Adolescent Thinks His Parents Don’t Respect Him

How should a teenager respond when his mom and dad seem to have the attitude that he's always trying to get away with something? I've had it with my parents! I'm not a bad kid, but they don't respect me at all. I can't do anything or go anywhere without being subjected to a major inquisition. How can I stand up for my rights and freedoms without running away from home?

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

Though it may not be what you’d like to hear, you need to realize that your rights are limited as long as you’re living with your parents. The freedoms you currently enjoy are granted by your mom and dad. Hopefully, they will expand as you continue to grow, mature, and behave responsibly. Meanwhile, your parents know you well, so if they feel a need to ask you lots of questions every time you want to go out, they probably have their reasons for it. Most parents act this way out of deep and genuine concern for their teenage son or daughter.

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to eliminate the tension and improve your relationship with your parents. The first step is to get together and define your terms. What does “respect” mean to you? What does it mean to your mother and father? If you can find a time to sit down and discuss this question rationally – preferably when the air is clear and everyone is in a fairly good mood – you will have already begun the process of establishing healthier communication and a more positive parent-child relationship.

Keep in mind that respecting a person is not necessarily the same thing as agreeing with him or trusting him automatically. It certainly doesn’t mean overlooking faults, ignoring past mistakes, or turning a blind eye to the potential risks of his present behavior. In other words, your parents don’t always have to give you your own way in order to respect you. Their respect for you, like their love, is something separate from the decisions they make for you and the rules they lay down for your benefit. It’s all about how you treat them and how they treat you while you’re in the midst of a disagreement. According to Webster’s Dictionary, respect is “a courteous consideration of another person.”

Many teens fall into the trap of thinking that if their parents don’t agree with them or do what they want, they’re not respecting them. This is not true. Unfortunately, parents can sometimes fall into the same trap. The reality is that your mom and dad can be respectful toward you even while questioning you, grounding you, or depriving you of some privilege – provided their actions are warranted. At the same time, you can express disagreement with their decisions if you do so calmly and respectfully.

As you try to see things from your parents’ point of view, you may gain a deeper understanding of how much they care about you. It’s very possible that their nagging, questioning, and controlling are basically expressions of their desire to protect you, teach you right from wrong, and make sure that everything turns out right for you. Remember, too, that parents are only human. You may not like some of their ideas, and their methods of guiding you into the right path may seem ineffective and unreasonable to you, but it’s highly likely that they have your best interests at heart.

Bottom line: respect can’t be demanded. It has to be earned, and we often earn it by giving it to others. For the time being, you may need to deal with the frustration of having your freedoms curtailed a little bit. You may have to come to terms with being distrusted even when you don’t think you deserve it. Instead of striking back, try to sit down with your mom and dad and sort out your emotions prayerfully.

Perhaps you could also ask your parents about the possibility of seeking help together. Focus on the Family’s Counseling staff can provide you with referrals to qualified Christian therapists practicing in your local area. They’d also be pleased to discuss your situation with you over the phone – just give us a call.


If a title is currently unavailable through Focus on the Family, we encourage you to use another retailer.

Preparing for Adolescence: How to Survive the Coming Years of Change

Life on the Edge: The Next Generation’s Guide to a Meaningful Future

The Hope Line with Dawson McAllister

Young Life

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

Thank you [field id="first_name"] for signing up to get the free downloads of the Marrying Well Guides. 

Click the image below to access your guide and learn about the counter-cultural, biblical concepts of intentionality, purity, community and Christian compatibility.

(For best results use IE 8 or higher, Firefox, Chrome or Safari)

To stay up-to-date with the latest from Boundless, sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter.

If you have any comments or questions about the information included in the Guide, please send them to [email protected]

Click here to return to Boundless

Focus on the Family

Thank you for submitting this form. You will hear from us soon. 

The Daily Citizen

The Daily Citizen from Focus on the Family exists to be your most trustworthy news source. Our team of analysts is devoted to giving you timely and relevant analysis of current events and cultural trends – all from a biblical worldview – so that you can be inspired and assured that the information you share with others comes from a reliable source.

Alive to Thrive is a biblical guide to preventing teen suicide. Anyone who interacts with teens can learn how to help prevent suicidal thinking through sound practical and clinical advice, and more importantly, biblical principles that will provide a young person with hope in Christ.

Bring Your Bible to School Day Logo Lockup with the Words Beneath

Every year on Bring Your Bible to School Day, students across the nation celebrate religious freedom and share God’s love with their friends. This event is designed to empower students to express their belief in the truth of God’s Word–and to do so in a respectful way that demonstrates the love of Christ.

Focus on the Family’s® Foster Care and Adoption program focuses on two main areas:

  • Wait No More events, which educate and empower families to help waiting kids in foster care

  • Post-placement resources for foster and adoptive families

Christian Counselors Network

Find Christian Counselors, Marriage & Family Therapists, Psychologists, Social Workers and Psychiatrists near you! Search by location, name or specialty to find professionals in Focus on the Family’s Christian Counselors Network who are eager to assist you.

Boundless is a Focus on the Family community for Christian young adults who want to pursue faith, relationships and adulthood with confidence and joy.

Through reviews, articles and discussions, Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live.

Have you been looking for a way to build your child’s faith in a fun and exciting way?
Adventures in Odyssey® audio dramas will do just that. Through original audio stories brought to life by actors who make you feel like part of the experience; these fictional, character-building dramas use storytelling to teach lasting truths.

Focus on the Family’s Hope Restored all-inclusive intensives offer marriage counseling for couples who are facing an extreme crisis in their marriage, and who may even feel they are headed for divorce.