Attitude can include anything from a rude tone, sarcasm, disrespect to back talk. As a parent, this can be one of the most frustration behaviours – how can you correct such as abstract behaviour? In order to discipline what your child does, your child needs to understand why they are being disciplined.
Apart from teaching your child about respect, you can take certain steps not only to stop the attitude in its tracks but also proactively avoid the behaviour altogether.
Phrases to Stop Back Talk
Saying “excuse me” is a great way to indicate to your child that they have crossed the line. Be sure to deliver this line calmly and directly. This will halt the conversation and allow your child to redirect their behaviour.
“You sound upset.”
Children and teenagers struggle with identifying and controlling their emotions. Verbally recognizing the way they feel shows that you are in tune with their emotions. Labeling and acknowledging their feelings shows empathy.
“Let’s try this again.”
Taking pause and allowing your child a chance to redo gives them an opportunity to change the script and correct the behaviour. You are extending support to your child in an effort to work on the issue together. If necessary, you can prompt your child with a more appropriate response or behaviour.
“Take a deep breath.”
Just like saying “excuse me”, suggesting to take a deep breath is a hint that things are escalating and everyone needs to calm down. The actual act of taking a deep breath does have a physiologically calming effect.
“Let’s take a break.”
Sometimes, despite all your efforts to diffuse your child’s attitude, there’s no stopping the back talk and disrespect. Suggest a break when you and your child are angry and overwhelmed and return to the situation when all parties are calm and clear-headed.
Being Proactive Against Attitude
Set the rules. Children thrive on expectation and perform at their best when they know what is going to happen. This includes not only what activities will occur during the day but also what behaviours will result in certain circumstances and consequences.
Use eye contact and connection to communicate your expectations. Once expectations are established, be sure to communicate them to your child clearly and warmly. When you make eye contact, you are showing your children that you are serious and that their behaviour is important to you.
Praise the positive. The key to eliminating any unwanted behaviour, such as attitude and disrespect, is to praise the positive behaviour. Whenever you notice your child behaving respectfully, be sure to give them at least verbal praise.
Show respect to your children. Raising your children under a roof of hypocrisy yields no positive results. If you expect your children to be respectful, you need to be respectful to them. Children learn through imitation, so they will pick up on respectful behaviours not only through how you treat them, but how you treat others as well.
Teach positive social skills. Simple skills such as “please” and “thank you” seem pretty basic, but these phrases create a foundation for developing positive social skills. Teaching your children to say “sorry” when appropriate helps to teach a sense of empathy with others.
Respect activities. Children often have a difficult time conceptualizing concepts such as respect. Try engaging activities such as “Respect Recipe” in which you and your child write out different “ingredients” that make up respect and mixing them in a bowl together, or, write down what respect sounds like, looks like and feels like.