t read the first post in this series on parenting disrespectful teens, you can read that HERE. It will give you important insights into why your tween or teen is acting disrespectful, defiant, or rude. The article will also help you understand more about your tween or teen, while my third part of this series will give you more effective ways to respond to your teen. You can read that HERE.

In this article, I’d like to share 3 parenting strategies that don’t work with disrespectful teens. These can even fuel more negative behavior! We all can intervene in these ways, hoping we are doing the right thing to change their behavior and help them become positive, responsible kids- but unfortunately, they backfire and can do the exact opposite despite our best intentions!

The 3 Common Parenting Strategies That Don’t Work With Disrespectful Teens 

Trying To Control Our Kids

Parents have a tendency to want to control their tweens or teens because they want their kids to be safe, healthy, happy, and responsible human beings. This is a time of huge transitions in the parent-child dynamic. 

As tweens and teens strive for independence, parents often experience a loss of control and a heightened sense of worry and responsibility. The desire for their kids to succeed and the fear of losing influence can lead to attempts to micromanage or impose their authority. This approach, though well-intentioned, can backfire, resulting in resentment, defiance, and strained relationships.

Here are some controlling behaviors that we well-intentioned parents can exhibit that can have unintended negative consequences:

  • Constantly giving advice
  • Lecturing about everything 
  • Threatening 
  • Nagging
  • Over-functioning and getting into their business
  • Hovering over them
  • Doing things for their kids instead of having them do things for themselves 
  • Telling them what to do in every situation

When we try to control our kids, this strategy often makes them resentful and angry and grow even more defiant. They may shut down their emotions, stop sharing with you, or start sneaking around, acting out, and harboring insecurities.

You might think, “My kid is constantly disrespectful. I have to stay on him to change.” And I get it! But this approach doesn’t work.

You end up in a constant state of negativity, regularly pointing out what they aren’t doing or doing wrong. This exhausting parenting strategy hinders your child’s ability to grow up into an independent, responsible adult.

Lacking Limits to make them happy

Parents often avoid setting appropriate limits to keep their kids happy and avoid conflict. They try really hard to please their kids, hoping this will earn their love and prevent disrespect. However, this approach often backfires. Kids need limits and will naturally test boundaries, leading to disrespectful behavior if none are set.

We all want our kids to have a positive relationship with us. However, when we lack limits because we want them to be happy, we aren’t helping our children develop important skills and learn how to be accountable for their behavior, which they need to be responsible people. Setting limits and rules and following through with consequences is a critical role in parenting that our kids actually need.

Let me give you an example:

They are disrespectful, but we still drive them to the mall or take them shopping, and we wind up feeling resentful and taken advantage of—“I do so much for you, and look how you treat me.”

We might think making them happy will lead to respect, but it doesn’t. Some parents are authoritarian (“my way or the highway”), while others are too permissive. Without clear limits and boundaries, we focus on making our kids happy and comfortable, excusing poor behavior to bond with them. This approach is exhausting and leads to resentment, disrespect, arguments, and entitlement.

Trying To Win Arguments

Your teenager starts arguing with you about something…. what usually happens?

When teenagers argue, it often triggers an immediate reaction from parents, leading to heated debates about who is right and who is wrong. Trying to convince them of our opinions becomes a power struggle, creating disrespect, conflict, and defiance. 

This strategy is exhausting and frustrating, and it doesn’t work. Instead, it creates disrespect, conflict, and defiance in our kids. It shuts down any further open and honest communication with them, as they refuse to listen to what we say. We can eventually lose important teaching moments in helping our kids make safe, healthy, and responsible decisions in the future because they won’t listen to us.

If you’re using these strategies, don’t feel like you’re failing. Most parents are doing the same things without realizing there are better, more productive, and more effective ways to manage their disrespectful teens. You’re a GOOD PARENT wanting to learn and grow right along with your kid. So, instead of beating yourself up, I want you to feel hopeful that better days are ahead once you apply what you’ve learned in this three-part series on parenting a disrespectful kid.

After learning these three parenting strategies that don’t work with disrespectful teens, you’re probably thinking: What is an effective response to your kid’s disrespectful and defiant behavior? My third post in this series provides those critical next steps, insights, and specific strategies for being proactive! You can read that HERE.

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