Teenagers are often stereotyped as a surly bunch, so it can be hard to figure out if a young adult is choosing to act disrespectfully or if (s)he is just another typical teen. Thinking about a teen’s personality, attitudes and actions can all help adults figure out if (s)he is generally a respectful person.
We have put together the following questionnaire to help adults with this analysis. Answer each question with “yes” or “no” then total your scores and match your “yes” total to the explanations at the end.
Does your teen…?
Is Your Teenager Respectful?
If you answered “yes” to between zero and four questions then your teenager does not currently seem to be acting respectfully. Observe your teen for a while in many different settings. Does his or her behaviour change in different environments? Around different people? After (s)he’s been involved in a particular activity? Think about what you find to be the most glaring examples of his or her lack of respect. Approach your teen in a non-accusatory manner to ask why (s)he acts the way (s)he does, and if there is a particular reason (s)he avoids acting the way you would expect. Be open to your teen’s answers and work to find a compromise which makes you both comfortable. Remember to be patient though, because lasting change rarely happens overnight.
If you answered “yes” to between five and eight questions then your teenager is most likely a respectful person. (S)he likely isn’t respectful all the time, to everyone, in every setting but underneath the teen angst and self-absorption you seem to be raising a young adult who understands what is right and what is wrong. While it may be hard to watch your child make mistakes or act less than you know is his or her best, sometimes you have to allow this. Speak to your teen afterwards about a few specific instances and ask how (s)he felt following each. By encouraging reflections on his or her own behaviours and emotions you might just teach more than you ever could by lecturing.
If you answered “yes” to nine or more questions then your teenager seems to be respectful in most ways. (S)he may not be perfect, but then again who is? Pat yourself on the back and consider yourself lucky that your teen not only understands appropriate behaviours but for the most part follows through with them. If your teen does have a habit or engages in a particular behaviour that you find inappropriate, speak to him or her about it with the same respect you would give another adult. Lead by example and your teen will likely follow.