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Attitude Makeover: Arrogant

The "Don't Give Me That Attitude" Makeover
To eliminate your child's arrogant bad attitude, take the following steps.

Step 1. Uncover the Source
Here are some common reasons that your child may be so arrogant. Check off those that might pertain to your situation:

She may feel the need to show off her talents, skills, or intelligence. Have you set a precedent in which your kids display their talents to friends, relatives, or one another?

She may be jealous or resentful. Do you favor one child, or does she feel that you do? Do you compare her capabilities – academic, social, aesthetic, or athletic – to those of classmates, peers, neighborhood kids, cousins, or your friend's kids?

She may need attention or want to improve her social status. Does she feel the way to make friends is by "impressing" them? Does she lack social skills to find friends who accept her for herself?

She may feel that this is the way to gain your approval. Do you emphasize the concept of "what did you get?" (grades, "gold stars," goals, scores) to your kid? Do you reinforce or reward (such as with money or privileges) your child's performance?

She may feel "privileged" or "above others." Do you stress your family's status – financial, social, educational, professional – as being better than others?

She may be self-centered. Have you made your child feel as though no one is as intelligent, talented, or capable as she is?

She may feel inadequate. Is she trying to prove her capabilities to others because deep down she feels not good enough?

She models what she hears. Does she hear other family members boasting and mimic them?

She may be competitive. Is competition to be the best a priority in your house, and so she feels the need to prove she meets your expectations?

Identifying the specific reasons for your child's arrogant attitude will aid tremendously in changing it.

Step 2. Point Out Others' Reactions
A big part of changing any habit is for the offender to realize why he should change, and that's a problem with kids. They often have used the attitude so long that they're unaware that arrogance is a real turn-off and doesn't win them any points from friends, teammates, or adults. Help your child recognize how others react to his know-it-all superior ways. Here are a few examples of how you might do so with your child:

  • Ask: How would you feel? "Sam came over to play, but you spent a lot of time walking him around the house and telling him how much bigger our house is than his. How do you think he feels? Do you think he'd like to come and play with you again?"
  • Point out nonverbal reactions. "Did you see Kevin smirk when you talked about all your trophies?" "Sara rolled her eyes when you told her Dad makes more money than her dad. Did you notice?"
  • Role-play the other side. "I heard you bet Meredith that you were smarter in math than she is and showed your report cards. Pretend you are Meredith. What do you think she'd like to say to you?"


Next: Steps 3 - 5 >>
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From Don't Give Me That Attitude by Michele Borba, Ed.D. Copyright © 2004 by Michele Borba. All rights reserved. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Buy the book at www.amazon.com.


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