Teen and Pre-teen Boys; Rude, Disrespectful Behavior

Updated on April 01, 2010
C.L. asks from Saint Paul, MN
12 answers

My son is 13. His friends are 12 and 13. I am fed up with the rude and disrespectful behavior of his friends when they are at our house. I am mostly a SAHM so our house is often the spot where boys from the neighborhood congregate. I have been happy with that so I can monitor what goes on and which video games they play, etc. However, I am about ready to tell some of his friends they are no longer welcome here. They grab food and drinks without asking and then leave the wrappers and garbage lay around the family room and the yard. I've even found food and dirty wrappers smashed into the family room carpet and couch. I don't mind giving them food and drink, but I like them to ask first and to know what they are taking. One time they ate the Valentine's candy I had bought as a special treat for my younger son. They can be very destructive to our things. Today one of them was smashing my younger son's sidewalk chalk with a baseball bat. I've talked to them about many of these things, but it seems like they either keep doing some of it or once I stop one rude behavior they find another (i.e. the chalk today). There are other things they've done that are just generally disrespectful of our home and property. I've told my boys I hope they don't behave like that at other people's homes and they say the do not. I do usually get positive reports about their manners and behavior so I hope it's true. Our home is clean, but it tends to be a little cluttered with books and toys. Do they think it's o.k. to do these things because we aren't the most organized house in the neighborhood? Is this typical behavior for boys of this age group? Are my expectations unreasonable? So far, I have talked to the boys, but have not said anything to their parents. I have also asked my older son to stop rude behaviors when he sees them. He was in the house when the chalk smashing took place and told them to stop when he discovered it. Any insight is appreciated!

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So What Happened?

Thank you all for your responses. It is comforting to know I don't seem to have unreasonable expectations. However, I think some of you are right that I probably do "go Mom" on them, and they tune me out or make fun of me behind my back because I get angry. I don't know this for sure, but it wouldn't surprise me. My husband isn't around when these behaviors take place (usually after school), but he does sometimes play baseball and stuff with some of these boys. I have asked him to talk to them the next time they play ball or whatever. I am going to come up with some House Rules (basic, nothing unreasonable) and let them know what my expectations are and that if they don't follow the rules they will be asked to go home. Even before this post, I had enlisted the help of my son telling him to stop rude behaviors he witnesses and having him help clean up after the friends. I haven't had much luck in the past talking to at least one set of these parents, but I will keep that in mind as an option if the rules and expectations don't help. Although I am very frustrated and disappointed right now, I would rather try to work with the boys than chase them all away. Besides, we have a good "Capture the Flag" yard. (-:

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answers from Kansas City on

"it's time to go home guys."

that's all you should have to say. they know better if you've talked to them before. just like a toddler. everytime you see the behavior give the same response. "it's time to go home." eventually they'll get the point. (and typical? maybe. acceptable? NO.)

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answers from Savannah on

Wooo Mama! Do you have your hands full or what!

If it were me, I would use all the manipulative tools in my toolbox!

They obviously like coming over. They wanna be there. There one tool to your advantage. Your son wants friends. Another tool. You supply ALL the food in that house, as well as access to games, TV etc... Tool!

I'd be calm, cool and relaxed (if you flip out or try to get all "Mommy" on them, they may wind up just making fun of you and leaving - which will break your sons heart and also ruin any respect they may have ever had for you.)..... But - I would just simply make clear house rules

Not emotionally charged.
Not intimidating.
Not complicated.

A+B= C

Wanna grab a snack? Ask.
Wanna play a video game? Help clean up first.
Wanna watch a movie? Don't throw popcorn at each other.

You may have to go so far as putting a lock on the pantry. No joke. You may also have to stow away some of those favorite video games until they realize you are in control.

They need to see that you're on their side! You are the one that dishes out the good stuff - but you're also the one that can dish out the bad. THEY'RE the ones that decide which it'll be.

But remember! Dont get aggressive. You'll open yourself up to mockery - these are adolescent boys. Be nonchalant. Have the "I don't really care" attitude, without the "not caring" part.

Save your temper tantrums and "HOW DARE YOU!" speeches for internal dialogue that will motivate you - but don't start throwing that at them.

You're holding all the cards. Just play 'em right! You can do it!

....also - if all else fails and it really is out of control... peer pressure is great. Let your son know that this is absolutely not going to happen. Period. So if he wants his friends to come over, he better help you keep them in check. Don't let him turn into one of those kids either!

And talk to parents. Explain what kind of problems you're having, and that you'd love to have their kid over, but that its getting to be impossible to deal with them.

That may help.

All else fails - your home becomes off limits, but hopefully you'll find a better solution!

Best of luck!

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answers from Detroit on

you need to talk to their parents, because you have spoken to them and they have not taken heed i think that is your next move. now when you talk to the parents and find out that the reason their children act the way that they do is because they are the same way you will have to tell these young men they are not welcome to your home PERIOD! that is your house and if they have choosen to respect it and your rules then..oh well don't come back. that is your house and why shoulod you live in filth and disrepect. the ones that get their act together ler them come over but the others SIONARA! GOOD LUCK!



answers from Provo on

Look at www.oneweekparentingmiracle.com. This is directed at preadolescent kids who are acting out. One part I like a lot is the three house rules: 1) Obey the first time 2)Respect yourself others and property 3) Talk it out instead of act it out.

If it were me, I would tell his friends they need to go home now when they behave inappropriately, and then follow the program with your son once they are out of the picture. I know that sounds extreme, but it's important that your son learns what is and isn't appropriate in your home so he can be a responsible adult.

I hope this helps, it sounds like a frustrating situation! Good luck!


answers from Jacksonville on

I wish I knew the miracle cure for you, lol.
When you "talked to them" about their offenses... were any consequences laid out? i.e., if I find more wrappers on the ground/floor/sofa/etc then I will have to consider not allowing you to come over any longer. If you cannot be respectful of our home (putting trash in the trash, asking before helping oneself -- and YES spell out what "respectful to your home" means for them).. then I will not be able to allow you to be here much in the future.

I also would recommend doing this on a one-on-one basis... not as a group announcement. Pull one child aside and quietly inform him that "the last time you guys all played ___ I found x/y/z afterwards... if I find that again you won't be allowed back until you can learn to respect our home. I want you to be able to come and play here; I enjoy having you. But you have to respect me and our home while you are here. If you have a question about what to do with your trash, ask me or __ (your son) where it goes."

Once you get the trash dilemma working, then you can make rules about other issues more easily...

We had a problem with the neighborhood kids taking bottled water from our garage when they got thirsty when outside playing. We told our kids. But it continued. So, we told the kids directly. No need to be mean about it... but they aren't there for the kids' convenience.. they are there for us to grab for the car on the way out. The kids can run home for a drink, or ask for a cup from inside. We don't mind either. But we DO mind them helping themselves to the bottled water in the garage.

It takes directness and firmness, and one-on-one.



answers from Provo on

I work on a school bus and this is my first year with a junior high run and I now have my eyes opened!! Most of the boys on the bus are very rude. I am really glad about the behavior of my son. This behavior that you mention is pretty common but that does not mean that you have to deal with it. Just remember that it is YOUR home. More then likely they have never been taught any different. Tell them what you expect and if they can not follow your rules then it is time for them to leave. I don't think you are being too hard. Make sure they know that they are more then welcome if they respect your property.



answers from Honolulu on

Where is Dad in all of this?

Maybe you should tell the kids parents. And then not allow them over anymore....
AND, for the things they break in your home... keep a LOG of it... and the parent's should have to pay for it... or for the damage and clean up you have to do. That is simply NOT tolerable. Nor should you have to put up with it...
if these were my kids doing that, I would want to know... and I would certainly offer to correct it WITH you.... unless these kids' parents are just as rude and irresponsible as their kids.

Keep a LOG of what those kids do too... that are so flat out acting like brats.
OH- and take photos of all the mess/damage they do. REALLY. Therefore you have "proof" of what they are doing. If the kids lie about it.

Your expectations are not unreasonable....

Yes, you NEED to tell the parents of these kids. Definitely. Those kids are probably banking on the fact that you won't tell their parents. You need to do so. You are not their parent... and they cannot trample all over you nor your home. And get your Husband involved in this.

Punishments are of course, in order.

All the best,



answers from San Diego on

Hello C.,

You rock! Opening your home in this society is POWERFUL!!! Many have shared from their heart here and now its time to reflect on your own. The reason you began this quest was because of the compassionate mother you are. Being there for your family rather than farming them out like as the parents around you have chosen can change the course of history for multiple families and for generations to come.

Having spoken for groups like "Tough Love" whose philosophy sounds like a cross between Super Nanny and Cujo I invite you to listen for their real hearts. You'll discover a great deal about your own child's in the process. His choice of friends and their behavior is their way of reaching out although it sounds bizarre. Non-verbal communication is more powerful than anything they could tell you about life in their world. If you only knew how wrong things are compared to your generation you would cry with them. Create a safe place where they can express themselves and benefit from your compassion at the same time. They are already proving that yours is a warm and inviting place to wear their pants a little too low.

There are so many tools that could empower your community. How would you feel about sharing what it was like when you were their age and asking for their feedback on your experience? Then as a part of that intro ease into a brainstorming session that invites them to create a strategy for how they'll care for their valued after school hangout. Pre-planning the session with your children and family will teach them leadership and negotiation skills. Your spouse might even enjoy sharing a similar scenario that he is facing at work that will help your children appreciate what it takes for him to support your ability to love so many. You have touched my heart and if I can be of assistance please let me know. I have to stop this at some point but you've got a powerful cheerleader in me dear lady! I hope you know that Mom!

Believe well!

A. Z.
Coming soon!



answers from San Francisco on

Nope, your expectations aren't unreasonable. I always make my children responsible for their friends' behavior, since they know my rules; but I also don't think it would hurt for you to send the friends home once when they really cross the line. They'll learn pretty quickly.


answers from Dallas on

Before you ban them from coming over, I would do as the other mom suggested. Pull them aside individually and tell them exactly what you expect from them. Then if they cross the line tell them to leave. They will figure it out.
You are doing them a huge favor because their parents have not taught them how to behave. I tell my boys about some of their friends--they may live with an "adult" but they don't really have parents. For that reason it probably would not do any good to talk to their parents about it, unless you know them well enough.



answers from Pittsburgh on

My son is a lot younger, but the way I feel is, if these kids are in YOUR house, then YOU may speak to them just like you would to your own son. What's wrong with saying "Hey, guys, throw away ALL of the garbage please!" or "Stop wasting that chalk! It costs money!" or something like that? Your house/your rules!



answers from Kansas City on

Hi C.,
I agree with a couple of the other posts that you should be commended for having the house to come to. Our son is 19 and the boys always knew they were welcome here. You know where they are and what they are doing and that alone is priceless!
BUT, it comes with responsibility too. I guess I was always very fortunate that I didn't have those issues. I was friends will all the boys moms and they knew that once I kicked their behind for bad behavior I'd turn them over to their own mother who would do the same. And all of us moms talked and agreed.
I would start by talking to the parents. Say that you enjoy and don't mind the boys over but sometimes they get a little out of hand. If it continues, you may have to put a stop to it for a while.
Make your son semi-responsible for his friends behavior. If they leave the trash he has to pick it up. If they destroy it, he has to at least help with repairing/replacing it. It may be that these are NOT the boys you really want around and that will come out.
I don't know if it will help or hurt, but when our son was 17 or 18? He had 24 boys over to watch some sporting event. ALL boys were respectful, spoke to my husband and I when they came and went, AND cleaned up after themselves. But again, they knew I'd be talking to their moms if they didn't!
Good Luck and really, enjoy it. This time with your son home just happens once.

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