You are finding that as you and your teen continue to butt heads, they are having less respect for you. Maybe they are not adhering to set boundaries, such as curfews or certain chores/tasks. It could be that they constantly roll their eyes, slam doors, or talk back to you in disrespectful ways.
As a parent, you know you want there to be an equal amount of respect between the both of you. You want to respect your teen fully, and want that same respect back.
It’s important to understand that it’s a two way street. Necessarily, you need to be putting in the same amount of effort you are expecting your teen to as well.
Here are some tips on setting boundaries with your teen if you struggle with that. As a family, you and your teen have the power to work together to understand areas that you can support each other. With proper communication and understanding, developing and maintaining respect will work out within your family.
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How to Establish Respect with Your Teen: Be their support system
When your teen feels comfortable and confident opening up to you, they will have a lot of respect for you! Even with difficult conversations, such as talking about sex or drugs, they will appreciate your guidance.
Being their support system can occur in many ways. You can offer for them directly to come to you with any questions or concerns. Telling them, “I just want you to know, this is a judgment free zone”, when it comes to sexuality, drugs, bad decisions, or whatever else. Welcome your teen in with open arms.
Educating yourself on what your teen is going through will also help in being a great support system for them. For example, things such as using different pronouns or different names to identify themselves can leave you feeling confused. You may even feel angry because you don’t understand why they would want that.
However, it’s important to understand that they are finding ways to feel positive about themselves through choosing their identity. By reading up on what that means, you can understand where they are coming from, and what you can do to help! In situations like using different pronouns or names, accommodating them will help you gain respect.
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How to Establish Respect with Your Teen: Be respectful to them
Modeling the respect you want from your teen is a great way to gain it from them. This can look like wanting to respect their privacy. There may be certain rules of the household, such as not having the door closed when their boyfriend or girlfriend is over. Although you still want to enforce this boundary, you can still offer them privacy.
That could look like not walking by constantly or checking in. Maybe you sneak up there with snacks or drinks as an excuse to see what they’re up to. However, you can do your own task in a different part of the house, and only check up if you think the door might be closed.
You can also show respect through being kind and caring. This could be like asking about school assignments or how their grades are doing. Rather than berate them for any bad news, thank them for sharing that information with you.
By listening and being present, and being thoughtful of your teen’s feelings, you will be showing them respect.
How to Establish Respect with Your Teen: Don’t take their attitude personal
It’s important to choose your battles and not take their attitude personally. Teens are usually going through what’s called “teenage angst” where they are trying to find their place in the world. They can feel irritated, overwhelmed, depressed, anxious, or more. It will have an effect on their mood.
When you get a snappy response or eye roll from your teen, understand it’s because they have something going on. Keep your cool, and see if you can connect again at a later time when they may not be feeling the same.
Instead of providing them with the same attitude back, you can try saying something along the lines of, “I can see that you’re not feeling great right now. We can try to talk again later. Let me know if I can do anything to help you.”
By keeping the peace and modeling the behavior you wish to see in your teen, they will be better able to reflect on what they are currently doing. By not taking it personally, you won’t experience any overthinking or frustration. You will be at peace knowing that you tried to connect, but it just wasn’t the right time.
At the end of the day, if you feel you are still struggling to establish respect with your teen, consider seeing a therapist for support. Through teen therapy or family therapy, they will be able to understand and validate everyone’s needs and concerns. Therapy is a great idea to create a safe space to talk about difficult subjects and to hear each other out in a positive way.