How to Deal with a Disrespectful Grown Child: 7 Effective Strategies for Parents

Mar 30, 2023 | Relationships | 0 comments

How to deal with a disrespectful grown child? This is a concern that many parents face as they struggle to navigate the complexities of maintaining a healthy relationship with their adult children. It can be emotionally draining and challenging to address disrespectful behavior, leaving parents feeling frustrated and unsure of the best course of action. In this article, we delve into seven effective strategies that can help parents better understand their child’s behavior, enhance communication, and cultivate a respectful and loving relationship, ultimately making their lives easier.

child late

Assess the Situation

Before addressing disrespectful behavior, it’s essential to assess the situation objectively. Consider whether the disrespect is a response to a specific event, a pattern of behavior, or a developmental issue. Take into account your child’s age, emotional state, and circumstances to better understand the root cause of the behavior (1).

Set Boundaries and Establish Consequences

To address disrespectful behavior, it’s crucial to set clear boundaries and establish consequences for crossing those boundaries (2). Be specific about what constitutes disrespectful behavior and outline the repercussions for engaging in it. This approach allows your grown child to understand the expectations and the consequences of their actions.

Improve Communication Skills

talking to teenager

Effective communication is vital for maintaining a healthy parent-child relationship (3). Both parties must be open and honest about their feelings and needs. Establish a safe environment for your grown child to express their thoughts and emotions without fear of judgment. Remember to listen actively, avoid interrupting, and validate their feelings, even if you don’t agree with their perspective. Learn more about the signs of healthy relationships here.

Practice Empathy and Understanding

Try to empathize with your grown child’s feelings and experiences (4). This perspective-taking approach helps you better understand their behavior and emotions. By expressing empathy and understanding, you can create a safe space for your child to feel heard and respected.

Encourage Independence

Encouraging independence is essential for fostering a healthy and respectful parent-child relationship (5). Give your grown child the autonomy to make decisions, solve problems, and learn from their mistakes. By supporting their independence, you’re demonstrating your trust and confidence in their abilities, which can help reduce feelings of resentment or disrespect.

Seek Professional Help

If the disrespectful behavior persists or escalates, seeking professional help is a viable option. Family therapy or individual counseling can help both you and your grown child address underlying issues, improve communication, and develop healthier coping mechanisms (6). A professional therapist can provide unbiased guidance and support tailored to your family’s unique situation. If you suspect narcissistic parenting might be a factor, learn how to deal with it here.

Take Care of Yourself

Dealing with a disrespectful grown child can be emotionally draining and stressful. It’s essential to prioritize self-care, as your emotional well-being directly impacts your ability to effectively handle the situation (7). Ensure you’re taking time for yourself, engaging in activities that bring you joy, and seeking support from friends, family, or support groups.

How to Deal with a Disrespectful Grown Child. The Bottom Line

Dealing with a disrespectful grown child is a challenging experience for parents. By implementing the strategies outlined in this article, you can better understand your child’s behavior, improve communication, and foster a respectful and loving relationship. Remember to assess the situation, set boundaries, establish consequences, improve communication skills, practice empathy and understanding, encourage independence, seek professional help when necessary, and prioritize self-care. By taking these steps, you can navigate the challenges of dealing with a disrespectful grown child and maintain a healthy parent-child relationship.


Source: (1) Arnett, J. J. (2000). Emerging adulthood: A theory of development from the late teens through the twenties. American Psychologist, 55(5), 469-480.

Source: (2) Steinberg, L. (2001). We know some things: Parent-adolescent relationships in retrospect and prospect. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 11(1), 1-19.

Source: (3) Laursen, B., & Collins, W. A. (2009). Parent-child communication during adolescence. In Handbook of family communication (pp. 333-348). Routledge.

Source: (4) Eisenberg, N., & Fabes, R. A. (1998). Prosocial development. In W. Damon (Series Ed.) & N. Eisenberg (Vol. Ed.), Handbook of child psychology: Vol. 3. Social, emotional, and personality development (5th ed., pp. 701-778). New York: Wiley.

Source: (5) Zimmer-Gembeck, M. J., & Collins, W. A. (2008). Autonomy development during adolescence. In G. R. Adams & M. D. Berzonsky (Eds.), Blackwell handbook of adolescence (pp. 175-204). Blackwell Publishing.

Source: (6) Sholevar, G. P. (2003). Family therapy with adolescents. In Handbook of psychotherapy with children and adolescents (pp. 219-255). Allyn & Bacon.

Source: (7) Abidin, R. R. (1992). The determinants of parenting behavior. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 21(4), 407-412.

#DisrespectfulGrownChild #ParentingTips #ParentChildRelationship #HealthyBoundaries #EffectiveCommunication #Empathy #Independence #FamilyTherapy #SelfCare
Are you struggling with a disrespectful grown child? Discover 7 effective strategies for improving communication, fostering respect, and maintaining a healthy parent-child relationship: 1. Assess the Situation 2. Set Boundaries and Establish Consequences 3. Improve Communication Skills 4. Practice Empathy and Understanding 5. Encourage Independence 6. Seek Professional Help 7. Take Care of Yourself

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