TEENAGERS AND DISRESPECTING AUTHORITY
In a day when society promotes individuality and independence on a different level than ever before, we are faced with an increasing problem of blatant disrespect for authority figures. This disrespect is directed at parents, teachers, law officials, common business people, and even grandparents. No adult is exempt from the attitude exuding from today’s teens who struggle with authority figures. There tends to be an ongoing power struggle in many teenagers who feel that they must “win” the battle when confronted on most levels by an adult. This disrespect comes in all forms from verbal abuse, condescending remarks, blatant refusal to carry out simple requests, chores, or tasks, and even physical abuse in many cases. Once the disrespect has begun to be noticed by others outside of the home, it has reached a level that must be addressed in counseling and, possibly, through other measures as well.
A comprehensive evaluation should be given at the earliest detection to prevent teens from self-destruction or other means of destruction. We must look deeper into the teenager’s heart to find out where the anger/disrespect originates. Disrespect is a form of aggression or anger that has possibly, been suppressed for some time and is now being exemplified in verbal abuse or other means of disrespect. It may manifest in the classroom with a lovely teacher or in the bank’s teller line. It is hard to say what prompted disrespect toward the particular individual.
Today’s teens are very complex and struggle with much anxiety about who they are and who they want to be. It is thought to be “cool” to show dominance or act as though one is invincible and untouched by human emotion in many circles. Therefore, many will fall into the trap of feeling that it is acceptable to be rude or disrespectful to adults or even destroy their property with little to no thought of how it may be replaced. Broken furniture, holes in the walls and doors, damage to parents’ cars are all trophies showing the signs of disrespect. These teenagers are among those who have inner turmoil about gaining their independence and presenting themselves as “cool” to their peers while feeling good about themselves. It is an internal battle, and someone is going to lose! How do we tame this inner hostility that has crept outward in the form of blatant disrespect?
First, we have to find the origin or the core belief to understand where they are coming from. Through much counsel, your child may be able to come to terms with his/her foundational belief system of who they are and what they want from life—and how to get there. The road is not an easy one, and it may take quite some time to get to the core. This is not a common disorder that may be diagnosed, and a pill is given to calm them down, help them remain focused, or even reduce their anxiety. They lack respect for the adult world, and there is, most likely, a good reason for their feelings once we can get to the bottom of it all. It is worth looking into, getting cursed out, being verbally battered, or even threatened if we help the child find their way through the jungle of emotions, broken trusts, and a desire to be “on top.”
As the Executive Director of Wolf Creek Academy and the primary admissions agent for the school, I am normally the one who will meet with families upon enrollment. It does not take but a moment to recognize the attitude and disrespect coming from the adolescent once they are in my office to express enrollment into the boarding school. It is quite challenging for the parents to remain calm through the process when, in many cases, their child is throwing a tantrum, being very disrespectful, and even being a bully to the parents. I am not enraged at his/her behavior or disrespect. Still, I am always interested in finding out, as quickly as possible, what is causing this type of attitude and disrespect.
What is at the core of this child who is driven to be independent and in control? The process begins with the therapist, and the parents will await some positive reports to come in a few weeks—-and they always do! The time-frame is different for each one, as each teenager has many layers that must be peeled away just like an onion, but we eventually find their core. They are scared, lonely, and in many cases, have been masking their true belief about who they really are for so long that they have lost sight of themselves. In all of their attitude and disrespect for others, they have lost the most important thing in their own lives ——common respect for themselves! Their love for themselves, their family, and God have seemingly become something of the past.
If your child is acting out by being disrespectful to you, their teachers, or other family members, don’t wait until they cross the line and break the law, seek help for your child now. See a therapist or psychiatrist who may make further recommendations for evaluations or possible residential therapy for your child’s future and restoration to the family!
When You Need Help with Your Disrespectful Teenager
If things should become increasingly difficult to continue a normal family life, you may need to consider whether the adolescent may need more care than what can be provided in the home. Many parents seeking help for their child often wait until things have become so difficult that the family has split, and they even fear for their own safety and the safety of the other children in the household. Some wait until the teen does something illegal or violent to another person, and then it is too late. In those situations, they find themselves possibly making hasty decisions that may not be the best for the adolescent or the family in the long run. When serious defiance surfaces in a teen and counseling does not help, a full-time therapeutic environment may be necessary for the child’s future. If you find that you are at your wit’s end and are doing all that you know to do and need help, seek residential treatment for your child before he or she ends up in serious trouble.
Wolf Creek is a therapeutic boarding school that works with defiant teenagers, boys, and girls aged 13 to 17. For 30 years, our highly trained professional counselors have provided behavior therapy, including anger management, oppositional defiance disorder (ODD), and respect for authority.
We can help your teen with Oppositional Defiance Disorder. We have a limited number of placements available for teens with ODD and other defiance and anger issues. Call or email us for more information today!
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