Gransnet forums


How do I deal with a rude 12 year old nephew?

(159 Posts)
singingnutty Sat 26-Nov-22 13:36:17

My niece and her family are coming to stay with us for a few days after Christmas - there are two boys, aged 10 and 12. The twelve year old can be very rude and is going through a bad phase at the moment. I was at their house last weekend and he was objectionable - calling everything we talked about rubbish and showing off by shouting and talking over people. His father made no attempt to stop him doing this, his poor mother was very embarrassed and he took no notice when she asked him to behave. I have seen him like this in the past and unfortunately, when I gently made it clear he was being rude to me, he got worse. I am really worried that he will behave in this way when he is staying here, and even though it should be 'my house, my rules' I do not think this will work. I have suggested to DH that if the boy starts with this behaviour he should be the one to make it clear that it is unacceptable. What would be a good further strategy to have up my sleeve? I get the impression that the boy doesn't listen to what women have to say.

Hithere Sat 26-Nov-22 13:41:53

The 12 year old is a teenager- being this rebellious is honestly not a surprise

I would cancel the visit if I were you

You know there are going to be issues and you and your dh cannot parent a child that is not yours.

Hithere Sat 26-Nov-22 14:01:04

Or they stay elsewhere and they leave when it gets unpleasant

I remember being dragged to visit family at that age when I really wanted to stay home and be with my friends

This of course is not your case but illustrating there could be a reason for his behaviour

grandtanteJE65 Sat 26-Nov-22 14:04:21

I would phone the boy's father now and discuss his lack of comments on what both you and the boy's mother regard as rudeness.

I am not hinting, that the boy is not being rude, and apologise for my clumsy phraseology.

Most teenagers go through this phase of being rude and self-opinionated ( I know I did) and it will not get better unless the boy is kindly but firmly made aware that even if he does not intend to be rude, he is actually being rude and making himself unpleasant.

Reading your post, I wondered if the boy is acting like this because he knows that his parents are not in agreement about what constitues rudeness and is either trying to get a reaction out of his father, or trying to provoke his mother or you into losing your tempers with him.

Tell the boy's father that you find his son's behaviour annoying and you would like his help in dealing with it.

If he won't or can't see you point of view, there is little you can do, except what you already are doing.

If on the other hand the boy's father admits that he is at a loss how to cope, then you might be able to work out a strategy together.

I would let them come, having invited them. But you can, and should, get your husband to back you up if the boy is rude while staying in your house.

I take it ignoring the boy doesn't work, or turning round and saying, "Now we have all heard you, so please do not go on about this. I personally don't agree, nor do I wish to discuss the subject with you. And like Professor McGonagall from Harry Potter, I do not generally allow people to interupt me. Please respect this."

Most twelve year olds, I in 40 odd years of teaching have come across, do simmer down when told calmly but frankly that their behaviour is unpleasant.

Namsnanny Sat 26-Nov-22 14:05:16

Please dont put your DH in the middle of this

Leave the room
If he is directly rude to you and you cant exersize control over your own behaviour, try laughing and say how he reminds you of 'Kevin' on tv, then leave him alone
But ignoring is probably the best reaction.

swampy1961 Sat 26-Nov-22 14:21:12

There are several ways this could be approached and others may agree or not and present their own suggestions.
If you are likely to see him before they come to you after Christmas and he continues with his behaviour - you could make it clear to him that in your house that it isn't acceptable. Should he choose to act in that way then he can stay in his room and leave everyone to enjoy themselves without him. This strategy could also wait until he is actually at your house. Then plan to do things without him - if he hears everyone else having a good time he might just buck up his ideas.

If he says things are rubbish in conversation then look straight at him and say okay, now we are listening, tell us why you think it is rubbish and present his thoughts. He should not be allowed to say - it just is!! He is being given the opportunity to think and act like a young adult so get on with it!! He is being listened to - so say what he wants to say - no matter how ridiculous or reasonable his thoughts are. Listen to them and then have a conversation.

Unfortunately his parents are not 'parenting' if they leave him to carry on this type of behaviour. It seems as if he is attention seeking - and if he acts up like this at Christmas time then your niece and family need to be told that they need to pack their bags and head home. (And maybe warn her that this could happen!!)
He needs to understand there are consequences for unacceptable behaviour and if that means they remove privileges or recently given presents or everyone misses out because of him then he needs to feel the guilt for spoiling things for other people.

Yammy Sat 26-Nov-22 14:25:18

Whatever the situation if he was rude to me I would get up and leave, and then it is up to his parents to come to a compromise about dealing with him.
We have a child that visits who did this and we all decided to leave the room when he started. When he did which was during a meal we all just got up and went and watched T.V. he came through and after a short while, he started again, so we went back to our meal.
Being a teenager is no excuse but I think I would explain to his parents, especially the one who is not helpful what will happen when he starts. Also, tell him that you do not answer rude people and ignore him and go out of his way.I went into the cloakroom and locked the door.

ginny Sat 26-Nov-22 14:30:04

I’m obviously at odds with most posters. A 12 year old should know how to behave and when he is being rude.
If he were rude time personally , I would definitely tell him so and ask him not to do/say it again,
Mind you why his parents are not pulling him up on it I don’t know.

Riverwalk Sat 26-Nov-22 14:33:35

Call me harsh but I don't tolerate such behaviour - and certainly not in my own house!

Just cancel and explain why.

VioletSky Sat 26-Nov-22 14:34:00

He is 12, quite a normal stage of development really.

Best way to teach children how to be respectful is by showing them respect.

If he has opinions and ideas, listen as you would like to be listened too.

If he is rude, don't be rude back, don't undermine him by having an adult try to put him in some sort of place, just leave the conversation.

Children learn by example

It's not fun for most 12 year olds to hang out with older relatives rather than peers so include him as an equal with respect and you will probably get it back

Riverwalk Sat 26-Nov-22 14:35:43

He is 12, quite a normal stage of development really.

No it's not!

VioletSky Sat 26-Nov-22 14:42:38

I've raised 4 past 12 so far and we are doing OK

I have 3 child related qualifications so can only pass on what I've learned

Sorry you don't agree but 12 is a tricky age and far too often no understanding is given to those going through puberty and entering their teens that, they can go through the exact same stress and social difficulties that adults can and that the example set matters.

That doesn't mean not setting boundaries but it does mean not basically sending the message to a 12 year old that they are "just a child" with rules most adults would tell you to get lost for, to follow.

Riverwalk Sat 26-Nov-22 15:09:04

I'm sure you are all doing OK but I don't agree that it's normal for 12 year olds to be so obnoxious as detailed by the OP.

I know full well that tweens can be difficult and moody but it's not normal for them to be so unpleasant that the OP is anxious about them staying at her home.

I also have child-related qualifications and am well versed in their social development.

VioletSky Sat 26-Nov-22 15:11:42

Hmm not sure we have read the same OP then

Smileless2012 Sat 26-Nov-22 15:25:11

Rudeness is never acceptable but as he is not your child there's not a lot you can do so my advice is to ignore him singingnutty. Respond only when he's being polite. A good lesson for him to learn is he wont be engaged with when he's being rude.

Good luck.

ParlorGames Sat 26-Nov-22 15:26:48

I might be tempted to ask him just what he thinks you should be talking about when he objects to the subject of your conversation. After all, he could be bored or feeling sidelined although I am not condoning his behaviour.

welbeck Sat 26-Nov-22 15:27:15

what's the marriage like ?
sounds like the man does not support the woman, and maybe the boy is modelling himself on his father by his domineering and dismissive attitude to women.
as they would say over on MN, this is a DH problem, rather than a DC one.

Hithere Sat 26-Nov-22 15:27:59


Elegran Sat 26-Nov-22 15:28:58

It is on setting the boundaries that we all have different perspectives.

I don't believe that it does a 12-year-old any harm to be shown that other people are just as sensitive as he is to having what they say treated as rubbish, and if he wants to have his own thoughts and opinions valued, he would be advised to be polite about what others are saying. Just as an adult can disagree with him without telling him he is spouting garbage, he can also disagree with an adult without flexing his adolescent ego by being insulting. Learning to do that without overkill is called growing up. Sometimes learning can be painful.

Perhaps he has been treated like dirt and that is why he thinks it OK to treat the OP as dirt? It doesn't sounds as though the OP has been doing that, so she doesn't deserve to receive the treatment.

VioletSky can advocate the "I am a doormat, please wipe your feet on me if it makes you happy that there is someone worth less than you are" if she likes, but I wouldn't call it the best reaction.

VioletSky Sat 26-Nov-22 16:05:39


When adults can't speak civilly to each other I'm not sure what they expect children to learn

I am not a doormat

I just believe children are worthy of respect and consideration in conversation, especially when invited to events that are boring for them, especially if they are treated like a nuisance.

I've met enough adults who resort to rudeness when they aren't agreed with to know this is a stage of development some never grow out of.

I don't raise children to be disrespectful without good cause and I model that to them by making sure they feel included and heard.

Eloethan Sat 26-Nov-22 16:09:16

I think it's probably quite common for 12 year olds to be a bit pushy and self important, though that isn't necessarily the case - it's very much an individual thing. Shouting and describing people's thoughts and opinions as "rubbish" is really unacceptable though.

I would find it annoying for a young person to describe my opinions as "rubbish" but perhaps people have said that to him in the past, so the example has been set. I think I would be inclined to say there's no point discussing this if you have to resort to rudeness and then I would walk away.

1summer Sat 26-Nov-22 16:23:32

I would not tolerate a 12 year old being rude to me without saying something. My two children when they were young and teenagers were always brought up to be very polite and respectful of other people.
People used to say what good manners they had, and were a pleasure to be round.
At home was a different matter they often were vile teenagers who were often difficult to handle, I think this is fairly normal.
They are both adults now who are lovely people and my daughter is bringing her daughter up to have the same good manners.

pandapatch Sat 26-Nov-22 16:23:37

Would try to include the boys in board games etc so they feel involved, but if he is just not interested or rude I would suggest to him that he might be happier doing his own thing elsewhere in the house.

VioletSky Sat 26-Nov-22 16:26:25


Just leave the conversation.

It's the most clear but non confrontational message to send.

If it is more a situation that they are passionate about a topic that isn't agreed on, I'd change the subject to something less inflammatory

Families are different generations and often have different opinions about things.

I've actually learnt quite a lot from mine

JaneJudge Sat 26-Nov-22 16:49:11

Can't you just ignore it? I think it can be normal for 12 year olds too. It doesn't sound anything out of the ordinary or anything of concern. Your dh doesn't need to get involved