If you’re in the middle of raising a big kid, then you know living with someone in the throes of raging hormones is not for the weak. Happy one moment and outraged the next, parenting a tween or teen is a roller coaster of emotions that can leave you exhausted and confused. The good news is, in what might be the most challenging stage of parenting (toddler parents, we see you—wait a few years), there are ways to communicate effectively with your kids, even when they throw major shade your way. Dr. Lucie Hemmen, an adolescent and parenting expert who explained in a previous TikTok video that there’s a biological reason for teens being mean to you, offers three ways to respond when your kid is super rude.


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♬ original sound – Dr.LucieHemmen

#1. Say nothing.

Stone-cold silence speaks volumes. In truth, tweens and teens don’t have the emotional intelligence to react maturely a lot of the time. When you engage with your kid after they’ve been rude, you’re turning it into a situation between you and them instead of it being just them. Hemmen says that staying silent allows for whatever they say to “just sit there, unobscured.” Which, in turn, puts the ball back in your court.

#2. Say something short and sweet.

If an immediate response is a must, Hemmen suggests keeping it simple. As in one word, like “ouch,” that relays to your big kid you’re hurt by their words but you also refuse to engage. So keep it brief and check out this list of what not to say to an angry tween or teen to avoid other communication pitfalls when dealing with big kids.

#3. Wait a bit, then validate their feelings and express your own.

This response is one of the best things you can do when dealing with a rude kid because you can calm down and think about what you want to address, and it allows the child time to reflect on their actions.

Nobody thinks well when emotions are running high, and Hemmen explains that teens have an even harder time. “They have a big struggle with this because of the state of their brain development: Their prefrontal cortex really shuts down; they are all emotion. It’s almost like talking to an intoxicated person,” she says.

The key is not to engage with them when emotions are high but to recognize and validate their feelings when you know they’re listening. Hammen suggests speaking with your child later when everyone has had an opportunity to reflect. What should you say? “Hey, remember when you felt really disappointed because I said no about whatever? You told me you hated my guts and I’m the worst parent in the world. You know, I just want you to know I get that you are frustrated. I get it sucks to be disappointed. I really, really understand that,” Hammen says.

Then you can explain that while they have a right to their feelings, they don’t have the right to be rude. In truth, they’ll be more likely to absorb that concept at a future time, even if they don’t admit it. It can go something like: “Will you try to memorize this as an opportunity for you to pause, take a breath, and treat me like I’m a person? I’m okay with you being disappointed, but it does hurt my feelings when you talk to me that way,” she says.

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