I’m often reminded of how emotionally crippling it is when you realize you haven’t resolved authority issues with your child. I think that the worst thing you can do is to begin making sudden, strenuous attempts to discipline your child and make him accept your authority. It is not uncommon for kids to be disrespectful and defiant and it takes a lot of self-control to speak respectfully to a child who is verbally aggressive. Forcing the issue (and I can say I have fallen into this trap in the classroom), leads you to become impatient and even reckless. This type of action can precipitate a real rebellion.
The answer to this problem may be counter-intuitive. But, here’s my suggestion. If you haven’t been able to resolve the authority issues in your home by the time your child is a young teenager, the best thing to do is act as if you’ve resolved them and move on. If you cut your losses and stay focused in the now, it will allow you to move ahead. Remember, parent-child relationships are a very forgiving one. Resolve to not compound a past mistake with yet another. Feeling guilty or angry will only keep you from having the respectful relationship you and your child desire from this point forward. I expect you will have your work cut out for you, because it’s the teenagers’ rite of passage to be confrontational and cause upheavals. You, on the other hand need to be forward-looking and in control of yourself.