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How to teach teens to respect you as a parent

Why respect is so important in a family

Dealing with a disprespectful teen can seem like a rite of passage. After all, the teen years are full of raging hormones, mood swings and the joys of puberty. Sometimes, as a result, teens can push the boundaries of respect. But while the odd instance of disrespect isn't unusual, dealing with repeated disrespect can be difficult. Here are some ways you can help teach you how to get your teenage son and teenage daughter to respect you.



What You Need

  • Support

  • Mutual respect for your teen

  • Boundaries and responsibilities

Mother and teenage daughter on couch talking

How to earn your teen's respect

Did you know that respect is something you earn? Some people may think that it comes automatically because they’re the parent, but respect takes more than that. If you learn to do the following, you will be amazed by the positive changes in your teen.

Step 1: Be their supporter.

The parent has to be the basis of support for their teenager. Teens need to know that they have a good support team at home. This gives them the impetus to succeed and gives them the courage to take risks because they know they are in a safe and supportive environment.

Step 2: Show them the way.

Children learn by example, but this is also true — and maybe even more true — with teens. When we practice being out authentic respect, we show respect and empathy for others. The parent has to be the teen’s mentor when it comes to showing respect and also when receiving respect. Your actions will always be important to your teens, so show them how you respect people in the world. Teens always look and pay attention to their parents, and they will possibly follow in your footsteps.

Step 3: Treat your teen with respect.

Mutual respect is imperative to the relationship you have with your teen. It is important to treat our children in a respectful way, just as we expect them to treat us. This means that we do not put them down, shout at them, or hit them, to name just some of the ills that might need to be circumvented. This does not mean giving up your authority in the family. You are the parent, so correct your teens when they are wrong - and yes, there are respectful ways of disciplining stubborn teenagers.

Step 4: Set boundaries.

You have to set and maintain ground rules to ensure that teens grow up and understand what is expected of them. By establishing family rules that everyone in the home follows, teens can learn to understand what is right and what is wrong and to be respectful. Everyone should be held responsible for their actions.

Step 5: Give them responsibilities.

Teens want to feel loved and, at the same time, they like to be in charge of their lives. So, how else can you make them respect you if you do not trust them? Whether you are there to supervise them or not, give them tasks and responsibilities in the home. This shows that you believe in them and that their strengths are not invisible.

Step 6: Be a good listener.

Do not judge them when they open up to you. No teenager wants to get close to his or her parents about something and then end up getting scolded for hours. Sometimes, teens do not need advice, just an ear to hear about a problem or issues encountered in a day. We are not saying a parent must tell teenagers what they want to hear. Just give them your honest opinion and support them adequately. Say it once, and let it go.

Step 7: Communicate cheerfully.

Teens feel more confident and comfortable when they know that their parent truly enjoys talking to them, and not just because it is an obligation. Teenagers feel closer to you by communicating with you, so always try to end your conversations happily. Teens will be more willing to come for further advice in the future or just so you can listen to them.

Step 8: Respect their privacy.

Try to respect your teen’s space. Sometimes you have to let them do their own thing. Let them be their own person. Another great thing is respecting their privacy. If you constantly put your nose into your teen’s life, what will be left for them to talk to you about? Your teenager will feel like you already know everything there is to know.

Step 9: Keep their secrets.

This is important, and every parent must understand this. Please, whatever you do, keep what you and your teenager are discussing between the two of you. Let your teens know they can trust you and do not share with others what your teen counts as confidential. It is important that your secrets stay between you and your teen.

teen arguing with her mom
SDI Productions/Getty Images

What causes a child to be disrespectful?

Just like adults, teens can have those 'off' days when they're not on their best behaviour, and sometimes that results in disrespect. While it may not be acceptable, it's understandable. Teens can have bad days just like the rest of us, but if you've notice your teen's disrespectful behavior is becoming a habit, there may be a cause for it.

The experts at Empowering Parents explain that often this behavior is the result of a teen with poor problem-solving skills or lack of understanding about how to respectfully express themselves. As a parent it's your job to continually help guide them to act respectfully and teach them why respect is so important.

Respect is a simple but powerful concept. Make it easier for your teens to get acquainted with the golden rule in life: To treat others as they want to be treated. Teens do not appreciate vagueness. As a parent, you have to be practical and show respect to everyone around you. Your teens will pick it from you and be respectful — yes, especially to you.

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