To stop rudeness, firstly, get the family to agree that everyone will speak respectfully, and decide penalties. So, when the whole family are together, perhaps during a meal, say that you’re worried about the rudeness at home. Ask how everyone feels about it. And aim to get everyone to agree that you’re going to all try to speak respectfully in your family. Including you.
Get everyone to say specifically what they don’t like. And decide on a penalty if the rule is broken.
Maybe your child could help you with a job for 20 minutes if they’re rude to you.
And you could give them an unexpected lift somewhere or take them to the cinema if you’re rude to them.
Many teenagers are rude because they don’t feel listened to or respected. So, try to treat them like adults, even if they don’t always act like one!
If you’re not sure, think: ‘would I say that – in that way – to my best friend?’ If the answer’s no, then don’t say it to your teenager.

Secondly, tell them it’s not ok when they’re rude. If your teenager is rude, swears, makes a derogatory comment or insults you, say very calmly.
‘It’s not ok to speak to me like that. We’ll talk about this later.’
Then remain quiet. Don’t retaliate or argue or get upset. They may be itching for a fight. But remember you’re the parent,
not a sibling. So, stay completely calm and self-composed.
If there is a torrent of abuse, leave the room. Saying ‘I’m leaving now. It’s not acceptable to speak to me like that.’

And finally, talk to your teenager and do a job together to make up.
Don’t ignore the outburst. When things have settled down and everything’s calm go and talk to your teenager. Say how you felt – so ‘I felt really hurt and upset when you spoke to me like that.’
If you retaliated or were rude back then apologize, give them a hug and then leave it. But if you managed to stay calm, tell them you expect them to make amends by helping you for 20 minutes – and if you can, choose a job you can do side by side, working together. While they’re helping you, be friendly, and happy and chatty. Don’t treat it as a punishment; treat it as a time to reconnect with them. Once they’re done, the matter’s finished. So, don’t mention the rudeness again.

So, if your teenager is rude, 3 things you can do are:

  1. Get the family to agree that everyone will speak respectfully and decide penalties.
  2. Tell them it’s not ok when they’re rude.
  3. And if they are rude, later talk to your child and do a job together to make up.

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If you need more than three tips on this – or you’d like to discover the secrets you need to have happy well-behaved, children – please contact me by clicking here. You can arrange a free 20-minute (no obligation) chat to find out if working with me personally (by phone, Skype or face-to-face) would help you and your family. Contact Elizabeth

child behavioural expert
The author:

Elizabeth O’Shea is a parenting specialist child behaviour expert and one of the leading parenting experts in the UK.

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