Worried About Your Teenagers’ Disrespectful Behavior?


What do you do with your teenagers’ disrespectful behavior?

This disrespectful behavior may not be a sign of sociopath or narcissist behavior because it’s a way of separating, and it’s normal teenage behavior. But, you may be wondering how do you keep the behavior from spinning out of control; that way, they don’t become a narcissist or sociopath.

The answer is: YOU HAVE TO CHANGE.

My patients who are parents often make the same mistake, which is they try to change their child.

“You can’t talk that way; you’re being nasty, you can’t be rude.” The problem with this is, it’s just telling them how to behave. How do we all respond to that? We don’t like to be told what to do, and neither does your teenager, it’s not going to work.

Remember, the emotional goal for your teenager to not be a sociopath or narcissist is to be able to express their emotions well — especially anger, sadness, and neediness. What I mean by changing yourself is you have to express anger, sadness, and neediness and be a role model, instead of telling your child what to do.


Let’s say your child is name-calling. Stop them immediately and say, “It’s hurtful when you use name-calling when you’re talking to me, I can’t even hear what you are saying. I’m going off to the garage, if you can tell me this later without the name-calling, I’d be glad to listen.”

Let’s say your child is shouting. You can say, “It really irritates me when you’re shouting at me. It makes it very hard for me to hear what you are saying. I’m going off to the kitchen if you can say this without shouting I’d be glad to listen.”

I was talking to a parent, and he was doing a favor by picking up his child from the bus that way, his child did not have to take the dreaded bus. His child was using provocative language, and he felt like the child was trying to get under his skin by saying things that were personally offensive to him. So, the next time he could say, “I’m not going to pick you up from school anymore because it is very upsetting to me. I need to have a car ride home that does not involve this provocative language, So I will not be picking you up from school anymore.” The child may say, “What am I going to do? How am I going to get home?” Then, tell the child, ” You’re a smart kid, I think you’ll figure it out.” By putting the problem back on them, you’re not taking it.

Now, what are you doing in all three examples?

  1. You’re expressing your neediness, sadness, irritation in a healthy manner.
  2. You’re role modeling how to do that. So that your child will start saying, “I’m angry, or annoyed.” Instead of him coming at you with nasty behavior.
  3. Also, you’re standing up for yourself, which is what you want your child to learn to do.
  4. You are getting the emotions off your chest; that way, the emotions do not get in between you and your child, which is helping your relationship with your teenage child.

Although your teenagers’ disrespectful behavior may not be pleasant, it usually is normal teenage behavior.

If you have any questions about this topic, feel free to call us at (757)340-8800.

Or schedule a 15-minute consultation here

Or for more topics, go to www.drldabney.com.


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