Hi, I'm Dr. Laura Schlessinger, welcoming you to our YouTube channel. And our letter from Connie:
"Why is it that my teen-aged son can be so well-mannered and liked in school and in the community (and even with my husband and me most of the time), but sneers, snorts, and just seems to think we are really judgmental, ignorant people whenever he disagrees with us? [(Laughs) Because he's a teenager! And he puts on a show for other people, but at home...he's a teenager.]
I feel contempt coming from him at those times and I don't know why we can't just have a normal conversation about it. Is it normal for teenagers to feel that way toward their parents? [Yeah. When people get in their twenties, they start realizing their parents are getting less stupid.] Should we ignore that behavior [No] or do we need to put our foot down whenever it happens? [Kind of. I'll get back to that.]
Our son pulls it back and takes us seriously when we tell him to 'cut it out.' But I want your guidance because we have just been handling it on a case-by-case basis, however, I feel it is always tenuous and we could lose his respect or our authority if we handle it incorrectly."
You're not losing his respect and you're not losing the sense of being an authority. What you need to do is, the times he's acting ratty... You have to realize that girls are not the only ones with hormonal issues. When boys go through their puberty and they start developing, and they go through their teenage years, they have more mood changes than girls do. I swear that is true! So you have to realize some of that is going on. Plus, he wants to be a 'man' but knows he's a kid, he wants to be dependent but he wants to make his own mind up, and in front of other people he is who you're raising. Don't forget that.
So because of the familiarity and his trying to push the limits a little bit, you're going to get some of that snarky behavior. And when you get it, all you need to do is go [doesn't say a word, points finger, makes a cutting motion to neck (to symbolize "cut it out") and points to the side], and walk away. Don't tolerate it, don't take it, don't stand away from it, but don't put your foot down and make it be a whole thing because that just gets into an arm wrestle. And whenever you arm wrestle with a kid, they win.
So it's just [doesn't say a word, makes motion again of pointing finger, cutting motion with finger to neck (to symbolize "cut it out") and points to the side], and he'll get the message. But you've got to expect a little of that. That's just normal. What, you don't remember being a teenager?! Ok!
I'm Dr. Laura Schlessinger. Until next time, here on our YouTube channel, go do the right thing.