Any parent of a teenager knows, teens can be moody, distant, and defiant at times. But while this can sometimes be a source of stress and conflict for families, it’s also usually a completely normal part of being a teen. “It’s important for parents to know this is normative behaviour. Developing independence is a key part of growing up. It’s a good sign that your child is trying to take more responsibility. But your child is also still learning how to handle disagreement and different opinions appropriately. Also, your child is trying to balance their need for privacy with your need to stay connected and show you care. So sometimes you might get a rude or disrespectful response because your child feels you’re taking too much interest in what they’re doing or invading their space.
Your child’s moods can change quickly too. Because of the way teenage brains develop, your child can’t always handle changing feelings and reactions to everyday or unexpected things. And this can sometimes lead to over-sensitivity, which can lead in turn to grumpiness or rudeness. Teenage brain development can also affect your child’s ability to empathise and understand other people’s perspectives, including yours. Sometimes disrespectful behaviour might be a sign that your child is feeling particularly stressed or worried. Teenagers are also starting to think more deeply about things, so they can have thoughts and feelings they’ve never had before. Some young people seem to have a conflicting and radical view on everything, and might question previously held beliefs. This shift to deeper thinking is a normal part of development too. And sometimes teenagers are disrespectful because they think it might be a way to impress others, or because they’ve seen their friends behave this way.