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Parenting a Teen Without Respect

by Tiffany Raiford

Respect is a mutual agreement between parents and teens; you cannot respect your teen if she doesn’t respect you. When your teen’s character lacks respect, it likely concerns you, because respect is such a vital tool in life. If your teen doesn’t respect you, it could be because you don’t show her respect, according to the Boys Town site, Parenting.org.

A Parenting Role Model

According to Jim Taylor, Ph.D., adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco and partner of the Triumph Group, when you model respect for your teens, they learn to respect not only you but they learn to respect themselves. When you behave respectfully by respecting yourself, your loved ones and your body, your teen learns to respect you as well. When your teen learns to respect you, he learns to respect himself, making him less likely to use drugs, abuse alcohol and engage in other dangerous behaviors.

Avoid Violence

Whether you’ve actually abused your child or not, you should never resort to threatened, actual or any type of implied violence, advises Parenting.org. For example, if your teen is crying because she just broke up with her boyfriend and you think she’s being overdramatic and ridiculous, don’t tell her that you’ll give her something to cry about. This type of implied violence -- whether you follow through with it or not -- gives your teen the impression that you do not respect her, which means she will not be able to respect you or herself.

Forget Friends: Be a Parent

No matter how many times your teen tells you that his friend’s mom is way cooler than you because she hangs out with him, lets him stay out late or allows him to watch movies of which you may not approve, don’t fall into the trap of being his friend instead of his parent. Your teen will never, ever learn to respect you if you treat him the way his friends treat him, advises Taylor. To earn the respect of your teen, you have to be a parent. You have to look out for his best interests, make rules, set clear expectations and employ tough love when needed.

Don’t Let Disrespect Slide

When raising a teen who doesn’t have any respect, your job is not to hope that she learns to respect you and herself some day. Your job is to correct her disrespectful behavior and acknowledge her respectful behavior if you want her to learn, advises Robyn Silverman, author, parenting educator and public speaker. For example, if you say something and your teen tells you that you’re stupid, call her out on it and enforce a consequence for her disrespect. Ignoring her or letting it slide isn’t teaching her anything, nor is it building her character.

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