Teaching Respect

5 Ways to Teach Tweens to Respect Adults/Authority Figures


Kids, especially adolescents, are going through a sea of emotions and transformations in their life right now. They are leading the ins and outs of what it means to be a human and figuring out how the world works, all while embarking on the long journey of self-discovering. Though they are going through a lot, it does not give them the right to be rude, or show disrespect towards adults or other authority figures who are there trying to help them.


But as with anything else in life, kids need guidance and help to show them the proper ways to act and do things, without hindering their personality or character. If you are looking for ways to start this parenting process, here are some key ways you can implement respect within your tween so they can have the best foundation for the rest of their lives.


  1. Don’t Overreact: It can be a challenge to know lash out and overreact when your child is rude to someone. Yelling only raises the tension and your child will just focus on the screaming rather than the actual message. The best way you can go about this is by staying calm.  State your observations to them, tell them how they handled a situation was disrespectful, and show them how they should have gone about it.


  1. Be Respectful to Them: You cannot teach respect if you are being disrespectful yourself.  Yelling, ordering, or ignoring them when they are trying to talk to you are all things parents regretfully do, but realizing those actions is the first step in preventing them and being optimally respectful back. Be the leading example of how a person should treat another person. You will be surprised just how much they pay attention to that sort of thing.


  1. Teach Them Emotional Control: It is easy to be disrespectful when you are in the heat of the moment and angry at someone. This is the reality for people of all ages. However, the ideal thing you can do is teach your tween healthy emotional coping mechanisms so they can control themselves before being rude or saying things that could hurt someone else out of spite.  Breathing exercises and learning the power of thinking before acting are great examples to try out for them to practice.


  1. Ask Your Child: When your tween is being disrespectful, ask them why they are acting that way. This gets them to think about their feelings and dig deep into the core root of their disrespect to hopefully debunk it from happening again in the future.
  2. Test Them: Something you can do is set up a little test that they can learn from. For example, set up scenarios in which your tween has to react accordingly to adult figures. If they choose a disrespectful route, (such as telling someone to move instead of saying excuse me) then ask them why. Then explain why that was not the proper action, and then show them the respectful one to choose.




It is never easy to try to tame a tween who is fostering their own opinions and makes it a mission to not listen to you on a daily basis. It will be hard, but stick with it because you are the parent here and they need you now more than ever, even if they don’t realize it right now. With that being said, try these tips out for yourself and watch how your tween changes their tone, outlook, and heightens their respect levels towards adults and other authority figures. It will not happen overnight, but it will happen eventually and worth the effort once you begin seeing the positive changes.