Dealing with Rudeness
Don't Tolerate Rudeness
Bratty behavior and back talk are so common these days that it can be easy to just roll your eyes when your kids call each other names or your daughter throws a fit after you announce that TV time is over. But a child who's allowed to speak that way to his family may come to believe it's okay to sass other people too, so it's vital that parents respond to the behavior immediately.
Make it clear that no matter how annoyed your kid may be, it's never acceptable for him to lash out at another person. Then help him express himself by making "I" statements (as in "I feel frustrated!") rather than ones that start with "You" (as in "You are a jerk!"), says Dr. Schweiger. You can also encourage him to put his feelings into words by asking him questions, suggests Hodson. (If he's making sarcastic comments, say, "You seem upset. Let's talk about it," or if he's yelling at his brother, you might ask him, "You sound really mad to me. Can you tell me what's going on?"). Giving your child a positive way to express his emotions lets him know that while it's natural to feel angry or frustrated from time to time, that doesn't make it okay to insult others or scream and shout.
Of course, little ones are still mastering impulse control and learning how to articulate the things that they're feeling, so don't be surprised if it takes a lot of work to help your young child get a handle on her temper and if she slips up quite frequently. Part of teaching respect is teaching kids that when we make mistakes, we say we're sorry -- it shows that you care enough about the person you've disrespected to take responsibility for your mistakes, explains Dr. Schweiger. So lead the way by apologizing yourself when it's appropriate, and urge your kids to do the same, once they've calmed down about what's bothering them.
Teach Listening Skills
By giving someone your time and attention, you let him know that you value him, explains Dr. Schweiger; it's one of the most fundamental ways to show respect. The first step toward being a good listener: removing distractions and making eye contact. So teach your child to put down the Wii control and focus on you when you're talking (by the same token, make sure you look up from your iPhone when your kid has something to say too).
You can further educate her in what it takes to be a courteous conversationalist -- not interrupting, waiting for a turn to talk -- by role-playing. Start with the don'ts; your child will get a kick out of pretending she's an "interrupter" or someone who looks away when she's speaking. Then she can tackle the do's (wait until a person is done talking to comment, follow up on what the other person just said with a question) and notice the difference.