When your child's rudeness strikes, it's often an embarrassing experience that might lead you to believe your parenting skills are a bit inadequate, notes author Julie Bort, writing with Parenting Guide News. Using discipline to address and correct this type of misconduct is a viable solution to teach your child why negative behaviors -- such as being rude and inconsiderate -- are unacceptable.
Teach Instead of Punish
When your child displays rudeness or is inconsiderate of others, teach her appropriate behavior rather than punish her. Judith Graham, writer with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, states that "Discipline is about guiding children in ways that support their development of self-control." Punishment, on the other hand, is designed to hurt children, placing a focus on the child rather than the behavior, adds Graham. When your child is angry about something, for example, she might think it's acceptable to take her anger out on you and respond to your call in a rude manner -- simply because she's upset. Set boundaries with your child and let her know that when she's angry she should talk to someone about what's troubling her or ask for a few minutes to herself. Teach your child that being rude to you is not an acceptable way to express anger.
Rewards and Consequences
Rewards and consequences are an effective way to teach children how to redirect negative behaviors and display more desirable ones. Experts at Australia's Raising Children Network state that, when parents focus more on their children's positive behaviors, parents tend to use negative consequences less often on their children. Parents should use rewards systems effectively, says founder of ParentingScience.com, Gwen Dewar, and avoid tactics such as offering rewards ahead of time. This means it's more effective if you catch your child sharing a snack or toy with another child -- and offer her a reward -- than it is to promise her a prize ahead of time if she says "please" and "thank you" to all of her teachers on a given day. When your child fails to honor the rules of conduct you set forth -- such as no foul language at school or the playground -- use consequences, such as removal of privileges or handwritten apologies as a disciplinary strategy.
Getting your child involved in a community service effort is a great way to teach her how to be considerate of others. Dr. Laura Markham, creator of Aha! Parenting, suggests that parents join their children in community service efforts to teach and model for them the value of being helpful toward others. Sign your family up for a community event at your church or help plant a community garden or visit the elderly. Coach your child during community events, making her aware of others' feelings and experiences and how to put herself in others' shoes to gain awareness of what they might be going through in life. Encourage your child to extend this sense of service to her friends and teachers, too. Your child will gain appreciation and gratitude when she's allowed to help others.
Model Appropriate Behavior
Dewar, Markham and other experts agree that parental modeling is the most effective tool you can use to teach your child appropriate behavior. Your child is more inclined to do as you do rather than do as you say, but the most effective disciplinary strategy you can use is to have your actions line up with your words. Your child will more than likely miss your lesson on being considerate to others if she observes you constantly cutting people off in traffic, being rude to customer service professionals and demonstrating other discourteous behaviors. Parents are their children's first and most influential teachers; try to set the best example for your child to carry out into the world.
- Parenting Guide News: Banishing Rudeness
- Parenting Science: Raising Helpful Kids: The Perils of Rewarding Good Behavior
- University of Maine Cooperative Extension: Family Issues Facts: Discipline That Works: The Ages and Stages Approach
- Raising Children Network: Consequences and Behavior for Children
- Aha! Parenting: Raise a Child with Great Values
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