6 Tips to Improve Your Teen's Attitude

Although it's normal for teenagers to have a bad attitude on occasions, there are a number of strategies that can help you cope with this stage of life in a healthy and positive way.
6 Tips to Improve Your Teen's Attitude
Natalia Cobos Serrano

Written and verified by the social educator Natalia Cobos Serrano.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

It’s quite common for teenagers to show a bad attitude at times during their adolescent years. This bad behavior will, sooner or later, end up disappearing once this stage is over. However, it’s a difficult time for all concerned and, in this article, you’ll discover some tips to manage and improve your teen’s attitude.

How can you improve your teen’s attitude?

1. Establish rules together

Family rules help to maintain a healthy balance at home, while, at the same time, promoting responsibility and respect, as well as empathy for others. Likewise, the fact that all family members are taking part in setting those rules makes everyone feel really involved.

For example, if you agree as a family that you should always talk to and treat each other with respect, then you can fall back on this rule if your teen starts being disrespectful towards you during a conversation or argument. Remind them that they agreed to always treat you with respect.

2. Don’t negatively label your child

There is a theory that goes by the name of the Pygmalion Effect. It states that if a child or adolescent constantly receives comments such as “you’re lazy”, then they’ll end up accepting that that’s what they’re like and will act accordingly.

6 Tips to Improve Your Teen's Attitude

Try to focus on their behavior and tell your child how it makes you feel. Say things like: “It annoys me when you behave like this”, or “it saddens me that you’re not trying hard enough.”

3. Praise your child and reinforce their positive behavior

Obviously, parents can’t turn a blind eye when their children show bad behavior. However, if children notice that their parents only pay attention to them when they misbehave, then this may actually be a stimulus to keep behaving that way.

Because of that, parents should praise their children frequently. By praising your child every time they show a positive attitude, you’re encouraging them to repeat that good behavior.

4. Listening to their concerns is a way to improve your teen’s attitude

Downplaying your teenage child’s problems or concerns is a very common mistake that parents make. In general, we often consider teenage problems to be rather unimportant and irrelevant. Because of that, we can end up trivializing them.

Try to listen to your child when they need to share their problems and concerns with you. Avoid minimizing their importance or changing the subject. On many occasions, simply letting them talk about the subject and trying to empathize with them can be a great relief for them.

5. Communicate assertively to improve your teen’s attitude

For Professor Preston Ni, it’s crucial to know how to use assertive communication when dealing with difficult teenagers. To do so, you must strengthen your position as a parent by using negotiation skills or learning to say “no” diplomatically.

In this way, you’ll help to reduce potential resistance from your teen and improve their attitude. You’ll also be a great role model for assertive behavior.

6 Tips to Improve Your Teen's Attitude

6. Share your feelings with your child

Quite often, a bad attitude comes from the stress and frustration your child may feel when they don’t know how to manage their feelings or express themselves. Just as parents want their children to express their emotions and feelings, their children need them to do the same.

If, as a parent, you show your feelings openly in front of your children, then they’ll trust you more. As a result, they’ll feel safer when talking about their own feelings. In short, if we don’t teach them how to express ourselves, then how are they going to learn how to do it?

“Good habits formed in childhood make all the difference.”


In conclusion, it’s inevitable that your children will have many mood swings in their adolescence years, and will often show a bad attitude. However, if you use assertive communication, establish family norms, and look to create a relationship of trust with your child, among other things, then you’ll be able to cope with this complicated stage of life in the healthiest and most positive way.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Ni, P. (s.f.). How to communicate effectively and handle difficult teenagers. Communication coaching.
  • Schreck, A., & Riestra, M. P. (2015). Misión imposible: cómo comunicarnos con los adolescentes. Grijalbo.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.