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Dealing With Your Child's Bad Attitude

We've all been there before; the breaking point in an argument with our child. Every parent has arguments with their children but it begins to develop into something more when your child displays a constant bad attitude and disrespectful behavior. When this behavior beings to interrupt your daily life and forbids your from completing average, simple tasks with your child it has already developed too far.

Parenting: What Did I Do Wrong?

Just because your child has a bad attitude doesn't mean you did anything wrong. Disrespectful behavior can be common in children to a certain extent. However, as soon as you see that pouty look on their face you want to be ready to combat the temper tantrum head on.

How to improve your child's attitude and behavior:

  • First and foremost let them know this kind of behavior won't be tolerated. Yes, it can be embarrassing when a tantrum interrupts in a public area but it happens all the time. Be prepared to immediately leave the area and give your child space to calm down.
  • Keep your cool. Don't lose your head when your child develops an attitude or back talks. Most time children are trying to get a rise out of you and don't give it to them. This will further promote bad behavior in the future.
  • Encourage problem solving. When your child has calmed down discuss with them what made them feel so upset. Try to get to the root of the problem by being supportive but not overly "babying" them.
  • Promote "I" statements. Explain to your child that they need to use their words to express what they're feeling. For example, "when you do this I feel this way…"
  • Remember children learn from examples. If you have a bad attitude towards them, or anyone for that matter, they are more apt to pick one up themselves. I believe the old saying goes, "treat others how you want to be treated," and this applies to children as well.
  • Set up a behavior chart and work on a few specific items at a time. Have fun rewards so your child is motivated to make behavior changes.
  • Praise good attitudes. Be sure to thank or congratulate your child on a job well done. "Thank you for doing such a good job on making your bed today."
  • If all else fails, walk away. If you've tried the above steps and the bad attitude continues to ensue you need to walk away from the situation. Tell your child to come talk to you when they have calmed down and are ready to use their words.

Every parent has dealt with a bad attitude or disrespectful behavior from their child at some point. It's nothing you did wrong and it's usually a stage children will grow out of. You can enlist the help of other parents by asking what they did to deal with bad attitudes. Most importantly, remember to remain calm. As the parent you have the means to either escalate or downplay the situation.