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How To Deal With A Disrespectful Grown Child?

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How To Deal With A Disrespectful Grown Child

Table of Contents

While parenting may seem like a difficult thing to do, what’s even more difficult is to raise a morally upright and respectful child. You may have multiple aspirations for your child and you may raise them as the most precious thing in this whole wide world but at times, due to multiple reasons outside of your control, your child may grow to become a discourteous and ill-mannered child. So how to deal with a disrespectful grown child? How to understand your child’s needs to help them out of the phase?

Raising children includes a lot of effort. It requires time, money (loads of it), energy, and 24×7 dedication. Once the kids grow up, however, they may seem to get out of hand, may start giving you a tough time, may start throwing tantrums, may even bang the doors on your face when you try to hold them accountable for things. After having spent multiple years trying to raise a just child, you may suddenly find yourself wondering if something went wrong on your part. You may begin to think about how to deal with a disrespectful grown child?

Why Is My Child Disrespectful Towards Me?

Before we get to analyzing your child’s psyche, we need you to get one thing straight: your child’s behavior towards you is not always a reflection of you or your parenting. Before you get to doubting yourself and questioning if the fault was in how you raised your child, you need to understand that you may have made some mistakes but it is not your fault. You are only human after all!

You spend most of your years trying to infuse all moralities, manners in your child, giving them all the love, affection and care there was in the world to give. Your kid now has grown up and they seem to spend most of their time snapping at you, acting all entitled and disrespectful- you didn’t sign up for this, eh? You’d feel like yelling at your kid and ‘putting them in place’ but you’d also be worried about how they would react to your aggression, you would not want to hurt them and you’d very much still like them to know that you love them. What do you do?

Step 1 to dealing with a disrespectful grown child is to stop having expectations from them

Now, this may seem like an unreasonable ask but hear us out. As a parent of your cranky kid, you are supposed to be a person that they can come and vent out to, a person they don’t have to fake around and someone they know will be there for them, come what may. As a parent, if you start putting your kids in a spot where they realize you expect too much from them, your kid may stop opening up to you- the person who is supposed to be their safe space.

Having said that, we also want to establish that your kid’s disrespectful behavior, unreasonable anger, and tantrums are not at all acceptable and we don’t want you to ever think you don’t deserve respect just because you are a parent. The key here is to be understanding of your kid’s behavior. There could be multiple reasons for your kids to be disrespectful and you, as a pregnant, need to try and first figure out what stems from all the disrespect. Try to seek to understand the very root cause. Try and figure are they just having a bad day or is it something deeper like disturbed mental health?

Why Has My Child Become A Disrespectful Adult? Reasons Why Your Grown Child May Be Disrespectful To You

There could be multiple reasons for adult children to be disrespectful towards their parents. More often than not kids go through a lot of stuff in their own lives that you, as a parent, may not be able to figure out due to a generational gap among other reasons. Here are some possible reasons why your child is growing into a disrespectful adult:

  • They have just moved out of the house and realize that living on their own, out of your nest, is not as thrilling or exciting as they always imagined. As a result, they might be angry at you for not preparing them well enough – because who else can they blame anyway?
  • A difficult childhood/ childhood trauma that they did not get a chance to process earlier and are now releasing by being disrespectful.
  • They are being bullied/ treated respectfully at work or in school and find you as the only outlet to come and vent at.
  • They probably have found being disrespectful and snapping as an easier option than sitting down with you and talking about their personal challenges. They might just be feeling too vulnerable. Disrespect can be an S.O.S in such cases.
  • You, as a parent, for whatever reasons, may have been very controlling towards them and now, as an adult, they don’t see the need of sucking up to your control anymore.
  • They may be feeling judged or criticized by you and may have hence decided to just not care about your feelings anymore, in a pursuit to protect themselves.
  • They may be, just simply, overwhelmed with adult life.

What Causes A Child To Be Disrespectful?

The unreasonable behavior of your adult kiddo is a red flag, to say the least- more so if they have been nice and humble kids otherwise. If you are dealing with an increasingly disrespectful child, our first recommendation is to understand that behavior and one’s actions are the biggest windows to one’s inner turmoil.

  • Your child’s behavior is a reflection of their inner self: A child’s action with their parents. as parents’ are most children’s safe space, can speak a lot about what they may personally be going through, if only you choose to take a step back and look at it.
  • Take a step back and analyze: As a parent who needs to deal with a disrespectful child, you will need to first analyze and ask yourself if you are missing out on something and if your child needs your help. Do not ever lash out on your kid because you may not know what may be cooking in their heads and your lashing out may just serve as an added trauma for them.
  • Try and ask yourself “What is my child trying to tell me through their behavior?” Even if you feel insulted, humiliated and like you did not deserve this for yourself before you penalize your kid, try to get into their shoes and establish what really is driving such behavior.


As a parent, there’s no better way to put this, you signed up for such hardships when you gave birth. “Grounding” your child or keeping them from doing their favorite things or increasing their ‘study hours’ or imposing too many rules will only be counter-productive, to begin with. It is also rather imperative to note here that as a parent, it is a responsibility for you to try and build a healthy, mutually respectful, and loving relationship with your kids from the beginning. Being connected with your kids, albeit maintaining healthy boundaries, is necessary. No matter how old they are.

Solutions On How To Deal With A Disrespectful Grown Child?

The potential reasons as to why your kids may be behaving disrespectfully with you as well as the probable analysis’ you need to do to understand your kid has been established. But what really are some concrete solutions or answers on how to manage a disrespectful grown child? Here are some ways how:

1. Make It Your Mission To Understand Your Child

Talk to your child! Now while this may seem impossible because your child may be in a constant state of not wanting to talk to you, just be patient and pick a time when they seem to be in a good mood. Do not be random about this time and try to make sure that you only do this strategically, without retaliating them any further.

Take their permission while you talk to them or before you talk to them. Using sentences like “Have I done something to upset you?” or “It’s so unlike you to be disrespectful. Is now a good time?” may be a good idea. Most grown adults spend a major chunk of their day on the phone and hence, may not be very comfortable with speaking or voicing their feelings. If you doubt your kids would also be in one of those zones, you may even try to text message them as a way of trying to understand them. If you do find something alarming, you may also help them take a step to a more guided healing process by consulting a therapist. Just have a conversation!

2. Keep Your Ego Away

It may be hard to accept but every human being has an ego and being a parent makes you no exception. You must try and see their perspective and in the middle of that, if your child calls you out, if they make it known that your behavior caused them to disrespect you, please own it up. You must lead the way to repair hurt and restore closeness if your adult child tells you that you are the reason behind all the seemingly unreasonable behavior. Ask your child how could you have behaved better with them and if there’s something else about you that bothers them. It is okay to be wrong but it is not okay to not be accountable; look within.

Be empathetic and even apologize if you need to and at all costs, avoid being defensive and getting too heated up. This will not only repair your relationship but also, in fact, make you a hero in your child’s eyes and teach them a lesson of being humble and of owning up to their faults.

3. Do Not Overstep The Healthy Boundaries

Your child may have come out of your stomach and out of your sperm but it’s time to understand that your adult child, after all, is now a person of their own. You should never be too nosy or interfere too much in your child’s life as it may make them feel suffocated and caged. You can and you must always keep a check on what’s happening but try to do it without asking too many questions or making your kid feel like you don’t trust them enough. For example, never read their diaries, their messages or ask them too many questions about the boys/ girls they hang out with. Teach them a sense of accountability and please trust your parenthood for them to make the right decisions on their own.

Strive for transparency and for giving your children a sense of freedom. Most likely, this will have them just come up to you and tell you everything on their own; also saving you the effort of having to ‘find out’ stuff. Look at your child as your friend and never show them signs of judgment. If you seek respect, you must give it to them in equal proportions first.

How To Deal With A Disrespectful Grown Child Final Conclusion

Strive for transparency and for giving your children a sense of freedom. Most likely, this will have them just come up to you and tell you everything on their own; also saving you the effort of having to ‘find out’ stuff. Look at your child as your friend and never show them signs of judgment. If you seek respect, you must give it to them in equal proportions first.

How To Deal With A Disrespectful Grown Child FAQs

1) How do you respond to a disrespectful child?

If you are dealing with a disrespectful grown child, here are some ways how you could respond to their cranky, unreasonable behavior:
  • Try to understand them instead of ignoring the red flags
  • Do not threaten them or yell at them
  • Offer them logical explanations to things they crib about
  • Allow them to be on their own and to take a breather
  • Respect their boundaries
  • Ask them if they'd like professional help from a therapist
  • Show them all the love, care, and affection you can - even when you may just want to yell at them for being so hurtful and disrespectful towards you
  • 2) How do you fix a relationship with a child after yelling?

    It is common and okay for parents to lose their calm if their kids are being unreasonable or even if the parent themselves is just having a bad day. if you have recently yelled at your kid and feel guilty about it, here's how you can fix it:
  • Reach out to them when you calm down
  • Validate your child's emotions and their hurt
  • Try and have them speak out about how they felt when you yelled at them
  • Do not try to justify your yelling
  • Show love
  • Apologize without any conditions
  • 3) What should I never say to my child?

    No matter how disrespectful, annoying or unreasonable your child may be behaving, try and make sure to never say the following things to your child as it may be psychologically damaging for them:
  • You were a mistake
  • You are so dramatic
  • Why can't you be like your sibling?
  • You are so annoying
  • I don't love you
  • I shouldn't have given birth to you
  • You are so stupid
  • Reviewed by:



    Dr. Nimrat S Sidhu is a practicing pediatrician for about 5 years now and holds an MD pediatrics degree. She was the topper of her batch, has always had a keen interest in her core medical field, and is specially trained for neonatal resuscitation.

    She has published multiple research papers on pediatrics and is interested in topics like Neonatal care, skincare, baby growth, vaccination, growth, and development.

    On behalf of the editorial team at Parenthoodbliss, we follow strict reporting guidelines and only use credible sources, along with peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and highly respected health organizations. To learn about how we maintain content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

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