Why Is My Child Such a Jerk? How to Deal With a Disrespectful Child

Medically Reviewed on 4/13/2022
Why Is My Child Such a Jerk
As most parents know, kids can be jerks. Here are common reasons why they may be acting out and how you can deal with a disrespectful child

As most parents know, kids can be jerks. Whether it’s refusing to listen to you or throwing a tantrum when they don’t get their way, your child may have obnoxious moments that can threaten your sanity. 

Reasons your child may be displaying disrespectful behavior include:

  • Poor problem-solving skills
  • Attention-seeking
  • Coping with difficult changes such as divorce
  • Problems at school or friends

Here are common behavioral problems in children and what you can do to manage them.

How to deal with a disrespectful child

Your child talks back and yells at you.

Kids often do this when they are frustrated or disappointed. Acknowledge your child’s feelings and assure them that you understand where they are coming from.

Staying calm can not only help you avoid doing or saying something that will only worsen the situation but it can also help your child calm down as well.

Your child disobeys or ignores you.

Your child may be testing their boundaries. As children grow older, they crave more and more freedom. When they don’t feel that they have enough space, they may act out.

Make it clear what your rules and boundaries are, but allow your child to make some choices that are appropriate for their age. If they disobey clear rules, be consistent in how you follow through with the consequences.

Your child begs or whines.

Whining and begging are common among children. However, you can help your child learn how to deal with disappointment in a more respectful way when they see that some things are not open to negotiation. Being firm about when “no” means “no” can help your child understand that sometimes they need to take “no” for an answer.

Your child is rude to other people.

If your child is acting mean to other people, they may be hurting or lonely. Try to find the root cause of the issue by asking if there is something troubling them at school or home. They could be dealing with a bully or stressed out by something going on in the family.

When should you seek help for your child?

While behaving like a jerk is to be expected to some extent, your child may need more help if their behavior is persistent and interferes with their daily functioning. Talk to a therapist, parent coach, or school counselor if your child is:

  • Getting into trouble 
  • Getting bad grades
  • Having trouble with friends
  • Acting out at home
  • Becoming sad, quiet, or withdrawn
  • Having trouble sleeping


The abbreviated term ADHD denotes the condition commonly known as: See Answer

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Medically Reviewed on 4/13/2022
Image Source: iStock Images

How to Teach Good Behavior: Tips for Parents. https://www.aafp.org/afp/2002/1015/p1463.html

Help! My Kid Is a Jerk! https://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/help-my-kid-is-jerk