FSP has a post today about dealing with disrespectful students. Do you respond coldly? Do you get all worked up? Appeal to a higher authority? Or do you ignore the offenders?
I had a similar problem with disrespectful drillers. When a driller says something offensive, how should I react? None of my usual reactions (calling them out on it, pointedly ignoring it) worked. My problem was, if I ignored it, they would continue. If I got angry, they knew they'd gotten a rise out of me, and they'd keep saying it. And calling in someone else wasn't going to help the underlying lack of respect.
I had more problems with mouthy drillers when I had more experience rather than less. When I first started overseeing drillers, I think it was clear that I was overwhelmed, so they tiptoed around me. With more experience, I had more control over what the drillers were actually doing, and that's when I had more problems with drillers teasing me or saying things to piss me off.
My sweetie says that my problem is that I'm "too adorable". I'd like a solution that doesn't entail waiting another 10 years in the hopes of aging into a little more gravitas.