Teens with ADHD

6 Ways to Deal with Your Teen’s Rude and Disrespectful Behavior

Your child’s lying, pushback, and disrespectful behavior is almost always more than meets the eye.

Disrespectful behavior from your child is a signal, says Sharon Saline, Psy.D. Getting curious about what’s triggering that warning signal is Step One in dealing with lying, pushback, and rudeness.

  • Look underneath your child’s words and behaviors. Oppositional behavior often masks other emotions such as anxiety, depression, poor self-esteem, confusion, boredom, fear, and frustration. Many kids with ADHD will resort to lying as a form of coping; impulsivity and poor self-regulation skills sometimes make them do things they regret, and rather than dealing with those things directly, they’ll deny their actions. Avoid addressing these surface behaviors in the moment — expect that your child will act out at times. Opt to come back to the topic later when emotions have cooled.
  • Establish doable routines. How can your child’s routines change to increase their confidence and decrease frustrations that cause problematic behaviors?

[Get This Free Download: A 2-Week Guide to Ending Defiant Behavior]

  • Manage your own feelings. Provocative behaviors from your child can trigger reactivity on your part and escalate the situation. To manage reactivity and avoid saying things you don’t mean, ask yourself, “Why am I talking now?” There are times when it makes more sense to stay silent and listen rather than get into it.
  • Set up a “take-back-of-the-day” system where everyone in the family has a chance for a redo. This practice helps address impulsivity, and it also gives your family the opportunity to practice forgiveness.
  • Rely on natural and logical consequences. When you stand in the rain, you get wet. When you begin a huge school project the night before it’s due, you may get a poor grade. Your punishments and threats won’t do much to change your child’s behaviors, but natural and logical consequences will because they empower your child.
  • Set clear and appropriate expectations. Expectations should fit the child you have, what they can do, and what they can almost do. Avoid focusing on goals that are barely reachable for your child.

Watch Dr. Saline’s ADHD Experts webinar, “Motivating the Unmotivated: Strategies for Middle and High School Students with ADHD,” for more insights on teen behavior challenges.

Rude and Disrespectful Behavior in Teens: Next Steps

Since 1998, ADDitude has worked to provide ADHD education and guidance through webinars, newsletters, community engagement, and its groundbreaking magazine. To support ADDitude’s mission, please consider subscribing. Your readership and support help make our content and outreach possible. Thank you.