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November 20th, 2009 by Dr. Phil

The Rudeness Epidemic

date1I love your comments on the new post, and many of you agree that common courtesy seems to be a thing of the past.

Why have we become so accepting of boorish behavior? I believe there’s a right way and a wrong way to deal with offensive attitudes, and you’re going to see some interesting experiments on today’s show. If you’re the culprit, well, you just might learn to view your behavior in a different light.

So what’s the rudest thing you’ve ever witnessed or done? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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70 Responses to “The Rudeness Epidemic”

  1. Debbie Gum says:

    Hi Dr. Phil,
    I agree that rudeness is a problem in our country. Years ago when society was told, “Let it all hang out”, or, “Do what feels good to you” has had devestating effects on us. Also, you ought to do a show on the driving habits of Americans. Our driving habits are terrible. People cutting you off, going through red lights, blowing stop signs, making left turns right in front of traffic, and the worst – texting while driving. We live in Florida and Fl has the worst drivers.

    Debbie Gum

  2. Dianne Sealey says:

    When I hear about people being rude to servers in restaurants it reminds me of something the once happened to me in a restaurant that I visited frequently. One day I had a server that I had never had before and she was distracted and made numerous mistakes. I said to her, “You seem upset. Are you having a bad day?” She then proceeded to tell me that she did not want to be at work but could not afford to take the day off. Her infant grandchild had just died of SIDS. You never know what is going on in that persons life and it is best to respond with kindness. How horrible would you feel if you added to this lady’s problems?

  3. Don says:

    Dr Phil,

    We’re a bit behind with the Dr Phil show here in Australia but I think we are right up to date with America when it comes to rude and inconsiderate behaviour and I campaign against lack of courtesy and consideration on my site. I’m glad I tuned into the show today and found you have a blog, I’ll be following on twitter too. I look forward to seeing the episode about rudeness when it hits down under.


  4. Carol Lewis says:

    Have you read the article about a restaurant’s wait-staff refusing to serve certain frquent customer as she never tipped? THis was at a nice reatuarant. Their first attempts to rectify the problem was to just add a tip on her bill which she paid the first time but then took her woes to the public and started a pension. Her last visit the wait-staff came to the owner and simply said they would not serve her. . . now, I have never been a waitress but have known many and know that they get below minimum wage and depend on their tips to make a living. Some have sgned the customer’s petitions but a lot of locals are firmly on the side of the wait-staff.
    we plan to drive the 3 hours there just to eat there and support the wait staff.

    Take care, Carol Lewis

  5. Anna says:

    I saw the show about rude behavior. It was hysterical. Had me laughing all day. At the same time, it delivered a sobering message. People have become awfully rude on the whole. And I’m not innocent either. In answer to your question:

    So what’s the rudest thing you’ve ever witnessed or done?

    I was at school talking w/ a well-respected professor. She was trying to have a serious conversation w/ me and indicated that I was immature and needed to grow up. Instead of simply agreeing or saying nothing, I replied somewhat like this: “I know I’m immature. Like- earlier, I went in the restroom (in the psychology department building) and in the toilet bowl there was this huge, smeary turd stuck in the toilet. I laughed about it for twenty minutes earlier because it was sooooo funny.” I then proceeded to show her, with arms outstretched, exactly how huge the poop was. She looked perturbed and I simply laughed at my commentary. That was pretty rude on my part.

  6. Dear Dr. Phil,

    I raised 3 teenagers as a single mom and they NEVER talked to me like the teens on your show. The day after I had their father removed from the home due to abuse I had my children in therapy. The were 9, 12, and 15.

    I have often heard you say “We dictate the way people treat us.”

    The problem is teens and children in general today are spoiled. She pays his car insurance and cell phone bills. My children WORKED to have these things. They also all put themselves through college.

    Because of this, teens today think the world owes them and when they do not get what they want they lash out.

    My father’s father left him when he was two. His mother deserted him when he was 13, moving to Baltimore MD from Altoona PA with her new husband and telling him we will send for you when we get settled. He lived with and took care of his invalid grandmother. He provided for her by having a paper route and mopping the floor of the bar they lived above at 2:00 am after they closed. Still getting up and going to school.

    He joined the Navy and one day at the age of 19 he was at sea. He was called “up on deck” and informed his mother had died. That was when he “heard” from her.

    He was immediately sent back home. His train pulled into Altoona as his mother’s body was being carried to the cemetery. His stepfather would not hold up the funeral to allow this young sailor to “see” his mom. Still, he ran from the train station to the Funeral Home to accompany his mom to her grave.

    Therefore, I do not want to hear these sob stories about having a bad life, Yadda. Yadda, Yadda.

    Take the hand that was dealt you and make the world better.

    My father was the BEST father any child could ask for…….thank God he had the character he did and made my world a wonderful, safe and secure place in which to live.

    There is absolutely no excuse to talk to anyone the way these teens do let alone their parents. Being disrespectful in my home was not an option.

    Cheryl Keagy-Morrow

  7. Olive says:

    I have watched you programs on disrespectul teens and I can not believe that these parents allow these children to live in their homes and disrespect them in such a way. What ever happened to the saying ” You put you feet under my table, you do what I say”. I know you don’t approve of spanking a child but believe you me here in the South we were all brought up getting a good spanking when it was deserved and I don’t know of one single case where a child was this disrespectful to their parents. I have raised 4 children and I can honestly say there is not a single day that I don’t thank God for the Men and Woman that they became and the love that they show me daily. They are all wonderful Family people with Children that respect them and are in the process of becoming happy, well adjusted teens. When these parents get these children into Church and teach them the love of our Lord and Savior, then they will get respect that they need. As the Bible states,Spare the rod and spoil the Child is so very true even today.

  8. Hi, my name is Angela, I have three boys ages 25,18, & 12. For the past 3 to 4 years my oldest son has been very disrespectful to me and got even worse. When he was 21 or 22 years old he disowned me. He tells me I am going to Hell and he doesn’t want me in his life. He claims to be a christian and is the Youth Minister at his church. When he got engaged he invited only his brothers to the wedding. He has done so many things to delibertly hurt me yet he says now that he doesn’t hate me. I am at the point were I am very angry. He was by my first husband when I lived with his dad in Venezuela. We have been thru alot together and he doesn’t seem to care. I am not a successful person but his inlaw I think are now. I didn’t go to his wedding nor did the boys. but he does still keep in contact with my middle child of 18, It feels to me that I have lost a son to death cause I cry just about everyday just like a death. What can I do Dr. Phill. I have 47 years old and my other sons and new husband see how I hurt and I feel it isn’t good for them. God Bless you!

  9. Jill Wenninger says:

    I saw the show about rude teens. I have one at home. My daughter, Jessica, is 16 years old. When I saw the show it was like I was seeing our family. Jessica treats her younger brother, Joshua, who has High Functioning Autism, very rudely. She calls him retarded. He has told us when we leave her in charge of him when she is babysitting, she locks him out of the house and makes him crawl through the doggy door. It is just the opposite however for her father and me. She is more rude to him than me. She can’t wait to leave on account of him. She does upset me to tears sometimes, but that isn’t too hard since I am ultra sensitive. She is very bright and wants to be a veterinarian, but is very mean to our dog. She even bites her. I worry about this behavior. Her father feels that she will treat her relationships outside of family poorly as well. She says that she talks to her friends the same way she talks to us, but everyone talks rudely, so it doesn’t bother anyone. I find that hard to believe. I guess I better also tell you that she has Asperger’s Syndrome, which may account for some of her rudeness. What do you think about this? We would like your feedback!

  10. Annetta Fisk says:

    If I would have had my eyes shut and heard your show today about “Rude Teens”, I would’ve thought you were talking about my son Stephan who is also 19.
    Stephan’s dad and I are at the end of our ropes, really confused of why our son treats us the way he does. We have been happily married for 30 yrs. We have a 29 year old daughter, Candice, and she and her brother are like night and day! We have tried to guide our children to be curtious of others and to strive to be the best that you can be in life.
    Stephan shows his disrespectfulness to all of us every day, from the time he wakes up till he goes to bed. His dad, Jerry and I work everyday to have the home and lifestyle we have in order to give our children a good environment to grow up in. We go on vacations and have a great time but when its time to go home our sons attitude and foul mouth come out again like a Jeckle/Hyde sort of person. Yelling and calling us names such as: your stupid, your an idiot, your a fag (to his dad) and the latest he has said to his dad was “your a F—ing Wussy”. He wont work, he quits everything he starts. He dropped out of school in the 11 grade, he went after his G.E.D. and quit the program with only two last tests to take and then he joined Job Corp and quit that program after 3 weeks. He brings his friends to our house while we are at work and goes on a eating frenzy, (is drugs involved- Yes and we have called the police, but get no help. Our home is tore upside down. His anger has caused us to replace five doors upstairs and repair numerous holes in his bedroom walls. We have tried to have him evicted but were told that we cannot put him out without a means to support himself. Well, he wont keep a job so how does the court expect him to support himself? He refuses to get help and believes he has no problem except his dad and I. We do accept responsibility for enabling him up to a certain point. We have told him that the choices he makes is a reflection on his family. He does not care because he continues to get MIP’s, come home late (between 12-3am). He has a truck that he has not driven in 1 1/2 yrs. due to his partying state of mind. We told him that we refuse to let him drive it because of the possibility of him harming himself and others. Stephan’s response “I drive the best when I’m high”! He has left his decent friends behind or I should say that they probably left him behind because of his behavior and he has a new group of friends which I told him are of a different standard then he use to set for himself.

  11. noreen says:

    OK I just finished watching your show called RUDE TENS, I just want to talk about the two boys with the step dad,, the mother kinda was cockey herself and did seem a bit immature,by watching the show you can tell that the son does not feeled loved he sems like A boy who does need some help and he is really crying and trying to ask for it, The boy needs help and its not to late because he still is young enough for it,You see all these trouble kids that relate back to why they are the way they are as adults. What he does is not alright and bringing in a man who beats up bulleys is not going to help that kid, the mother does have alot to do with it also, I couls see right thre the family,Dr Phil I know your show is live on the air and you dont have all the time in the world but hopefuley you can have that family back on the show to help that kid,,he wants to be part of that family,

  12. Monique Jones says:

    Reading the comments I would like to share my beliefs that
    1 Namecalling, vitreolic reteric etc. is a reflection of the person saying it, & not a reflection of the person it’s aimed at, & it’s an attempt to project one’s feelings on to another.
    2 I think the best way to deal with this behavior is firstly not to take it personally, Do have them own it by asking an open question (what, when, where, why, how, which), & having them own their statements, eg, what makes you think I am (place here the derogatery accusation)?
    3 Have compassion, happy people do not abuse, find what is troubling them,& see what can be done to help,or what about your own behaviour iscontributing to the problem, acknowledge it, & promise to improve oneself, & apologise.
    Hope this is helpful. Monique- New Zealand

  13. kathy says:

    i was shocked; at both the parents and the older teen…i felt very sorry for the
    step-dad and the younger brother, who were the only ones who stepped up to the plate. the older teen, was
    so obviously “all about me”, and the mother was just the same. i was taken aback
    at how dr.phil did not “call them both” out on the carpet…. he was tooooo kind.
    unbelievable; but i guess the word “respect”, which i don’t remember hearing on
    the show, was what came to my mind as part of the problem, no longer matters.
    very disgusted with this show/episode.

  14. Dear Doctor Phil,

    I am disgusted with the way children act in today’s society. We have lost all control of our children. I believe it is do to people call DHS everytime a child id displined. Here in Arkansas a parent is allowed to corporal punish a child as along as they do not leave a bruise. I am in Psychology I do think there are certain instances where a child needs their tails whipped for something they have done. I am a good example of corporal punishment child my parents whipped my tail if I was in the wrong and Im doing great. I also think that you exhausted all other ways of discipling a child before you use corporal punishment. Now I have 2 step children one is 18 and another 19. My step-son who is the 18 year old is fighting and cusing his dad and throwing huge fits over money will not go get a job he gets a job and in a week or two quits. My husband will not let me discipline him this 18 year old will play with his dad’s heart strings now if he doesnt get what he wants he will cry like a 2 year old kid telling his dad he doesnt love him boy I just sometimes want to knock him on his ass. I have a 13 year old who is much well respectful knows his limits but when around these 2 teen adults he tries to push his luck but he is mine and I refuse to allow it. My husband gets on my last nerve he allows the 18 year to do what he wants to do. gives him money, gives him the car keys lets him run all the gas out of the car. You name it he gets to do it…

  15. Jana says:

    What I find strange is abuse is defined as disiplining a child who doesn’t have a learning disability, and not abuse if a child does have a disability.

    This is what being Politically Correct has gotten Us, and this is why it doesn’t work.

    Any Commets?

  16. Megan M. says:

    Dear Dr. Phil,

    I am a freshman in high school. When I go to Biology class every day, I don’t walk in expecting to learn much. Many kids in that class have zero respect for the teacher. There is constant talking, profane language, and screaming. Two girls in particular yell at the teacher and think they’re being funny when they say “F— you” to him. Not to mention the constant teasing that goes on in that class. A boy sitting near me constantly puts down Jews, gays, and blacks. It shocks me that the teacher hasn’t done much about it. He will tell them to stop talking and continue on with the lesson. I feel sorry for him because it seems as if he’s just given up because there’s no way of getting them to stop.


  17. a g says:

    something that really bothers me are people who use the excuse,”i am just being honest”; as a way of justifying their own self-righteous ridgidity. i say to them,[that is, if i know them to some degree,don't want to get in to it with a stranger, for obvious reasons] no you’re not,you are just using an overused trite cliched phrase,as a smokescreen, to justify your unreasonable closed minded,one sided view. of course there is a place for this phrase,but one need be wary of those who use it as a manipulative ploy to put forth a notion that does not invite questioning or open dialogue. i think it is rude, because it is a way of trying to negate the reality or perception of another. it’s a dishonest form of engagement,masquerading as sincerity.

  18. Julianne Nissen says:

    Chase is so rude and disrespectful, he hides his rudeness in sarcasm. His parents need to stop paying for his car until he starts to be more respectful. It’s all about him, which is classic with many teenagers today. They should go out and do some volunteer work in the community for at least 6mths. That’s what we did with our kids.

  19. Hi Doctor Phil
    Just watched your show, it was really interesting! Yeah, we’re a few months behind, because I’m from South Africa – haha.

    From my experience, rudeness can drive a family apart. When the one is affected by this, he takes it out on the other and so on… a family needs to stand together in order to work through it. It won’t work if every person doesn’t co-operate, respect and trust comes from all sides after all. And in order for someone to change, they need to be willing to put the past behind them, in order to make the process work. If they keep reminding the person of what he did and how bad he is, he might just become even more rebellious which can lead to even a bigger catastrophe. It takes a while to make such a thing work, and a lot of patience is required, but in the end the result will be good!

    Take care
    Blessings to you and your family

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