Rude and Obnoxious Teen Behavior at School

If your teen's teachers have let you know that he's rude and obnoxious at school, you are probably upset and embarrassed. This type of behavior is usually normal in teens and is their way of asserting and standing up for themselves, notes James, Lehman, MSW, with the Empowering Parents website 14. While the school will probably take action for his behavior, reinforcing the rules about being rude and obnoxious at home can help your child refrain next time.

Why They Do It

There are several factors that might contribute to rude and obnoxious behavior in your teen when he's at school 1. With all the teen television programs available, your child is likely being exposed to a slip in morals, according to Kathryn Montgomery, Ph.D., author of "Generation Digital: Politics, Commerce and Childhood in the Age of the Internet." If your teen watches a show where the kids speak rudely to teachers and act obnoxious during class, he might try it out for himself. After all, it makes everyone on television laugh and the kids don't get in all that much trouble for it. Some teens act rude and obnoxious because they want to exert their control over their own lives or want to look "cool" in front of peers, say by declaring that they won't be doing their homework because it's dumb.

Common Behaviors

The types of rude and obnoxious behavior your teen uses with you are probably the same ones he uses at school 1. Eye-rolling, heavy sighs, talking back, saying sarcastic things and yelling are actions your teen has probably tried with you. At school, he might roll his eyes and huff back to his desk when his teacher asks him to correct his math homework. Your teen might talk back or yell at teachers or the principal if he's called out on his behavior, especially in front of friends.

Stopping It

You can't hang over your teen's shoulder at school and make sure he isn't being rude and obnoxious. However, you can put a stop to it at home, which might be enough to translate into better behavior at school too. If you make it clear that the rude and obnoxious attitude won't be tolerated, he's more likely to quit it with other adults too. Lehman suggests ignoring things like eye-rolling. If your teen doesn't get a response from you about it, chances are he'll quit doing it because it isn't achieving what he wants it to. Don't ignore more serious behaviors like yelling and back talk, though, because it could make your child think it's okay, adds Michele Borba, Ed.D., author of "Don't Give Me That Attitude!" Make it clear that the behavior won't be tolerated at home or at school.


Just like letting things go at home, ignoring his poor behavior at school gives your teen the message that he can get away with it. Regardless of the school's punishment for rude and obnoxious behavior, disciplining your child at home too lets your teen know that he can't do things like that without consequences. Removing social opportunities is an effective way to teach your child that rude and obnoxious behavior means he doesn't get to spend time with others since oftentimes a teen acts out at school as a way to impress friends or gain approval from peers. Guidance is also important, says Lehman. Teach your child how to behave and guide him in the right direction when he doesn't.