3 ways to earn a teenager’s respect. #family #relationships #parenting

Actions speak louder than words; let your words teach and your actions speak. ~ Anthony of Padua #quote

Actions speak louder than words; let your words teach and your actions speak. ~ Anthony of Padua #quote

Some will bristle at the idea of an adult wanting or needing to earn a teenager’s respect. While it is true that children are to be taught to honor their elders in general, it is a wise adult who realizes that teenagers are watching the details of our behaviors closely. While adults don’t need to be perfect, I find that bettering myself for their sake is a worthwhile challenge.

Show confidence and avoid arrogance. If you lack confidence in yourself as a person or in your role as a mother, father, grandparent, teacher, reverend, etc.,  a teen can smell it a mile away and be tempted to play off of that weakness.  Own the fact that you have been on the planet longer than the teen!  To avoid arrogance, listen to them and expect for them to listen in return.

Be clear about expectations and ask questions. If you are vague or unsure about anything important, teenagers will be tempted to see empty space to fill. Their brains are rigged to get what they want, which may not be in their best interest.  When they seem confused, sneaky, or working around expectations, ask pointed questions. Asking “Where was the confusion about curfew?” goes a long way to solve problems in a respectful manner.

Be direct and observing. Using the plainest language possible, say it like it is. Do it like it is. And call them on their stuff…like it is. Teenagers need reality checks like at no other time in their lives. When they try to sidestep, avoid, deflect, or blame, stand firm and avoid emotional entanglements.  When emotions run high, it is the adult in the room who needs to keep a cool head.  Try observing the situation like a detective looking for clues to help all involved.

Do teenagers treat you with respect?  Why or why not?  How do you earn a teenager’s respect?  I would love to hear your advice!

Wonderful Wednesday to all ~~~~~~~~ Angie Mc

4 thoughts on “3 ways to earn a teenager’s respect. #family #relationships #parenting

    • Excellent point! My sister, who is 8 years younger than me, told me as an adult that when she was a young child she never thought I talked down to her, which made me different than some other older kids and adults. I always thought she was a great, funny, and interesting person (at every age.) Now that we are both adults, we have a great relationship. Thanks so much for commenting CCC 🙂


  1. Good points here. In the middle of a “battle” with a child, it’s sometimes tempting to confuse “like” with “respect” and even “love”. We want to love an teach love. Respect is a respectable goal. The debate rages for example, when discipline of a child is necessary. Tough love is often interpreted by the child with replies of “You don’t live me!” Or “You don’t respect me!” It calls into question our motives.

    Our preparation for those moments are critical, aren’t they?

    Phooey, I loose my temper every now and then, but I’ll bet none of you out there ever do that so please pray for me.

    Nice post. Obviously spawns some thought.


    • Deacon Tom, you made my day! Thank you for commenting and I look forward to further discussions in general and in particular to those about loving children.

      I have several posts on teens racing around my brain! I started with this post because loving a teen takes finesse and if an adult can garner their respect, the rest of the work becomes easier. Should I be firm? Should I let go? Should I be tough? Should I be gentle? Should I ever lose my temper? Notice, I said the work becomes easier, not easy!

      I enjoyed reading your blog post http://tomgotschall.wordpress.com/2013/09/26/random-thoughts-on-being-a-deacon-with-a-young-family/ If I’m counting correctly, we’ve each been married for about the same number of years and we, too, have suffered the loss of miscarriage. Your family picture is beautiful and I can also see that you work with youth. I so value your perspective and hope that our paths continue to cross.

      A blessed Advent to you & yours!


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