Being rude to parents
Teenagers often get away with outrageous and antisocial behaviour because it’s believed to be hormonal and a natural part of adolescence. But what can you do when you find yourself wondering where your once cheerful, sweet-natured child has gone?
There’s evidence to suggest that temper tantrums, other emotional outbursts, and grunts and groans aren’t a natural part of adolescence, but are actually an accentuation of a young person’s personality. If your child had temper tantrums before puberty, they’re likely to get worse during adolescence. If he didn’t, they won’t necessarily develop now.
Where’s it all coming from?
If your child is being rude, you need to know why before deciding what to do about it. It could be that he’s trying to shock you. Or it could be his way of asserting himself as separate from you (a sign of independence). It could be that he can’t control himself and may have a flood of confusing emotions. When he’s with his friends, swearing and being rude and ‘lippy’ may be part of the way they relate to one another; he may have just forgotten to change his behaviour once home. Or, it could be that your teen is following your example.
A hasty response from you, especially if his rudeness is out of character, can compound the problem. Don’t take it so seriously, and try to find out what the behaviour is a symptom of. It could be that he’s upset with you over a misunderstanding whose origins lie elsewhere.
A question of character
If your child is normally able to express himself verbally and emotionally, then being rude may be out of character; if not, it could be more of a problem. Difficulty showing emotions or finding the right words may lead to your teen to being or sounding rude. If this is the case, being rude is secondary to being unable to express himself – this needs to be the focus of your attention. Emotional expression can be something that improves with practice. Obviously it’s better to help your child develop this ability as young as possible, but it’s never too late to begin!
Dealing with rudeness
Don’t ignore the behaviour – if being rude is something that’s always been a part of your child’s personality and has got worse as he’s grown up, you need to deal with it. Talk with your child – try to get to root of his behaviour. Find someone your child trusts – if he won’t open up to you in regard to his behaviour, then look elsewhere. He may be more willing to talk to a family friend, an older sibling, or an aunt or uncle.
If all else fails, you may feel you need to seek professional help. Remember, though, if you choose this option you may well have to look at your own behaviour, too.