Fix Rude Behavior
-Hi, I'm Ursula Karass, and you're watching Parents TV. Every parent tries to teach their children good manners. But what do you do if your kids develop rude habits? Dr. Jennifer Shu is the author of Food Fights: Winning the Nutritional Challenges of Parenthood Armed with Insight, Humor and a Bottle of Ketchup. She's here today to talk about some common bad habits and how to break them. Hello, Dr. Shu, thanks for joining us. -Hi! Great to be here, thank you. -Let's start with burping. Why do kids burp? -Oh, gross! -Often, children burp because they can. It's something that they find is amusing because it sounds unusual to them. And then, the final reason is that a lot of times they keep burping because they know it bothers their parents. -What could parents do about that? -Well, if the burping is at a minimum, the best thing to do is to try to ignore the behavior, and hope that it will go away. If it starts to be a little bit more common, then work on times when you tell your child that burping just is not acceptable, let's say, at the dinner table, maybe in the car when other people are around. And start little by little, using baby steps. -Okay. What about interrupting parents? That's a bad habit that can really annoy parents. -Where are you? -Why? I'm on the phone. -Where are you? -Stop. -What can they do about that? -Well, a lot of times children don't realize that you are busy doing something else. So, teach them a signal to use when they need to interrupt you, say, when you're talking with a friend, or on the phone, or doing some work. A good signal might be to raise their hand, to raise a finger, to touch their ear just kind of gently, to show that she wants your attention. Though, what the parent should do is to take a quick break, find out what that child needs and then say, "Okay, wait a minute, and I will do that for you." -What about grabbing? That seems to be a problem not only at home but with friends. What can parents do about that? -Well, a common place where you might see grabbing is a child who wants to reach over the table to get them something, like the bread. -Excuse me. -So, the important thing to do here is to teach your child the right words and phrases. Please and thank you are really important ones. "Please pass the bread." "Thank you." And, get into that habit. -What if this happens with another child? -I see this all the time when kids are on play dates, for example, there are two children and just one favorite toy. Teach them words again. "Please, may I have a turn with this toy?" And if that doesn't work, he might need to break out the timer and say, you know, one minute for this child to play with it, and then after the minute, it's another minute for the other child's turn. -Okay. -Let's talk about a big one, though, impatience. How can we teach our children the virtue of patience? -Well, children have a hard time with patience because they just don't have a good sense of time to begin with. Even a few seconds can feel like forever. -Come on, bathe with me. -Ugh! -If your child asks you for something, let's say, she wants a drink of water, say, "Yes," but before rushing to get it for her, wait a few seconds before you pour that water. And then, as she seems to be more and more patient, stretch it out a little bit, within reason, maybe a minute or two before you respond to her needs. And then that way, she'll see that you're going to do it for her, and she doesn't have to lose her temper. -Exactly. -Doctor, you also, in your book have some principles to teach children good manners. What are those? -Well, I like to call them the three Ps and the two Rs. Plan, practice, and praise. -Uh-huh. -Remind and remember. Plan means make a plan about the behavior you want to change. If you want to teach your child to chew with his mouth closed, for example, -Uh-huh. -say, you know, from now on, we're gonna work on this at dinner. Then, you practice it at dinnertime at home, and when you go out to eat, see if that behavior is still-- doing it-- if he's still doing a good job with that behavior. Praise your child for good efforts. -It's very important. -Exactly. You need to remind your child about the behavior you're looking for because children have really short memories. You may have to say every day, "Chew with your mouth closed." Otherwise, they'll forget. And then, remember that children have different levels of ability and development. So, what you're gonna see from a nine-month-old is gonna be different from what you would expect from a nine-year-old. -So, would you say that this plan works when you're trying to teach your children any kind of good behavior? -Absolutely, whether it's being polite to others-- -Uh-huh. -or even potty training. This system can work for all of those. -And finally, how important is it for parents to practice what they're teaching their children? -Well, parents need to be great role models. If they don't see you saying "please" and "thank you," or washing your hands after you use the restroom, then they're not gonna really wanna do it themselves, either. So it's really important to practice what you're teaching. -Thank you so much, Dr. Shu, for such great information. Dr. Shu's book, Food Fights, is in bookstores now. Thanks for watching Parents TV, your source for the best information for your growing family. -Hi, I'm Juli Auclair. I hope you enjoyed this segment on Parents TV. We have so much more available now that you're gonna love, and keep coming back, there are new topics added often with information that will help you through parenthood. Coming soon, we'll feature your children, and answer you questions about parenting. 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