When rude behavior becomes the norm, correct it.

How to Address Rude Behavior

by Kathryn Hatter

When the eye rolling and scoffing gets too much to bear, it's time to address your youngster’s rude behavior. What you consider graceless might be typical behavior for many kids, so set expectations for desired behavior. By setting standards for respect, your kids will know how to regard others with courtesy and consideration.

Communicate your policy to not tolerate rudeness clearly so your kids understand your expectations. Your conversation might sound like, “We’ve become pretty concerned with the level of rudeness that we hear in our family and we have a new policy designed to eliminate disrespect. We expect everyone to speak kindly to each other. There will be no talking back, name-calling, yelling, sarcasm or offensive language as we talk to each other.”

Attach a consequence for rudeness so everyone understands the penalties for disrespect. You could create a job jar with tasks for people who engage in rudeness. You could also charge individuals a predetermined amount of money for each act of rudeness and place the collected money in a jar. A disrespectful person might have to surrender a cell phone for an hour or two.

Enforce the policy and the consequences to eradicate rudeness. Whenever you hear a rude comment or exchange between two people, step in and stop it, suggests psychologist Michele Borba. By not tolerating rudeness, you help break rude habits and you stop the behavior from spreading through the family.

Show your children a positive example of respectful speaking and behavior so they can learn the way you want them to behave. Use words such as “please,” “thank you” and “excuse me” in your regular conversation. Adult examples of desired behavior teach children effectively, according to the National Education Association.

Look for positive behaviors that you can praise. Whenever you hear polite words and conversations, provide specific comments and feedback to your kids so they know you noticed it, according to a web page on the Purdue University website. Praise generally works to reinforce desired behaviors.


  • Check to see whether you are overindulging your kids. Overindulging can create a sense of entitlement, often accompanied by rude behavior, warns WebMD. If you determine that you’ve been giving your kids too many material items, cut back on the spending and create a system where your kids can perform extra chores to earn extra items.

About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.

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