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Cher, Teacher
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 20851
Experience:  Extensive Experience working with Children/Teens; M.A. Teacher/Tutor 40+ yrs.; Parent of 2
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how do i cope with my boyfriends disrespectful teenagers

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how do i cope with my boyfriend's disrespectful teenagers
Hello teeare,

It is often difficult in a relationship to deal with the children of your friend, as you obviously do not feel as comfortable in correcting them the same as you might do with your own children. And even if you were to do so, then you run the risk of the children or even your friend resenting you for doing so, as they do not see or acknowledge you in the role of a parent.

The best way to handle a situation where you feel his children are being disrespectful is to talk to your boyfriend about the issues. If he is aware of the fact that they are being disrespectful to you, then he should be the one to handle the situation. That is his duty as the parent, and is really something that he owes to you out of respect to you and to your relationship.

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Thank you teeare.

HelloCustomer and thanks for your question.

This is a difficult situation in which many people find themselves, when dating and involved with a man/woman with children from a previous marriage or relationship.

There is no doubt that the teenagers are misbehaving and should not be disrespectful to any adults, under any circumstances; however, it depends on what kind of disrespect you are encountering, regarding the way you can handle it properly. The children are giving you a hard time because they resent your relationship with their father and are feeling insecurities in their own lives, due to their father no longer being together with their mother. I'm assuming this is a divorce situation; if it's otherwise, please let me know. They're hoping that the more they irk you, the faster you'll leave the relationship and not be a part of their father's life and take up his time. This is a normal reaction on the part of children, in this situation, but being teens, this is even more difficult for them. Teenagers have their own problems in many areas of their lives, and now, with their father's girlfriend being added to the mix, they're just not taking too kindly to you being in that position.

I would first try to befriend them. You can remind them, if they are 'verbally' disrespectful to you, that their behavior is unacceptable and you are to be treated with respect, always. I don't know if they are male or female, but find out what interests them, and offer to do an activity with them and their father, that they like. Show them you're not a 'bad person', trying to steal their father's heart and/or take their mother's place; that's what they're most worried about. Try to be very light and breezy with them, ignore rude remarks, and remind their father in private, that he needs to remind them not to be disrespectful. If this happens when you are alone with them, and not with their father, then try to keep this time to a minimum and only interact with them with their father present. I'm assuming you don't all live together, but if my assumption is wrong, please let me know.

It's important to discuss this with your boyfriend, if he's not aware of the situation, but at the same time, you don't want the kids to think you're 'snitching' on them, so he needs to choose his words carefully, when he speaks to them. He should promise them some form of punishment (removing privileges, etc.) if they continue to be disrespectful to you after fair warning.

After telling them calmly, this behavior is not acceptable, when they are disrespectful, move on to another subject, like, what would you like to do today, where would you like to go?, etc. Don't dwell on it, because the more they KNOW they irk you, the more they'll do it. Don't reward bad behavior, but they ARE seeking a reaction from you, and besides making that one statement, don't give them what they want, by showing you're upset, etc. Make a game plan with your boyfriend to try to diminish and eliminate this behavior on the part of his children, and I hope things improve for you, soon.

Please let me know your thoughts and if you would like to discuss this further.

Cher, Teacher
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 20851
Experience: Extensive Experience working with Children/Teens; M.A. Teacher/Tutor 40+ yrs.; Parent of 2
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