It’s NOT Personal: 8 (Not So Nice) Things Teens Say and Why You Should Keep Your Composure

This post: It’s NOT Personal: 8 (Not So Nice) Things Teens Say and Why You Should Keep Your Composure

Written by: Marybeth Bock

When was the last time your teen said something that hit a nerve, hurt your feelings or, worse, struck straight to the core of your heart? 

As a parent of teens, you’ve probably realized by now that teens can say some pretty mean things. Sometimes, the words that barrel out of their mouths bring us to tears and make us feel rejected, taken for granted, or just plain furious.

I’m a firm believer that (in most cases, anyway) they don’t mean to be mean. More often than not, they simply don’t realize how deeply their words hurt us. They’re just being their normal moody, emotionally triggered, boundary-pushing, rather selfish (they can’t help it) selves. 

When it does happen, just remember, you’re not alone. Nearly every teen has blurted out a doozie at one time or another. More importantly, try not to let it get to you.

Walk away, revisit the conversation later when you’re both calm, communicate your feelings, boundaries, and “line in the sand” with your teen AND establish consequences if they cross the “respect line.” Of course, give your teen room to have a crummy day, – no one’s perfect. But don’t tolerate continued blatant disrespect.

Bottom line, don’t take anything they say personally.

It’s NOT Personal: 8 (Not So Nice) Things Teens Say and Why You Should Keep Your Composure


1. “My Friends’ Parents are WAY More Chill Than You Guys Are.”

What this typically means is the “chill” parents let their kids do stuff you likely would never let yours do, and, that’s their prerogative. Every parent has their own style and limitations with their kids. That doesn’t mean you should feel guilty or take it personally if your parenting style doesn’t align with your teen’s friends’ parents.

Keep in mind there are always going to be parents who are cooler, more chill, and more lenient than you are. But this parenting gig isn’t a competition. Your job isn’t to worry about or compete with ANY OTHER parent. Your job is to do what’s in the best interest of your kids and your family. Period.

2. “You Never Do Anything for Me.”

This heartless comment can leave you downright speechless. But it’s just another blatant reminder that our kids are well, just that…KIDS. They have a lot to learn about life, the sacrifices we make for them, the worries that keep us up at night, and the time, money, effort, and unconditional love that we put forth day in and day out to raise them right.

I know it’s maddening, but you can’t let comments like this get to you. Don’t forget, too, that your teen’s brain is under massive construction and that it won’t be fully developed until they’re 25. Until then, it’s not uncommon for them (especially young teens) to be in full-blown “ME” mode.

3. “OMG, You’re SO Annoying!”

I didn’t realize I was the world’s loudest cereal eater until I had teenagers. Seriously, I’m not sure teenagers realize just how annoying they are. (But that’s an entirely different topic.)

The fact is, when you’re living with teenagers, there’s a good chance you’re going to annoy them… a lot. Whether you put your foot down and make them clean their bedroom, lecture them about texting and driving or embarrass them by sneaking in a quick kiss on the cheek (God forbid) before they hop out of the car for school, you really have to get used to the idea that you’re going to annoy the smithereens out your teen.

I mean, sure, you should be respectful of your teen (AND vice versa) and try your best not to annoy them (good luck with that), but if you do and they flip out, just let it go. It comes with the territory! 

4. “Geez… You’re SO Old School. People Don’t Talk Like That Anymore.”

Teens are famous for making their parents feel uncool, out of touch, and outdated. But don’t let this comment rile you up. You know better.

You might not know the hippest songs, the latest teen slang, or be able to name the top name brands teens are into today, but you sure as heck danced around the block a few times in your teen years and you “get” a whole lot more than they realize. And, let’s not forget some things never change. Times change. Fashions change. Slang changes. Trends change. But teenagers? Well, they’re still teenagers regardless of what era you’re in. 

5. “I Can’t Wait Until I Can Move Out and Get Away From Here!”

Teenagers are notorious for wanting to grow up too fast, thinking they’ve got it all figured out, wishing they didn’t have to follow our rules, and thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. They’re fully convinced that once they’re free of our oppressive rules and unrealistic expectations, they’ll be blissfully living their best life!

Well…you and I both know, they just don’t get it… yet. But one day they will. And, when they do, they’ll be thankful you stood your ground, that you did your best to do what was in their best interest, kept on loving them unconditionally, and brushed off all their annoying comments like this one.

6. “Your Outfit is Really Ugly.” 

Who among us hasn’t walked into a room thinking we’re rockin’ an outfit, only to be met with our teen’s withering glance or a rude comment about our appearance? Take a deep breath and remember what it was like being a teenager when you were embarrassed by your dad’s goofy socks and sandals or your mom’s homemade crocheted sweater. Those are the things we look back on and smile about.

Anyway, if your teen thinks your wardrobe is in desperate need of a makeover, let them take on the challenge of helping you get hip! It might just be a bonding moment!

7. “Go Away. I Don’t Want to Talk to You.”

Teenagers need lots and lots of space. Even the most social teens will escape to their bedrooms for hours to listen to music, unwind, scroll through their phones, or Facetime friends. And, to them, their bedroom is off-limits to us unless we’re invited in. (I can hear the quiet cringe of  “My house my rules” parents now.) 

So… when your teen tosses out a comment like this or gives you the “You’re leaving now, right?” look when you walk in their bedroom, know that it’s pretty darn normal. Sure, you should expect respectful behavior, but also know that your teen is quietly pulling away and gaining independence and their way of doing that doesn’t always come off as “nice.”  Expect a few bumps in the road along the way.

8. “I Hate You!”

First of all, they DON’T hate you. Now that we got that out of the way, you really can’t take this one personally. When they hurl this hateful comment your way, they’re looking for “maximum effect.” In other words, they’re looking to get a serious rise out of you. Whatever you do, don’t give them the reaction they’re looking for.

Chances are your teen’s frustration is on overload and they don’t have the emotional capacity or maturity to communicate their true feelings. Instead, walk away and give them time and space to decompress and then revisit the conversation later when they’re calmer AND more respectful. 

Remember, you are your teen’s safe space, and it’s normal for them to take all their frustrations out on you… the person who will love them even at their worst. (Take it as a compliment.)

Adam Price, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist with more than 20 years of experience working with children and teens, offers these wise words to parents:

“Obviously, you shouldn’t tolerate blatant meanness or disrespect. Remember, though, that you are an easy target because you’re safe. You will never stop loving your teen and they know it. Taking things personally leads to anger, frustration, hurt, and guilt. It’s these things that destroy your equilibrium, not your child.

In the heat of an argument remember, it’s not personal. If they hurt your feelings, give them time and approach them later when a productive conversation is more likely to happen.” Above all, just love ’em through it all, parents…

Marybeth Bock, MPH, is Mom to two young adults and one delightful hound dog. She has logged time as a military spouse, childbirth educator, college instructor, and freelance writer. She lives in Arizona and thoroughly enjoys research and writing – as long as iced coffee is involved. Her work can be found on numerous websites and in two books. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram.


If you enjoyed reading, “It’s NOT Personal: 8 (Not So Nice) Things Teens Say and Why You Should Keep Your Composure,” check out these other posts!

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