How to Respond to Sassy Teens

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How to Respond to Sassy Teens
How to Respond to Sassy Teens

One of the hardest things about parenting is watching your sweet little son who used to adore you transform into an insolent teenager with a brusque demeanor. Your teenager can make you very angry, but it is important that you have a concrete plan to punish bad behavior and encourage a good one if you want to have a peaceful home. Instead of losing your patience, use this article for tips for responding to your teen's disrespectful attitude.


Part 1 of 4: Calm the situation in the moment

Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 1
Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 1

Step 1. Don't raise your voice

Studies show that yelling at a teenager actually makes their behavior worse, no matter how much you may think they deserve it. It may feel good in the short term, but parenting is about improving your children's behavior, not making you feel good. Don't allow yourself to yell back at him no matter how difficult it is, even if your teenager yells at you with all his might.

Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 2
Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 2

Step 2. Try to keep the teen calm

A person does not feel well being yelled at, even if they remain calm. You also need to break your child's habit of raising his voice to you before he begins to think that it is acceptable behavior.

  • Be understanding of your child and explain why there is no use yelling if it is a relatively new behavior. Say, "I understand that you are upset, but yelling does nothing more than upset us both. The more angry we are, the less likely we will have a happy ending."
  • Be more assertive if it is repetitive behavior. Say, "I will try my best to never raise my voice to you no matter how upset I am. I expect the same courtesy from you."
  • Set firm, strict limits in a confident tone if your teen has a habit of being insolent with you. Say, "I don't know what you think you're going to achieve by being sarcastic with me. In the end, I'm still your father, and you have to watch your tone and lower your voice before I double down on your punishment."
Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 3
Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 3

Step 3. Think before you speak

Everyone can remember a time when they were upset with someone without first thinking about what they were saying. Usually they regret it right away. Take a few seconds to resolve your immediate reaction of frustration or anger before responding to your child. He acts for an out of control emotional reason, but it is up to you as an adult and parent to speak reasonably.

Don't worry about expressing your frustration, but instead focus on what you can say that truly elicits your child's desired behavior

Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 4
Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 4

Step 4. Breathe

Taking a few minutes deep breaths can help to control your breathing and heart rate. You can achieve a calmer mindset by consciously reducing the physical symptoms of agitation. Counting to ten is a useful tool, although it may take longer to get yourself under control.

Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 5
Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 5

Step 5. Remove yourself from the situation

You need to take a break from the conversation and ask your teen to do the same if your reaction is so pronounced that taking a deep breath and counting to ten doesn't work. Do something that relieves stress while you calm down, such as reading a book, knitting, cooking, lying down, and closing your eyes; do what you have to do to feel better.

  • "I'm so upset right now that I can speak calmly, just like you. I'm worried that we'll make hurtful comments, so we need to take a break."
  • "I love you too much, but I think we have to part ways for fifteen minutes before continuing with this discussion."
  • "Let's go to our rooms and calm down. When I feel ready to speak, I will wait for you in the living room, and you will do the same if you calm down before I do."
  • The conversation should not resume until both of you have calmed down emotionally.
Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 6
Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 6

Step 6. Don't incriminate yourself

Use the first person instead of the second when speaking. When emotions run high, hearing the word "you" over and over will make anyone feel attacked, and that's not what you want. Try to make your teenager understand how his words and actions make life difficult for the people around him, including you, instead of attacking him for his bad attitude. For example, try saying:

  • "I feel bad when you talk to me this way", instead of "You have a bad attitude."
  • "I get tired of working and cleaning up everyone's mess in the house," instead of "You never clean up your mess."
  • "Your parent is going through a difficult time right now," rather than "You have to be nicer to your parent."
Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 7
Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 7

Step 7. Anticipate trouble periods

Pay attention to situations that seem to elicit the worst behavior from your teen. Your teen may be more irritable right after school, but calm down after having a snack or nap. You may react more when you have a lot of work at school or when you fight with a friend or partner.

  • You have an opportunity to give her more leeway or to proactively decrease her stress by being alert to situations that encourage your teen's worst behavior.
  • Be proactive in making her life easier: pack snacks in the kitchen after school, help her with her homework, etc.
Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 8
Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 8

Step 8. Don't take their comments personally

While it is true that it is very difficult to watch your child go from being a sweet and loving child to being an aggressive teenager, you have to remember that to some degree, his insolent attitude has nothing to do with you. A healthy child will begin to develop a surprising new awareness that adults are not infallible, including their parents, which happens in early early adolescence (between the ages of twelve and fourteen). As your child struggles to reconcile what he has always thought of you with the new understanding that you are a flawed human being, it is very normal for him to erupt in anger from time to time before learning how to respect you as an adult.

Remember that it is not just your child. Talk to your friends who have children around the same age and you will see that all teenagers act alike

Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 9
Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 9

Step 9. Change your perspective on the behavior

Bad behavior is a child is outrageous and it is very difficult to overcome the frustration you feel deservedly. However, it will be much easier for you to stay calm if you try to view the experience from their perspective. Remember your own adolescence. Chances are, you made some hurtful comments to your parents. Some things to remember about your life from the point of view of your adolescence are:

  • Egocentricity or the belief that your interpretation of the situation is the only possible and correct interpretation is a normal part of cognitive development.
  • Your child's brain develops the ability to overcome self-centeredness, but this process is not over yet. For example, when he was three years old, he would stand in front of the television and did not understand that just because he could watch television did not mean that other people could see through his body. As a teenager, you have grown up and over that, but there are still some things to overcome.
  • The brain of a teenager develops in a way that allows him to understand the abstract in a new way and for the first time. Injustices seem to be everywhere, but without the wisdom that comes from life experience and without the cognitive ability to resolve the logical repercussions of your abstract thinking.
  • Because of this, teens become incredibly angry over issues that seem insignificant from an adult perspective. However, remember that their brains continue to develop important cognitive functions that allow them to see as you, as an adult, over time.

Part 2 of 4: Establish repercussions

Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 10
Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 10

Step 1. Don't ignore the behavior

While it is true that parenthood is a deadly daily dictate, there is a difference between staying calm and allowing your teen to go unpunished for misbehavior. Although you don't want to fight with your child whenever he mumbles or rolls his eyes, you should engage him in discussions frequently to send a clear message that such behavior is inappropriate.

  • Decide what behaviors you will tolerate and which ones you will resolve.
  • One method may be to allow nonverbal rudeness, such as excessive sighing and grimacing, as you resolve the insolent verbal retort.
Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 11
Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 11

Step 2. Be clear about your expectations

Your teen won't be able to stay within your boundaries if they don't have a clear sense of what they are when it comes to family interactions. Creating an explicit, written contract about the repercussions for responding insolently and for other misbehavior is a good way to set limits. Even though the confrontation is strenuous, it is very important that you be a verbal communicator when your child violates the contract. Be explicit about what your teen's behavior or language crosses the line between acceptable behavior and problematic disrespect. For instance:

  • Say "There is no problem with you telling me that you are too tired to clean your room. I understand that you have a lot of school work. However, raising your voice to me is not acceptable, and will only cause me to give you punishment every time you act like this. ".
  • Say, "You may not be able to control your grimaces with your eyes, but you can control raising your voice and being sarcastic. That crosses the line of acceptable."
  • Say "I respect that you are distressed by the fact that I punish you; I would feel that way too. However, even though I am upset with you now, I have not insulted you. You have permission to be upset with me, but you cannot use disrespectful language.".
Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 12
Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 12

Step 3. Give regular and predictable punishments for bad behavior

Your adolescent will not get the clear message about the repercussions of his insolent way of responding if you accidentally apply punishments. Explain to your child what repercussions will come for bad behavior so that he knows exactly what will happen when he does so. For example, tell him:

  • "I understand that you are young and that sometimes you lose your patience. However, we will cut your allowance in half if you raise your voice to us twice in a week."
  • "Using insults in this house will cause you to be punished on the weekend; there are no excuses."
Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 13
Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 13

Step 4. Always comply with the application of punishments

You may think that you will spend all day imposing punishments if you comply with the application of repercussions whenever your teenager acts bad, but no one said parenting would be easy! You will send confusing messages to your teenager if you apply punishments irregularly by letting him go unpunished for his behavior sometimes and by punishing him at other times. Teens are hardwired to challenge limits, so they must be firm.

  • "You know very well that raising your voice twice in the house will reduce your allowance. Control your temper now or you know what will happen."
  • "Promising that you will not respond insolently to me again does not change the fact that you did it just now. You know what the repercussions of your behavior are. It is up to you to control yourself from the start."
Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 14
Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 14

Step 5. Don't negotiate without good reason

You can postpone their punishment until next weekend if your teenager does something that causes him to be punished during prom. After all, you want him to learn a lesson, not miss out on important life experiences. In general, don't be in the habit of allowing your teen to negotiate with you about normal repercussions. Wanting to go to the mall with your friends is not such a special occasion that it warrants breaking the established rules for acceptable behavior.

Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 15
Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 15

Step 6. Assign some productive tasks as repercussions

Punishing your teenager and letting him disturb his room will not necessarily improve his behavior. Some teens may actually enjoy quiet time lounging around in their room. Instead, he uses his punishment as an opportunity to instill some life lessons. For instance:

  • "I understand that you are upset about not getting the video game you want, but you have to learn that there is a difference between what you earn and what you deserve. All people deserve a roof, clothing, food and love from her family, but not even all people have that. We're going to volunteer together at a soup kitchen this weekend to get an idea of how much you have and what you should be grateful for. "
  • "I don't think you understand how hurtful your words can be, so your punishment will be to write an essay about the history of slander in this country. Prove to me that you understand the power of words."
  • "I think you have a problem communicating with me in a productive way. I want you to write me a letter about what you think about this and spend some time getting it right by using respectful language."
Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 16
Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 16

Step 7. Remove privileges when necessary

Be prepared for an argument if you decide to take away something your teen values, but doing so is the most effective way to show that certain behaviors will not be tolerated. The privilege you take from him will depend on your teenager. Consider what you value most and what you are least willing to give up in the future.

  • For example, you can take away the car, cell phone, laptop, television, etc.
  • Set a specific date to prohibit you from a certain privilege; the return of this will depend on good behavior in the meantime.
  • Tell your child, "The next time you act like this, you will lose this privilege for X more days. The punishment will increase each time you act like this."

Part 3 of 4: Encourage Better Behavior

Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 17
Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 17

Step 1. Reward good behavior

Don't expect him to bother you before discussing his behavior. When your teenager does something that makes you proud or makes your life easier, like washing dishes without asking, defending a classmate who has been assaulted, etc., reward him more quickly than punish him when he disappoints you.

  • A sincere thank you with a hug and a kiss will keep your teen acting in a way that makes him or her feel especially loved and appreciated.
  • Sometimes, you may need to give a special treat if your teen is very good at reacting well in a stressful situation or goes a long time without responding to you insolently.
  • Some examples of positive rewards are buying him something he wants (a video game), enrolling him in some lessons he wants (tennis, guitar, etc.), taking him on an outing (to a sporting event), or allowing him to go on an outing where normally he would not be allowed to go (a concert with his friends).
Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 18
Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 18

Step 2. Bribe him for good behavior, but do it thoughtfully

The research on bribing children into good behavior is polarized. Some argue that it is a good way to develop positive habits, while others indicate that it causes children to behave appropriately only when a reward is promised. Bribery can work well, but only if you think hard about the message you send to your child.

  • Don't label it as a bribe. For example, you can give your child a regular allowance that will be restricted if he talks disrespectfully to you.
  • That way, you won't see it as a bribe for your good behavior, but rather as a repercussion for your bad behavior. Instead of teaching him to see good behavior as something that is rewarded from time to time, he will see bad behavior as something that is punished.
Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 19
Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 19

Step 3. Be a good listener

Your teen's problems may seem trivial compared to those of an adult, but your teen will be less aggressive towards you if you show him that you care about the things that upset him. Find some ways to connect with your teen about normal teen problems:

  • "I remember how hard it was to stay awake at school when I was your age. Heck, I still have a hard time staying awake at work now. Your grades are dropping though, so let me share with you a few tricks I have used to make sure I have energy during the day. "
  • "There is nothing worse than feeling like your friends are talking behind your back. Tell me how you deal with it."
Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 20
Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 20

Step 4. Be a good role model

Think about how you act in front of your child. Do you make faces or fight with your partner in front of your child? If so, you teach him to believe that such behavior is acceptable. Children learn by imitating the behavior of those around them. While it is true that you cannot always control the behavior of other people around him (at school, on television, etc.), you can control the behavior that you present to him.

Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 21
Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 21

Step 5. Eat meals together as a family

Between work, homework, friends, the internet and television, it can be difficult to gather all family members to the table for dinner, but studies have repeatedly shown that regular family meals are an indicator. proven desirable behavior in children of all ages. Therefore, prioritize family meals.

  • Use that time to ask your child what is happening in his day and what ails him.
  • This is a way of allowing him to vent his frustrations in a way that actually allows the bond between father and son.
  • Without these conversations, you will only hear of their frustrations when they pile up, explode, and lead to an argument.

Part 4 of 4: Dealing with Serious Behavior Problems

Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 22
Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 22

Step 1. Coordinate your efforts with other adults

People say that it takes a village to raise a child, and there is a lot of truth in that manifestation. There are many other adults who have contact with your teenager, and they are likely to be mistreated by them. Contact them to coordinate an effort to create limits and express discipline in a systematic way so that your adolescent's attitude problem is curbed.

  • Arrange a meeting with the school counselor to discuss behavior problems your child may have at school and to discuss the action plan to curb such behavior.
  • Talk to your child's teachers individually whenever possible. Work out a system of repercussions to respond insolently, which extends from the home to the classroom and through all of your child's teachers.
  • For example, you can ask teachers to notify you when your child is insolently responsible at school so that you can discipline him through extra chores, punishments, etc. at home.
  • Maintain regular communication with the parents of your child's friend if he or she spends a lot of time at your child's home. Tell them that they can discipline your child as they would theirs for bad behavior at home if you are comfortable with their parenting style and abilities.
Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 23
Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 23

Step 2. Enroll your teenager in a sport

Studies show that playing sports in a structured and oriented way for a long time does more than just keep kids in shape, it also leads to higher grades, a decrease in behavior problems and higher self-esteem. A sports team will also give your teenager a positive authority figure through the coach; a good one will promote healthy social behavior and emotional support that your child might not be willing to come to you for. Also, hopefully the bond created between your child and his teammates will create a sense of belonging and pride, both for the team and for the school, which is related to better concentration and better behavior.

  • Pick a sport that your teenager really enjoys; Forcing your problem child to do something that he dislikes will not improve his behavior.
  • Research the coach before allowing your child to join the team. Set up a meeting to talk with the coach and the parents of the other kids on the team to make sure the coach's goals for character development are the same as yours.
  • Talk to the coach honestly about the problems you have at home with your teenager so that he knows what to expect and can formulate a plan to deal with them.
  • Show interest in your child's participation on the team. Go to every game you can attend and be a vocal supporter. Encourage your son and apologize with him when his team loses.
Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 24
Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 24

Step 3. Attend Family Functional Therapy (FFT) with your child

You, as a parent, must be willing to put in serious effort if you want your adolescent's behavior to improve, even if you think that these problems lie with him alone. The FFT is recommended for families of children between the ages of eleven and eighteen, who demonstrate serious behavior problems, including delinquency and violence. Therapy focuses on five dimensions: engagement, motivation, relational assessment, behavior change, and generalization.

  • Commitment: FFT therapists develop a close relationship with family members and are available to them to a greater degree than non-FFT therapists. The therapist relationship is much more intimate than with other types of therapy.
  • Motivation: The therapist will help redefine the difference between guilt and responsibility, a line that often becomes blurred. The goal is to change the family dynamic by moving from guilt to hope.
  • Relational assessment: the therapist will provide an objective analysis of the dynamics between family members through observation and questioning. It will try to divert the perception of family problems from individual perspectives to a relational perspective, in which they see the connection of the family unit and the way in which they function together, instead of focusing on themselves as an isolated unit in the structure family.
  • Behavior change: The therapist will equip the family with conflict resolution techniques and communication methods that will help resolve bad moods and family problems in a more constructive way.
  • Generalization: A plan will be created to extend what has been learned in the FFT sessions in life, after the therapy.
  • Typically, FFT involves twelve to fourteen sessions that take place over the course of three to five months.
Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 25
Respond to Smart Mouthed Teens Step 25

Step 4. Attend Attachment Based Family Therapy (ABFT) with your child if he or she suffers from parental attachment problems

Attachment theory indicates that the relationship infants develop with their caregivers in the early years of life continues to affect their relationships and behaviors into adolescence and adulthood. It is absurd that you expect your child to solve his attachment problems on his own as a teenager if as a parent you were not able to provide a safe and protective environment in his childhood, even if you are now a better father than you used to be before.

  • ABFT sessions are typically one hour to one hour and a half, plus they are given once a week.
  • It begins with the question "Why don't you (the child) go to the parents in times of crisis or need?"
  • The therapist will meet with family members in a group and through individual sessions.
  • One-on-one sessions will guide the adolescent through difficult childhood memories to deal with and deal with with positive behavior change.
  • Sessions with parents will help them resolve individual attachment problems and how the child experiences those problems.
  • Family sessions will provide a safe space to be honest with each other and create a plan to improve family dynamics moving forward.


  • Teens can make incredibly hurtful comments because they don't consider the consequences. As a parent, it is your responsibility to show your child what consequences can occur when he is rude to people.
  • Stay calm and don't have irrational, violent or impulsive outbursts!
  • Remember that most of the times a teenager responds insolently to you it is due to hormones. Don't take what they say seriously as most of the time they don't mean to.

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