I’m pretty sure that most parents can tolerate their kid being a smart arse some of the time. It’s probably not unreasonable to make occasional allowances for over-tiredness, hormones and adolescent stress BUT some kids seem to push those buttons more than you’re prepared for and that can make the going tough.

the eyeroll

There is no joy in constantly copping a gobful from a teen. None. In fact, it’s one of the major frustrations parents tend to have with their adolescent and begs the question …. why so rude …. all the time?….. {now visualise parent slapping forehead ..}

Where does attitude come from?

In my time I’ve seen some fairly mouthy and expert-eye-rolling teens errupt from meek, mild and quiet families.  Mum and Dad, horrified by what spews from their kid’s mouth question where such attitude came from …

One reason a teen may deliver rude, sarcastic and smart-arse comments is because they haven’t yet mastered a more appropriate means of expressing themselves. Resorting to curt and rude responses can mask the confusion they have between knowing what they “want” to say and the best “way” to communicate it clearly.

Remember too, that today’s kids are exposed to media which at times glorifies disrespect. Miley Cyrus and her recent (disturbing) twerking antics are a well-documented example of this. There are many popular TV shows, websites and social media apps which suggest, accept and even encourage adolescents to be smart-arses. It doesn’t take much for a kid to blur the line between what’s entertainment and what’s not socially appropriate.

Sometimes, it’s just the way they choose to behave.

The easy mistake …

Being consistent isn’t easy when it comes to dealing with a mouthy teen, but it is crucial. Sometimes letting a behaviour slide, and then at other times pulling it up, will lead your teen to want to push those buttons much more frequently. Despite often arguing against clear expectations, teenagers crave boundaries and will pounce on any wavering. Consistency is the biggie here.

Your reaction …

If the behaviour is merely frustrating and annoying, then try super hard not to show how cranky it makes you. The less power you give this type of behaviour, the quicker it will extinguish itself.

Teens loooove pushing their parents’ buttons – actually it’s their favourite sport – and coming in with big guns blazing as your response to a mildly annoying behaviour will only give it power and strength. Try not to.

Decide your limits, however, and be very clear on what you’ll let through to the keeper and what level of disrespect requires your attention.

Of course, anything bordering on abuse is beyond the scope of what I’m talking about here.

  • keep your cool and don’t let them see rustled feathers (unless the disrespect is abusive)
  • be consistent so they have no doubt when they’ve overstepped the line
  • walk away if needed and don’t re-engage in conversation until you’re completely calm
  • a return smart-arse comment from you, will not help the situation at all. Avoid.


Does your kid have a mouth and a half sometimes? What strategy have you found most successful?

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Flogging with Grace  this fabbo Friday – head over to FYBF for some awesome reading linked up!
photo credit: Camera Eye Photography via photopin cc

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