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If your teens don't respect you. . .


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#1 Jean in Newcastle

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 06:37 PM

how does a parent gain that respect? I'm not at this place in my parenting but I've been asked this many times. I would like to be able to suggest some answers to people or resources or something. I expect that it would be hard to gain or regain it in the teens but I can't imagine that it would be impossible. And I'm not so naive to think that it could never apply to our family.

#2 Barry Goldwater

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 07:00 PM

how does a parent gain that respect? I'm not at this place in my parenting but I've been asked this many times. I would like to be able to suggest some answers to people or resources or something. I expect that it would be hard to gain or regain it in the teens but I can't imagine that it would be impossible. And I'm not so naive to think that it could never apply to our family.


IMHO it's difficult to do...kind of a barn door/horse thing.

But. If I was asked this, I would suggest:

Projecting respect as an example for my teens
Holding myself to a similar standard of behavior that I desire for a teen
Being perfectly consistent in discipline/house rules
Admitting personal errors, being willing to apologize to the teen if I was in the wrong on some issue.
Asking my spouse to pro-actively project respect to me.

I guess it boils down to 'modeling.' More is caught than taught, after all. That'd be my advice, FWIW.

#3 NayfiesMama

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 07:04 PM

It's very hard :( And, I have to say that some parents have easier kids than others, and some of the easier kids... have it worse when their kids are older... :( Open Communication, with realistic expectations. I was often upset when I was younger, without verbalizing it. My daughter openly communicates in ways that I don't care for; I'm wondering in the end... which is worse?? :(

Lots of prayer for how to love... even when you aren't happy with their attitude.... :( Prayer that God will soften their hearts..... and let healing of whatever their frustration and pain is... and realizing that we're all responsible for our own actions... even young adults. :(

#4 LibraryLover

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 07:12 PM

tmi

Edited by LibraryLover, 09 February 2011 - 11:27 AM.


#5 LizzyBee

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 07:22 PM

I think respect has to be earned rather than demanded. Nothing will kill a teen's respect faster than a parent who yells things like, "You will respect me because I'm your parent!" Um, no they won't.

I treat my teens like young adults who are smart, capable, and mature. Most of the time, they live up to that.

Last weekend, I was at a party with people who were putting down teens and saying things like, "They just think they're adults." I just cringed. I think if we treat teens like immature brats, they will behave that way.

Of course, there's no formula and plenty of good parents have issues with their teens. But I think treating our kids and teens with respect can improve the odds of having teens who are respectful, wise, and have a good relationship with their parents.

#6 Barb_

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 07:27 PM

IMHO it's difficult to do...kind of a barn door/horse thing.


:iagree: I was going to say, "Start when they are toddlers." Barring that, laughing with them, regularly asking for their opinions, having conversations about topics other than praise, criticism or direction, and generally developing an attachment with your teens will help to ensure they avoid hurting you with disrespect. Let them know you value them. Never let them overhear you complain about them. I tell mine often that teenagers are my reward for working so hard during the younger years.

#7 Jean in Newcastle

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 07:32 PM

:iagree: I was going to say, "Start when they are toddlers." Barring that, laughing with them, regularly asking for their opinions, having conversations about topics other than praise, criticism or direction, and generally developing an attachment with your teens will help to ensure they avoid hurting you with disrespect. Let them know you value them. Never let them overhear you complain about them. I tell mine often that teenagers are my reward for working so hard during the younger years.


I do agree with you. But I think it would be a sort of slap in the face to say "start when they are toddlers" to someone who is having trouble now with their teens. And I don't know, perhaps they had started when they were toddlers and something happened to derail that or they hadn't then but see the need for a better strategy now.

#8 LibraryLover

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 07:32 PM

I think this (bolded) is very important. Dh & I talk about this a lot together. It's important to be a thoughtful & respectful.

:iagree: I was going to say, "Start when they are toddlers." Barring that, laughing with them, regularly asking for their opinions, having conversations about topics other than praise, criticism or direction, and generally developing an attachment with your teens will help to ensure they avoid hurting you with disrespect. Let them know you value them. Never let them overhear you complain about them.


Edited by LibraryLover, 09 February 2011 - 11:27 AM.


#9 amy g.

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 07:36 PM

I had a somewhat opposite problem in that I was not being respectful to my teenage son.

One day, I realized that I was just afraid, because he is a boy, and my brother and all of my male cousins all ended up in trouble.

I somehow thought that being extra critical and controlling was going to save him.


I wrote him a letter telling him how wrong I was to treat him that way, and that I was not only disrespecting him, but also God for not honoring the beautiful gift that God has given me.

It has been over a year, and our relationship has been very close since then.

#10 Barb_

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 07:36 PM

I do agree with you. But I think it would be a sort of slap in the face to say "start when they are toddlers" to someone who is having trouble now with their teens. And I don't know, perhaps they had started when they were toddlers and something happened to derail that or they hadn't then but see the need for a better strategy now.


No, no...I agree with you. I would never come right out and say that, but I"d be thinking it. Privately acknowledging that it is really difficult to begin developing a mutual attachment/respect once the teen years hit if the groundwork hasn't already been laid.

Barb

#11 Laurie4b

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 07:45 PM

how does a parent gain that respect? I'm not at this place in my parenting but I've been asked this many times. I would like to be able to suggest some answers to people or resources or something. I expect that it would be hard to gain or regain it in the teens but I can't imagine that it would be impossible. And I'm not so naive to think that it could never apply to our family.


I think parents earn respect when they act respectably and respectfully.

I would suggest:

Honestly acknowledging, apologizing for, and repenting of their own disrespectful behaviors (either showing disrespect for themselves or their teens) is a good way to start.

Acting respectably, keeping calm, acting maturely, responding to immature teen behavior with mature adult behavior (rather than immature adult behavior), letting go of the need to control while holding firmly to necessary boundaries only; walk your talk

Respecting the teen: acknowledging the points a teen makes during a conflict, giftedness, ability to make their own choices and to choose their own destiny (like it or not, they have the power to choose); asking the teen's opinion & listening

Loving without smothering; encouraging, cheer-leading, praying for, reaching out to the teen without strings attached

Being patient: respect, like trust, is earned back brick by brick once lost

Edited by Laurie4b, 08 February 2011 - 08:22 PM.


#12 LibraryLover

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 07:51 PM

I agree. I think there is a lot we can't figure out. I certainly didn't start when they were toddlers. When they were that little, I was absolutely the beck and call girl, and my dh was the fetch guy.

We were absolutely *not* tough. Both of us were as far as you could get from tough. No tiger mom or lion dad here. We slept with those kids , never put one in time out, I nursed them forever etc. Our kids didn't even sleep until their own beds until they were 3+, and mostly +++++.

I can delete my posts. I participated when I should not have, given the original question. I'm sorry.

I think there is a lot to be said for personality meshes.

I do agree with you. But I think it would be a sort of slap in the face to say "start when they are toddlers" to someone who is having trouble now with their teens. And I don't know, perhaps they had started when they were toddlers and something happened to derail that or they hadn't then but see the need for a better strategy now.


Edited by LibraryLover, 08 February 2011 - 10:29 PM.


#13 Jean in Newcastle

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 07:59 PM

I can delete my posts. I participated when I should not have, given the original question. I'm sorry.

I think there is a lot to be said for personality meshes.


Oh I don't think that anyone needs to delete any posts! I'm just thinking through how I would approach with someone who's in a position of frustration and despair since that is often the feelings of the people who talk to me who are facing this.

#14 Liz CA

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 08:22 PM

IMHO, it's imperative to treat a teen like a person who has a right to their opinion but still must voice it appropriately. Freedom (to a certain degree) is dependent on reliability and conduct.
I think this is so sad because lots of teens are so angry at their parents, think their parents never cared because both of them worked and that it's all about making money - this is what I have been told anyway.
It's much more difficult convincing a teen that you care "all of a sudden" than a toddler and it's even more difficult to teach a teen manners that a toddler / child never learned - but I am not saying it cannot be done. Try and try again. Be honest, firm and uphold standards of conduct, enforce what you can enforce, apologize to your teens when necessary and talk to them.

#15 jld

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 08:29 PM

I had a somewhat opposite problem in that I was not being respectful to my teenage son.

One day, I realized that I was just afraid, because he is a boy, and my brother and all of my male cousins all ended up in trouble.

I somehow thought that being extra critical and controlling was going to save him.


I wrote him a letter telling him how wrong I was to treat him that way, and that I was not only disrespecting him, but also God for not honoring the beautiful gift that God has given me.

It has been over a year, and our relationship has been very close since then.


Thanks so much for sharing this!:)

#16 jld

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 08:37 PM

I think parents earn respect when they act respectably and respectfully.

I would suggest:

Honestly acknowledging, apologizing for, and repenting of their own disrespectful behaviors (either showing disrespect for themselves or their teens) is a good way to start.

Acting respectably, keeping calm, acting maturely, responding to immature teen behavior with mature adult behavior (rather than immature adult behavior), letting go of the need to control while holding firmly to necessary boundaries only; walk your talk

Respecting the teen: acknowledging the points a teen makes during a conflict, giftedness, ability to make their own choices and to choose their own destiny (like it or not, they have the power to choose); asking the teen's opinion & listening

Loving without smothering; encouraging, cheer-leading, praying for, reaching out to the teen without strings attached

Being patient: respect, like trust, is earned back brick by brick once lost


:iagree:

Assume it's your fault. Be humble. Really search your heart for what you could have done differently, so it doesn't happen again with your younger kids. Be open to truthful criticism from other people.

After you've apologized, and have truly sought to be a better parent, continue to humbly be open to truthful criticism, and make better choices.

Who can do the above? Probably only people who really want their relationship with their teens to improve, and their teens to have stable futures.

Sorry, that is just what I really think.

#17 Faithr

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 09:23 PM

If someone needed advice on how to regain their teens' respect, I'd give them the book Hold Onto To Your Kids.

#18 Peela

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 12:40 AM

Sometimes we have that issue with one of our kids, but it is easy for me to see where the roots are. Sometimes not so easy for the other parent.

I think its worth looking to see why there is no (or little) respect.
Is it because boundaries were too loose, or perhaps too tight?
Is it because enough time wasnt taken to really listen to the child, or now teen?
Why was respect lost? Did the parent stay rigid and not stay open to being wrong, to apologising when they lost their temper etc? Is the parent too serious and cant laugh at themselves? Can the parent bear to listen to some teen music in order to connect with the teen, or will the parent stay in their parent box?

Teenagers respect integrity, they respect apologies, and they respect sincere attempts to connect with them on their own level.

I am finding that having teenagers can be very humbling because i am honestly not always right, not always a good parent, I don't always listen, and sometimes I make mistakes. My teens notice all these things and unless I am willing to stay humble and human, they lose respect when I hold them accountable to where they go wrong.

As my teens get older I am letting go of "you must" and "you should" and am learning to ask, as I would wish to be asked...."would you be willing to....?". I am free with hugs and welcome homes, and make time every day, especially now that they are out of the home much more, to connect.

One of the things i learned with homeschooling that i have valued so much is to remember to put people and my relationship with my kids before things and responsibilities and right and wrongs. Connection and "keeping their heart" is first. I think that could be a priority if one has "lost their heart" for any reason. Connect back heart to heart first, and dont break the trust, because its hard to build any healthy relationship without that first.

#19 Jean in Newcastle

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 12:45 AM

Sometimes we have that issue with one of our kids, but it is easy for me to see where the roots are. Sometimes not so easy for the other parent.

I think its worth looking to see why there is no (or little) respect.
Is it because boundaries were too loose, or perhaps too tight?
Is it because enough time wasnt taken to really listen to the child, or now teen?
Why was respect lost? Did the parent stay rigid and not stay open to being wrong, to apologising when they lost their temper etc? Is the parent too serious and cant laugh at themselves? Can the parent bear to listen to some teen music in order to connect with the teen, or will the parent stay in their parent box?

Teenagers respect integrity, they respect apologies, and they respect sincere attempts to connect with them on their own level.

I am finding that having teenagers can be very humbling because i am honestly not always right, not always a good parent, I don't always listen, and sometimes I make mistakes. My teens notice all these things and unless I am willing to stay humble and human, they lose respect when I hold them accountable to where they go wrong.

As my teens get older I am letting go of "you must" and "you should" and am learning to ask, as I would wish to be asked...."would you be willing to....?". I am free with hugs and welcome homes, and make time every day, especially now that they are out of the home much more, to connect.

One of the things i learned with homeschooling that i have valued so much is to remember to put people and my relationship with my kids before things and responsibilities and right and wrongs. Connection and "keeping their heart" is first. I think that could be a priority if one has "lost their heart" for any reason. Connect back heart to heart first, and dont break the trust, because its hard to build any healthy relationship without that first.


Wonderful advice, Peela. Thank you.

#20 BMW

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 01:51 AM

I didn't read everything, but wanted to share... because I've dealt with a lot of disrespect from both my children and my stepsons...

What it comes down to, for me, is.. you cannot control the attitude of others. Respect, in my opinion, has a lot to do with attitude. Feelings often times get involved with respect.

I've been really working diligently in my home to create an atmosphere that I really want to have... and it is an uphill battle.

First, I start with myself and model what I want. Too many times have I said, "Can you say the same thing in a nice way?" Then later I find myself saying something much too severe or even... rude.

Secondly, I have been practicing a method (The Total Transformation) with the children. Basically, they are now old enough to completely understand the rules and expectations. The method boils down to a few keys:

Stop explaining and taking excuses... state what you expect and do not engage in arguing.

Next, learn ways to use what your child wants and what you expect... make them "work together". Just yesterday it went like this: "You want some more freedom to ride your bike in an extended area... and I want you to talk nicely to your brother in the mornings (a time of terrible attitudes between two brothers, often the fault of the boy who I am speaking to). So, each morning that you get ready for school and do not speak rudely to your brother or fight with him, you may ride your bike in this extended area in your free time after school. Give me what I want and I will give you what you want." And... many times... it works.

Sometimes, as much as I hate it, I have to ignore the comments, sighs or facial expressions. I don't like them one bit. But, we are all human and I sigh sometimes... I give quite a "dissatisfied" look... I even have a sharp comment from time to time. And no one is behind me saying, "That is just not appropriate. Stop it! You have 30 seconds to change your attitude!" So, I state what I need to and walk away. The teen/child is responsible for his own attitude and actions.

Another thing that I have learned that has really helped is... feelings do not improve behavior... behavior does improve feelings. My boys can get lots of love and good feelings, and as soon as they have to do this or that, there goes the attitude and feelings! But, when they behave... when they choose to do what is right... then they are proud of themselves and feel real accomplishment.

I hope a bit of my pouring this out helps. I really do have a battle every day with respect... What I've shared is what I am working through and doing at the time. Some days it is terrific!

#21 Jean in Newcastle

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 01:55 AM

I hope a bit of my pouring this out helps. I really do have a battle every day with respect... What I've shared is what I am working through and doing at the time. Some days it is terrific!


It does help. Thank you, Bee.

#22 Chris in VA

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 08:12 AM

It is what I consider my most utter failing, to have lost the respect of my middle son. It is still a raw place, and we are all still trying to figure out where everything went so wrong.

Right now, we are in a place of some denial purely for survival--but what I've learned, I can share.

As parents, we did a lot right. I stayed home instead of working (did work part-time for a while, but my boys came with me until school age), so we didn't have that "two parent working, kids in daycare" thing that is so often thrown out there as a reason for "detachment." We had strong boundaries, but also a kind relationship with the boys. We did things together as a family.

And, we did a lot more wrong than I thought. Dh, tho he didn't mean to, was both a playmate and a disciplinarian--too little middle ground. He participated in lots of fun activities, like hiking, playing catch, swimming, going to the park, etc., but as they became older, HE was still making the decisions as to what they'd do, with little input from them. He also was too stern in disciplining, sometimes being intimidating (they usually didn't see that side of him, but when something serious came up, he'd be very stern--never yelling, but just something about it--they didn't want to make him mad).

Me, I was too lax in my personal disciplines--ate too much, didn't do enough to make our house clean, etc. I was not respected by my son because I was lazy. He didn't realize I was battling depression, but that's still no excuse. I was also too afraid to make consequences stick--too soft.

We also lost his heart over religious differences. He is an atheist who briefy dabbled in ugly stuff--all as a reaction to seeing his dad be too busy at work. Me, probably, too, at church. He saw hypocrisy in our congregation, esp with drinking by adults.

Anyway, this is too long--

Basically,
Deal with your own stuff so your teens, who have a good sense of justice, can see you trying to do what you ask them to do. Model grace to yourself and to them.

Stick to consequences--get comfortable with their temporary and necessary discomfort, because they need to grow, and need to know that there is a negative (hopefully natural, but always reasonable) consequence for neg behaviour.

Do things together, with input from them. Do not be over controlling. Recognize the difference that comes as they age--Parenting littles is often by control, to a certain extent. Parenting bigs is more by relationship--more choice on their part (even tho there's certainly overlap, but more talking and more negotiation as they get more capable of doing so).

GET COUNSELING and TALK>

Disrespect often is NOT a first sign that something is wrong. Unless it's just the sassy, trying out a different persona that often happens around 11 or 12, it's often a sign that there was a hurt that didn't heal, and that hurt can drive disrespect. Disrespect often happens when a teen has tried to bond, but has been rebuffed.

#23 Heigh Ho

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 08:39 AM

how does a parent gain that respect? I'm not at this place in my parenting but I've been asked this many times. I would like to be able to suggest some answers to people or resources or something. I expect that it would be hard to gain or regain it in the teens but I can't imagine that it would be impossible. And I'm not so naive to think that it could never apply to our family.


The disrespect comes when the child feels he has been mistreated, not necessarily by the person he is not respecting. It could just be a coming of age realization, or circumstances outside the home. Parents in conflict also contribute to disrespect. The child is angry and wants revenge and maybe power.


One gains respect by giving respect and keeping the lines of communication open. One does not control the teen's every move and the parenting style is authoritative, not authoritarian. If the teen is being disrespectful, one reacts to it the same way as any other negative behavior - calmly, objectively and certainly not being disrespectful in return. A good opener is "I don't think I deserve that. What's really on your mind?"

The resources that helped my child were "7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens" and "The 6 Most Important Decisions You'll Ever Make".

Edited by Heigh Ho, 09 February 2011 - 08:55 AM.


#24 jld

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 08:41 AM

A good opener is "I don't think I deserve that. What's really on your mind?"


I like: "I feel hurt when I hear that. Did I hurt you in some way that I haven't realized?"

I also think control-based approaches are bound to fail.

#25 Jean in Newcastle

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 11:59 AM

I really appreciate all the replies. It has given me much to think about - not only about how to answer the questions of those who come to me but also about how I interact with my young teen now and in the future.


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