Melissa here, from CloudMom, writing today about a topic that many parents struggle with – how to respond when your kids are disrespectful. Your babies are growing up so fast and sooner or later, they’ll start to get an attitude, or as many like to call it, the “terrible two’s.” So how should Mom or Dad react when their child is throwing their sippy cup across the room, or even worse, having a tantrum in the middle of the shopping mall? Here’s my go-to plan of action when my children get out of hand!
Focus on the situation at hand – Let’s start with the most embarrassing of situations – your child is having a tantrum in the middle of the grocery store, in church, or at the park, pant-tugging and all. You can almost feel the glares from strangers and hear them secretly questioning your parenting skills. However, you must remember that almost all parents deal with these kinds of situations and that doesn’t make you a bad parent!! My number one tip for dealing with disrespectful kids and tantrums in public is to forget about anybody who’s watching, as hard as this may seem, and focus on your child and the job at hand – identifying the problem and getting them settled down. Worrying about others definitely won’t help your cause. If anything, it will get you even more anxious and upset.
Stay calm – No matter the problem your child is having, if they are being disrespectful, be the bigger person. Use a calm, controlled voice. We definitely don’t need two people yelling in these cases! Yelling will only escalate the tension. They’ll also be more inclined to listen to what you have to say.
Never give in – I think this is one of the worst things a parent can do…giving your child exactly what they wanted in the first place. This only teaches them that rude behavior is rewarded, and it will be a constant problem for you in the future.
Reprimanding mean behavior to other children – If your child is being disrespectful to another child, maybe during a competitive sports game or even in your own home, my go-to plan is to talk to them firmly but calmly. I encourage them to be sensitive and kind to others, and if an apology is needed, I won’t let them leave until they’ve said they are sorry.
Take swift action – Kindness is definitely my biggest priority in my household with my five children. We’ve always let them know as soon as it happens that treating others with rudeness is not only inappropriate but totally unacceptable, even among siblings. Time-outs have worked well in the past, when the child is left alone to think about their wrongdoings.
Lead by example – With most things in life, children will follow the example of those around them. Whenever I’m with my children, I try my absolute best to be kind and courteous to those around me, no matter what kind of day I’m having. A little kindness does go a long way. I’m not perfect and of course, there are days when I don’t act as well as I should, but when that happens, I try to own up to it and talk to my children about what I could have done better. I’m hoping that this shows them that good manners is a process we all have to work on.
So in all, stay calm, be firm, and lead by example! Best of luck!
Melissa Lawrence, co-founder of CloudMom, lives in New York City with her husband and 5 young children. With more than a few parenting tricks up her sleeve, Melissa posts how-to videos and blogs for moms just like you! Happy parenting!
Follow Melissa’s latest activity by clicking the links below!