How to deal with a disrespectful grown child

In this blog post,  we give you advice on how to deal with a disrespectful grown child.

How to deal with a disrespectful grown child?

We often forget that we are not born with a sense of respect for others. Although each child has a different personality, everyone must learn to be respectful.

From birth, children learn to manipulate the world around them to meet their needs, which is normal.

But it is our duty as parents to show them how to do it in a respectful way.

It is important to remember that your child is not your friend, but your daughter/son.

Your job is to guide them to find their purpose in lives. That means teaching your child to behave respectfully with others, not just you.

A phenomenon that has grown over time: many parents find it difficult to look at their own children realistically.

In some ways, our parents have been less defensive and open to the fact that their children are not “perfect.”

I can’t help but say how important it is to be willing to look at our children in a realistic way, analyzing both their strengths and weaknesses.

This allows you to notice inappropriate behaviour when it occurs and to approach it correctly – without finding excuses or ignoring it.

So how can you change the situation if disrespectful behaviour occurs or is it already a way of life?

Here are 9 things you can do as a parent to start earning the respect of your grown child today.

  1. Your child is not your friend. You don’t have to behave in a way that pleases your child. It is important to train him so that he is able to interact with the world around him. This means teaching him to behave respectfully with others, not just you. 

When you think of your child crossing the line, it would be a good idea to ask yourself, “Would I let my neighbour tell me these things? Would I let a stranger behave like this? ”

If the answer is no, then don’t let your child do it either. 

When your child becomes an adult, your relationship may become more of a friendship, but even then, it is your duty to be his parent: teacher, coach and the one who sets the limits – not the friend who allows anything.

  1. Notice disrespect early and take action. It is a good idea to note disrespectful behaviour as early as possible. If the child is rude, do not close your eyes. Intervene and tell him, “In this family, we don’t talk to each other like that.”  It is very important for the parent, when the child is disrespectful, to recognize this and to take action. This only helps them function as a family in the future.
  1. Agree with your partner. It is very important that you and your partner are on the same wavelength when it comes to the child’s behaviour. Make sure that neither of you allows the child’s disrespectful behaviour while the other tries to intervene. Discuss the limits allowed, then come up with an action plan and a list of consequences if the child breaks the rules.
  1. Teach your child basic skills in interacting with others. It may sound old-fashioned, but it is very important to teach your child basic manners, such as “please” and “thank you.” When the child interacts with teachers at school or has a first job and has these skills to rely on, things will work well in the long run. 

Understanding that using manners – a simple “excuse me” or “thank you” – is also a form of empathy.

It teaches children to respect others and to recognize their impact on those around them.

Come to think of it, disrespectful behaviour is the opposite.

  1. Be respectful when correcting your child. When your child is disrespectful, you as a parent have a duty to correct him or her in a respectful way. Shouting and getting upset only responds to his inappropriate attitude and this is not helpful and often only amplifies bad behaviour.

The truth is, if you let their disrespectful behaviour affect you, it’s hard to be a good teacher. No need to yell at him or make fun of him.

Use these incidents as moments of docility, calmly calling your children aside, say clearly what your expectations are, and act accordingly if necessary.

  1.  Try to set realistic expectations. This can even mean lowering your expectations. Do not plan a long trip with children, for example, if they do not like to drive. If you are planning an event with over 30 people and your child has problems adjusting to large groups, it is very likely that you will have a disappointment and maybe even quarrels!
  1. Clarify boundaries when things have calmed down. When you have a situation where your grown child is disrespectful, it is not the ideal time to discuss limits or consequences. Later, you can talk to the child about his behaviour and what his expectations are.
  1. Talk about the consequences of the child’s behaviour. Discuss what happened (later, when the situation has calmed down) and how he could have approached the situation in a different way. This is a chance for you, as a parent, to listen to your child and find out what happens to him when he has that behaviour. Try to stay objective. You might say, “Imagine that a video camera recorded everything. What do you see?” This is, in fact, the perfect opportunity for the child to describe how he might have reacted differently.
  1.  Don’t take it personally. One of the biggest mistakes parents can make is to take their child’s behaviour personally. The truth is, you don’t have to fall into this trap, because the children next door do the same to their parents, and your cousin’s daughter does the same to her parents. Your purpose is to solve the problem of the child’s behaviour as objectively as possible. 

When parents do not have effective ways to deal with these situations, they may feel that things get out of hand and get scared and most of the time they exaggerate or do not take the attitude as much as the situation demands.

When they exaggerate, they become too rigid, and when they don’t take action, they ignore their behaviour or tell themselves that this is “just a phase.” 

However, this attitude will not help your child learn to manage their thoughts or emotions more effectively, and be more respectful.

You need to understand that if you have not taken an early approach to children’s behaviour, you can start at any time.

Even if the child is constantly behaving disrespectfully, you can start step by step to set clear boundaries.

And children really want limits, even if they protest out loud, and they will. 

The message he receives, when you intervene and set some limits, is that you care about him, he is loved and that you really want him to be a successful person and able to integrate well into the world.

Our children will not thank us now, but this is not a problem, it is not about making them thank us, it is about doing the right thing.

How do we respond to the outbursts of anger?

Anger expressed in relationships is one of the most difficult emotions to carry, which is why the most commonly used behaviour is to reject the person who is angry, either by withdrawing the physical presence or by withdrawing the condition or even by an aggressive response or attack.

Which, unfortunately, for the one who feels anger is a painful experience. 

In reality, anger itself is not dangerous, but rather the behaviour associated with it, which we fail to control.

Someone may be angry and “scream in the pillow” or hit a punching bag (healthy behaviours) or may raise their voice, become verbally aggressive (unhealthy behaviours).

Behind any behaviour is a need, which is why by rejecting the person we also tell them their need is unimportant.

What you need to do is focus on stopping inappropriate behaviours, without rejecting the person or the emotion that the other person is experiencing, instead validate it.

The grown child (and any of us) needs to be seenI see you are angry“, acceptedI understand that this situation has upset you and made you angry” and to feel that he can rely on the parentI need you to speak in a calmer tone so that I can understand you.” 

Validation of the person and emotion can be done in the presence of healthy boundaries and non-negotiable behaviours.

Find a way of showing to your grown child that you love him as a person, but at the same time, there are certain behaviours that you do not agree with. 

Depending on how you set the limits so far, it will be easier or harder for you to calm the angry behaviours of your grown child.

But if you take into account both validation and clear boundaries in each interaction, the child’s anger and aggression can be greatly reduced.

How to manage communication problems with your grown child

Questions often arise about optimizing communication in parent-child relationships.

And of course, there are tools and techniques that can help; good communication can optimize the relationship but at the same time good communication is the consequence of a good relationship.

So, I think it’s essential to look at things from both perspectives. 

Discussions should be about the here and now, about the present and not about all the things that have happened or not during the relationship; Many conflicts, which seem to start from a “communication problem”, are supported by bringing the old unresolved “problems” into the present discussion, deepening the ruptures even further.

Always talk about your needs and not about what the other person did or didn’t do; for example: “I would need you to keep a calm tone“, instead of “you always raise your voice” or “don’t scream, don’t disrespect me“.

Scheduling discussions on sensitive topics helps both participants to be prepared both emotionally and with arguments for a topic that may be unpleasant or uncomfortable.

Practising the ability to listen will help a lot in communication; it helps to listen to both yourself (how you feel at the moment, what your thoughts are, what you would like to do/say now), and the person in front of you. 

Verify the information; often, what is transmitted by the transmitter reaches the receiver differently. This is because of the mental filters we have.

What will help you is to validate with the interlocutor what you have understood so that you can be sure that the information reached you is correct. 

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In this blog post, we gave you advice on how to deal with a disrespectful grown child.

We hope that our suggestions bring you peace of mind and taught you the best ways to improve your child-parent relationship.

Don’t hesitate to ask any questions you may have or to leave a comment on the content. 

FAQ on How to deal with a disrespectful grown child

How do you deal with an ungrateful child?

In order to deal with an ungrateful child, it is best to have an honest and open conversation with him/her and to point out their ungrateful attitude.

Speak about how you feel and what you’ve noticed, don’t blame them, but be honest.

Listen to what they have to say.

How do you deal with a mean daughter?

To deal with a mean daughter you’d have to have an honest conversation with her, and understand what is behind her actions that you perceive as mean.

Most of the time, unprocessed anger in the cause of mean behaviour. 

Why is my daughter so angry all the time?

Your daughter may seem angry all the time because there may be unprocessed feelings and she doesn’t know how else to express them.

It is best to have an open and honest conversation and try to understand what is going on. 

What do you do when your child ignores you?

When your child seem to ignore you while you are speaking to him/her, it is best to eliminate any distraction, sit and have the conversation.

Look him in the eyes and tell them what you’d like them to do in a calm and positive tone.

How do you discipline a child that doesn’t care?

To discipline a child that doesn’t care you have to be clear about the consequences of his/her actions.

Be calm, but firm.

Follow through your arguments and don’t let yourself be “bought” by emotions.

Is my child’s anger normal?

Yes, your child’s anger is normal, it’s a healthy emotion.

But if you are worried you should talk with a child psychologist. 


  1. Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, by Rebecca Eanes
  2. Mindful Parenting in a Chaotic World: Effective Strategies to Stay Centered at Home and On-The-Go, by Nicole Libin
  3. Modern Attachment Parenting: The Comprehensive Guide to Raising a Secure Child, by Jamie Grumet
  4. The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Proven Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind, by Dr Tina Payne Bryson
  5. No-Drama Discipline: the bestselling parenting guide to nurturing your child’s developing mind, by Daniel J. Siegel
  6. The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read (and Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did), by Philippa Perry

What we recommend for Relationship & LGBTQ issues

Relationship counselling

  • If you are having relationship issues or maybe you are in an abusive relationship then relationship counselling could be your first point of call. Relationship counselling could be undertaken by just you, it does not require more than one person.

LGBTQ issues

If you are dealing with LGBTQ issues then LGBTQ counselling may be a great option for you. Maybe you are confused as to your role and identity or simply need someone to speak to. LGBTQ counsellors are specially trained to assist you in this regard.


  1. Denis Waitley, Raising Confident Kids
  1. Kent Hoffman, Raising a Secure Child: How Circle of Security Parenting Can Help You Nurture Your Child’s Attachment, Emotional Resilience, and Freedom to Explore

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