Children don’t mean to be rude. They don’t realize that some comments and behavior cross the line between being cute and funny, and being plain obnoxious. For example, they may have seen a cartoon character roll his eyes or shoot a witty comeback, and then tried to do that with you. Then they wonder why something that was perfectly okay on SpongeBob Square Pants has made Mommy so mad. They may not also realize that their voice has gotten louder or belligerent, especially if they’re upset.
Here are some tips on what to do if your preschooler talks back or does something ‘rude’ (like rolling eyes, shrugging shoulders).
YOu can set the rule that it’s okay to reason and speak your mind as long as you say it in a calm and polite way. When your child gets sassy, you can say: ‘Say that again, in a nice way.’ Or if he uses a phrase that you don’t like, tell him, ‘We don’t use words like that in our house.’
Don’t cave in to rude requests.
Children learn quickly. If you say, ‘I won’t talk to you until you calm down and speak in a nice voice,’ and stick to your guns, then they’ll realize that they have to control their temper and be respectful. However, this should always be followed by the reassurance that when they change their tone, they can speak again. Make sure to let the child feel that it is not the content of what they’re saying that’s the problem, rather how they are saying it.
Don’t wait for meltdowns.
Teach your child the right communication skills every day, and not only when a problem arises. For example, build the habit of saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’ Point out when their voice is getting too loud for acceptable conversation. Be a good role model, and watch your own tone when you speak to your child or to other people.
Monitor TV vieweing
Know what your kids are watching. They can pick up mannerisms from cartoons, many of which have humor that are too adult. Watch out for sarcasm, or characters who make a lot of putdowns or critical comments. Kids may think that this behavior is ‘cool’ and may be confused when you tell them that it’s not. Since preschoolers don’t have the maturity to distinguish context or social nuances (why is ‘Whatever!’ a bad word?) it’s better to avoid this debate altogether, and expose them only to shows with appropriate language.
Photo from sheknows.com