Let your child know when her behavior is unacceptable.

How to Stop Rude Behavior in Children

by Karen Hollowell

Parents will inevitably experience exasperating times concerning their child's behavior. From the time children are babies, they want their needs and wants met and begin to develop specific ways to make this evident to others. As a parent, you have the responsibility of teaching your child how to express his thoughts and feelings appropriately.

Explain the difference between rude and polite behavior. If your child is a toddler, this is a good time to begin teaching your child that throwing a tantrum in a store or slapping a playmate in the park is not nice or acceptable. If your child is a preteen or teenager, you might have to remind him that rolling his eyes as a sarcastic response or slamming doors in anger is disrespectful and rude. Since these actions are seen frequently on TV, your child might think they are acceptable.

Establish rules and consequences for rude behavior that are age-appropriate and enforce them consistently. For example, state clearly to your preteen or teen that disrespect to siblings and adults at home or school will result in a loss of privileges like playing video games or staying up late. If the behavior continues, explain that the consequences will be more severe, like being grounded for several days. If your child is younger, make a weekly behavior chart and reward him if he displays good behavior for a specified number of days.

Praise nice behavior often. Positive words might be more effective than punishment for the undesirable action. Be specific in praising. For example, tell your child, "I'm so proud of you for sharing your games with your sister and playing so nicely." Reward good behavior if it lines up with your behavior system of rules and consequences, but don't overdo this. You want your child to be internally motivated instead of behaving for a material reward.

Model nice behavior. Children emulate their parents in many ways, overtly and subconsciously. Evaluate your recent attitude and behavior. If you grew impatient in a long checkout line at the store or yelled a rude comment to a driver who took your parking place, your child heard you and might begin to think that these responses are OK. Make an effort to exhibit patience and politeness whenever possible.

About the Author

Karen Hollowell has been teaching since 1994. She has taught English/literature and social studies in grades 7-12 and taught kindergarten for nine years. She currently teaches fourth grade reading/language and social studies. Hollowell earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Mississippi and her Master of Arts in elementary education from Alcorn State University.

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