How to Deal with a Disrespectful Grown Child

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Traditionally, a parent actively raised a child until she was old enough to move out and support herself, helping to preserve a respectful relationship. Today, a changing social and economic landscape redefines the traditional hierarchy between parents and children. Disrespect from a rude adult child is difficult to address since your child is old enough to be responsible for her actions. Since discipline isn’t an option for adult children, it’s time to have a frank discussion about your changing relationship and how your child’s rudeness affects you.

How to Deal with a Disrespectful Grown Child
How to Deal with a Disrespectful Grown Child

How to Deal with a Disrespectful Grown Child?

It is difficult to answer your question without having more details about the situation. However, generally speaking, you deal with a disrespectful adult son in much the same way you would any other rude person.

Clear, concise communication is vital. Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Set a time when you and your son can speak privately, without interruption.

Either record the conversation or bring an impartial observer to the meeting. “Impartial” refers to someone who is neutral and has no past history with your son. This person is not there to take your side or become involved. However, you can ask that person to take notes, so that you have a record of what was said or agreed upon.

If the situation with your son has deteriorated to the point that it’s challenging to have a calm conversation with him–or he’s manipulative, then it might be wise to enlist the help of a mediator. This could be a member of the priesthood, a counselor or therapist. It should be someone professionally trained to serve in this role.

I strongly recommend that you do some homework well before your meeting. Think about what you need to say to him. Make a list of your “talking points.” This can also serve as a record of what you said to him.

Next, make a list of your expectations, including real behavior changes that you need to see him work toward. Then, note the time frame by which each change needs to occur and the consequences for failing to meet expectations.

It’s imperative that you set apparent boundaries with your son. In other words, what will you tolerate, and what will you not? For example, maybe he can come to your house as long as he doesn’t raise his voice or insult you (make rules very specific to your situation and ensure that they’re achievable).

Since he’s settled into a long-standing pattern of disrespect, the change will not occur unless you follow through on every point. If you waffle or become inconsistent, you will lose anything you have gained.

You can even make a checklist of your expectations to provide to your son during the meeting.

Finally, if drugs or alcohol are involved, he must deal with that issue before anything else. It’s impossible to reason with someone who’s intoxicated or high. Addicts are manipulative. This situation requires professional counseling and support to bring the two of you back together.

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