Improving Attitudes in Kids
Teach your child that you get back what you put out. Everyone emits a certain aura to others, which largely determines whether they seem approachable. As this is the essence of making new friends, kids should think about how they present themselves to others. Remind your child that people connect with others who seem interested in them.
Remember that attitudes reflect inner feelings and thoughts. Learn to observe and evaluate your child’s actions as the product of his inner thoughts and talk to your child about his attitude. If he is bossy, perhaps he feels that others are always bossing him around and is looking to increase his sense of power. If she is reserved, perhaps she was bullied at some point and is guarding herself to maintain control.
Ask your child to work on his attitude and reward him for improvements. Stress to him that you want him to be himself, but that some attitudes are not appropriate. Being obstinate toward adults or other kids, presenting rude behaviors or smarting off are traits that are not considered positive or suitable. Talk out frustrations to help him.
Be the parent. Sometimes, if attitudes still do not change, you may have to take something away or otherwise discipline your child. Remember, you are not punishing her for the thinking that causes the attitude, but for the inappropriate behaviors that accompany it. You really cannot ethically punish anyone for what they “think," only for what they do and it is important to make this distinction. Attitudes ultimately determine actions in kids, so it is important to keep that in mind.
Communicate with teachers and the school counselor. Depending upon the attitude issues, communication with school staff such as teachers and counselors can help by making them aware that you want your child to improve his attitude. This shows that you respect the school and want your child to learn the important lessons of getting along with others and showing respect. It also displays that you have good intentions toward school staff and illustrates to your child that you want to help him improve.
Remember that there is a time to negotiate with kids and a time to enforce the rules. In addition, behaviors and attitudes started in early childhood can spill over into their teen and adult years, causing problems down the road. Your child must understand that while it’s okay to be different or opinionated, it is NOT okay to be rude, disrespectful or uncooperative. Her happiness and success as an adult depends on learning this lesson.
It is important to stay “in the middle" as a parent, to support your child and his teachers or others who work with your child. This way, your child feels you are there for him without feeling you will always come to fight his battles.