What To Do When Your Teen Is Being Rude

Mother and daughter talking seriously
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When your teen is rude, especially in front of other people like extended family, you almost feel that someone is scratching their nails down that proverbial blackboard. It is so frustrating.

As parents, we cannot tolerate our teens being rude. But not only do we have to pick our battles with our teenagers, we get to choose when the battles occur. While our teens may be rude in front of company or in public, we don't need to discipline them right then and there.

If you do it will only add to the frustration you and your teen are feeling. You could also embarrass your teen to the point where they have a full-blown meltdown.

So, what do you do at the moment that your teen is being rude to you? There are a couple of things you can try but the best one is usually to ignore it until you can be alone with your teenager. The other is to ask your teen politely to stop doing the behavior. Whichever you pick, it should be followed by a conversation with your teen.

When you talk to your teen after the rude behavior you'll want to cover several points:

First, you need to let them know what bothered you about their behavior. Use clear messages and be specific.

Second, ask your teen if there was a reason for the behavior. Use your active listening skills as your teen is talking. They may be frustrated with their friends or something at school. Or they may be angry with you for something totally unrelated.

Be understanding of their concerns, but let them know it does not excuse their rude behavior.

My daughter will normally talk, smile and giggle; she'll act like such a sweetheart even at 16-years-old when most teens are pushing their limits with their parents. But when she's in a bad mood, words spill out of her mouth before her brain catches up.

These are the times when she can be incredibly rude to me. And although I may understand the reason for her bad mood, I do not tolerate her unkind words. If I did, she may never learn not to speak to people that way. She could lose a job or her friends and not be as successful as she would be otherwise.

Third, explain to your teen that there are consequences for rude behavior. And then let them know what the consequences are and follow through. It is not wrong here to let the behavior slide after coming to an agreement with your teen the first time the rude behavior happens. This is a personal choice that a parent has to make.

Prevent Rude Behavior in Your Teen, Before It Happens

Rude behavior in teens can be prevented for the most part. Although there will always be times when your teen gets aggravated and acts rudely - mood swings and growing pains go together - talking to your teen when they are not being rude will help. Here are some tips to help you prevent rudeness before it even starts:

Use your good manners every day in your home. Children learn what they live. When you model good manners, you will know your teen knows what they are and will use them at least some of the time.

Ask your teen what acceptable behavior they could do instead of being rude when they're frustrated. Then, ask your teen how you can help remind them to do the acceptable behavior. Sometimes our teens have the answers we're seeking and we simply have to ask them.

Set up a contract about rude behavior for the whole family to follow. Be clear about the behaviors you wish everyone to avoid and the consequences that will be enacted.

Use family meetings to talk about politeness and what manners mean to you. Praise your teen for using their good manners at a specific time that week. Let them know that you appreciate when they do a good job.

Know your own moods and when you're behavior borders on being rude to your teen. It's one thing to be firm, it's quite another to take out your bad day on them because their room is a mess. Take a timeout. When your teen sees you handling your frustrations this way, they will learn this positive behavior.

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