Preteen Behaviors: Should I take it personally?

by EPI Staff on March 9, 2011

Q: I have been friends with my neighbors for many years.  I have known their children since they were born, as well. Their oldest child is now a preteen, and suddenly acts as though he doesn’t know me.  It seems disrespectful that he doesn’t even say hello to me anymore.  Should I address his actions?

A: He’s old enough to now how to greet others in a friendly way; he’s probably just going through a temporary age-related manners lapse. Don’t even think of correcting his behavior; that’s up to his parents, who should sit him down later on and remind him of the right way to welcome guests. In the meantime, your role is to rise above it. Offer him a kind, upbeat greeting: “Hi, Chris! I’m so glad to see you again!” After you’ve hugged each of his parents, you could add: “Is it OK if I give you a hug?” You’ll be setting a good example for him without giving him a lecture.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Vallerie March 9, 2011 at 6:03 pm

My son at 14 attended a manners class put on by a local department store. I want the world to know how much it has benefited him in his, work, school, and every relationship he has ever had. He is memorable and trustworthy amongst his friends, family members and other adults simply because of home training and this manners class.

Great manners will help them even when they are having difficulties in life as this will happen to most of us. He has been blessed and assisted and favored just because he shows true compassion, gratitude and the ability to converse with people of all ages.

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Country Girl March 9, 2011 at 7:26 pm

Vallerie what a wonderful idea! If only ALL children could attend one of these. =)

I agree with the answer to this question that many, if not most, teens go through an awkward stage where they are in their own bubble and fail show the proper friendliness or respect to people outside of their circle of friends. (My younger brother and I both went through this, even though we are friendly and respectful people at the core and continue to be.) Poor young teens usually have so many social hurdles, where they are trying to find themselves and where they fit in in this crazy world that they tend to have blinders on. Trust me though when I say, most grow out of this stage, just be patient. And being disciplinary with a teen who is not your own for merely not being friendly is not advisable. That is a good way to get them to avoid you alltogether. Just be as friendly as possible with him, and if he rebuffs your attempts, casually mention to his parents that you saw young Johnny at a ball game but he must not have seen you because he didn’t say hello.

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Eddie March 9, 2011 at 7:41 pm

Me and my brother had this class. The lesson plan consisted of our mother beating our *expletive* every time we did something we knew we weren’t supposed to. Otherwise we were instructed not to for first time offenses. We got manners down real quick. She’d also reward us for observing good manners when not directly called for it, such as offering her an arm when we were walking.

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Camille March 11, 2011 at 12:01 am

It is not you, its them. It is nothing personal towards you. Kids are kids. I would let it go 100%.

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