No parent wants to teach their teen to be disrespectful – do they?
The problem is, as parents, we teach by example every bit as much as through our words. Have you ever thought about the influence your own disrespectfulness might have on your teen’s disrespect for others?
After raising children of my own I sure wish someone would have brought this to my attention.
As parents we have the stereotype of the unruly, disrespectful teen constantly drummed into our heads. What we don’t hear about is how our own disrespectful behavior towards our children can affect their attitudes and behaviors in negative ways.
Someone wrote, “Disrespect is a common problem between kids and their parents today. It’s hard to deal with someone who refuses to consider other people’s opinions, who interrupts when someone else is talking, or who never apologizes for their own mistakes.”.
As a parent, did I just hear you say, ‘amen’?
There’s one really BIG problem with your ‘amen’ – the above statement was in reference to PARENT’S behavior towards their teens, not the other way around.
What? Could this be true? As a parent of a teen could ‘I’ be guilty of these typical teen behaviors myself?!
Actions Really Do Speak Louder Than Words
Our teens can push our buttons like no one else. Remembering back on my own experiences of raising two teens (now in their early 20’s) I can attest that NOTHING could bring out my disrespectful, negative emotions like getting into an argu, …errr, “discussion’ with my teenage children!
More than a few times as we argued I realized that I was acting just like a…teenager!
How embarrassing on my part. Losing your parental cool and being disrespectful to your teen accomplishes absolutely nothing good. When parents act disrespectful towards their teenage children they are reinforcing the very behaviors they are trying to stop in their teen.
YOU Need To Be the Adult
It is in these moments of conflict that our teens need us to be the adult in the room.
It isn’t right to expect them to be the adult. Our adolescent children are just being who they are – teenagers! Just because they are on their way to becoming adults does not mean they have arrived there yet. They are still learning – by trial and error – what it means to be an emotionally healthy adult.
What they need from us is good emotional modeling – providing a calm, stable, rationale presence to absorb their unsteady emotions and often irrational behavior.
Here is a good question to sum up this issue: ‘Does it really make sense for parents to demand respect by acting disrespectful themselves?’
Here Is Why You Want To Avoid Disrespecting Your Teen
Your Disrespect has 2 undesired consequences:
1. It harms your teen’s self-esteem.
2. It will likely make your teen more rebellious – not less.
Yelling, swearing and calling your child names can only make them feel bad about themselves. Since many teens ALREADY feel bad about themselves (a common reality of adolescence), your disrespect can actually make them feel WORSE than they already do about themselves. Most teens are already struggling with self-identity (who am I going to be) and self-esteem issues (how do I feel about myself).
Treating your teens in a disrespectful manner can strike at the core of where they perceive their self-worth. No matter how much they may deny it, you are still the most influential person in their life. Treating them with disrespect can have a profound hurtful influence on their self esteem and worth.
As well, when you treat your child with disrespect the quality of the relationship between the two of you is harmed. Respect begets respect – disrespect begets disrespect. The less your child respects you the less likely they are going to listen and do what you say.
As the saying goes: “Rules without relationship equals rebellion.”