Bad Attitude and Negativity

The Parenting Adolescents Web site recently ran a poll where the majority of parents listed attitude as one of the top three concerns for their teens. No matter the reason behind your son's bad attitude, it hurts you as a parent.

Why the Attitude?

Your son may seem to have the attitude that everything you say or do is wrong. He may resist you at every turn. He may just be a naysayer, ignoring everything you propose. This is a common complaint of parents of teen boys. They can't stand the bad attitude and negativity. Many parenting experts say this resistance is all a part of growing up. The attitude represents your son's way of pulling away and resisting your help. He is asserting his independence.

Handling the Attitude

As painful as it is to be on the receiving end, it is important to keep in mind that there really is a purpose. What it boils down to is that parents often feel disrespected when their son is behaving that way.

Fact

Keeping your cool while talking to your son is very important. Staying calm while your son is angry sets a good example for him; he will realize you expect the same behavior from him.

You will need to set rules for your son. Explain that testing the boundaries is normal and expected, but that disrespecting you is not acceptable. Point out how he can “rebel” within these guidelines. For example, you want him to do his homework, and he wants to go out with his friends. He can stomp off, call you names and slam the door, asserting that he will not do his homework. This is unacceptable. Explain that a more reasonable alternative would be to tell you his plan to get his homework done while still finding time for his friends. This allows him to be respectful while asserting his right to do his homework on his schedule. Role-play to help you both understand your positions, and when you disagree in real life, you will both know how to act.

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