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How to Parent Difficult & Disrespectful Teenagers

By Rose Erickson ; Updated June 13, 2017

Parenting is a difficult task, especially when teenagers are difficult and disrespectful. Although it is sometimes hard to see, teenagers want love and support. They need patient parents who can help guide them through the trials of becoming an adult. Teenagers need to be provided with a healthy environment in which they can learn and experience their daily ups and downs. They also need parents who set limits, but are still willing to listen to their ideas and problems.

  1. Stay calm and respond instead of react. When a teenager is being disrespectful, it is easy to react angrily. It is the body’s natural response. But it will not help anyone. In fact, it will more than likely result in fighting and resentment.

  2. Explain how your teenager's actions make you feel. Be simple and specific when explaining what your teenager has done wrong and how it has made you feel. It helps her understand exactly what unacceptable behavior is and also teaches her to communicate her anger instead of acting it out physically.

  3. Listen to your teenager. Let him speak his point of view, even if he is not being respectful. What he is saying might actually have merit. Feelings are always important to express, even if they are expressed unacceptably. This will show your teen that you will hear him out.

  4. Do not call your teenager names or show resentment. Not only does this make your teen feel bad, but she will feel that it is OK to call you names back.

  5. Stay focused. Sometimes a teen talks back to divert attention from his bad behavior. Acknowledge his feelings and repeat yourself.

  6. Pick your battles. Some things are just not worth fighting about. However, if your teen’s safety is threatened, a parent is justified in standing strong.

  7. Be negotiable. Invite your teen to suggest solutions to problems. Find solutions that are beneficial to everyone. This shows your teen that she is important and respected. Thus, she will be more inclined to trust and respect you in return.

  8. Let it go. Sometimes it is easy to hold onto resentment, but it will not be beneficial to anyone. Instead, try to stay positive and save punishments for serious issues.

  9. Tip

    A hug, positive words or other positive reinforcements can go a long way with your teen. Appreciation can help to improve a teen's self-worth and behavior.


    Seek the help of a therapist or support group if nothing seems to help your teenager's disrespectful behavior.

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